Whether sweet or savoury, homemade peanut treats are healthier, tastier and more affordable than store-bought versions.
PEANUTS are a staple crop in many parts of India and form the base for numerous popular snacks. Whether you're looking for an afternoon pick-me-up or party appetisers, these peanut-based recipes are sure to satisfy your craving for something crunchy and indulgent. Best of all, the ingredients are commonly found across the country.
One of the most well-known Indian peanut snacks is chikki. This fudgy, nutty treat takes only minutes to make but will have your friends begging for more. Start by finely grinding 1 cup raw peanuts in a food processor or grinding stone until it resembles a coarse powder. In a saucepan, combine the peanut powder with 1⁄2 cup jaggery or panela and 1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 5-7 minutes. Quickly pour the hot mixture onto a greased baking sheet and use a spatula to spread it into a uniform thickness. Allow to cool completely before breaking into pieces - the chikki will harden as it cools. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.
Spicy Peanut Brittle
For a crunchy snack with a kick, try homemade peanut brittle seasoned with Indian spices. Melt 1 cup sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat without stirring. Once the sugar starts to caramelise around the edges, add 1 cup raw peanuts and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar is a deep amber colour, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and quickly stir in 1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, and salt. Immediately pour the hot brittle onto a silicone baking mat or greased baking sheet and spread into a thin, even layer. Allow to cool completely before breaking into pieces. The brittle will keep in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.
Roasted Peanut Chaat
For an indulgent snack perfect for parties, whip up a batch of roasted peanut chaat. Toast 1 1/2 cups raw peanuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking frequently, until fragrant and lightly browned, 5-7 minutes. Allow to cool, then roughly chop. In a large bowl, combine the peanuts with 1 diced tomato, 1 diced onion, 1 tablespoon each tamarind and date chutneys, 1/2 teaspoon chaat masala, and salt to taste. Toss well to coat. Just before serving, top with yogurt, chopped cilantro, and a sprinkle of sev or fried noodles. The chaat can be made up to a day in advance and refrigerated until ready to serve.
Peanut Butter Fudge
For a treat the whole family will love, try homemade peanut butter fudge. Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with parchment paper, allowing excess to overhang sides. In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups sugar, 1 cup creamy peanut butter, 1/2 cup milk or cream, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once boiling, continue cooking without stirring until the mixture reaches 240°F on a candy thermometer, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and quickly beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares. Store covered at room temperature for up to one week.
Roasted Peanut Coconut Bars
For an easy no-bake snack perfect for picnics or potlucks, whip up a batch of roasted peanut coconut bars. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. In a food processor, pulse 1 1/2 cups roasted peanuts until finely chopped but not a paste. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk, 1 cup shredded coconut, 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom. Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the prepared pan. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting into bars. Store covered in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
Spiced Roasted Peanuts
For a simple snack you can make in bulk, roast raw peanuts and season them with Indian spices. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread 2 pounds raw shelled peanuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and toss with 2 tablespoons melted ghee or oil and 1 tablespoon each ground cumin, coriander, paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Return to oven and roast 10 more minutes, stirring once, until peanuts are deep golden brown and fragrant. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy as a grab-and-go snack or appetiser.
With these easy recipes, you can satisfy your peanut snack cravings anytime using ingredients found in your own kitchen. Whether sweet or savoury, homemade peanut treats are healthier, tastier and more affordable than store-bought versions. Get creative by varying the seasonings to suit your tastes. Soon these recipes will become new family favourites you'll be sharing with friends and bringing to gatherings for all to enjoy. Start experimenting in your kitchen today!