Peanuts are used quite extensively in Maharashtrian cuisine and are a large part of the typical Maharashtrian diet. This particular dish has always been a family favorite, especially with the kids. You can serve Spicy Peanut Rice for lunch, as a light meal or even as a tea time snack. It’s quick, super easy and just delicious.
Peanuts (also known as groundnuts) are actually legumes (beans). They are thought to have originated in Peru almost 7600 years ago. India is the world’s second largest producer of peanuts after China. In moderation, peanuts are healthy and nutritious. Peanuts are not only anti-oxidants, but they are also a rich source of fiber, Vitamin E, niacin, folate and magnesium.
Since I always happen to have peanuts on hand, I make this dish quite frequently. If peanut allergies are a concern, just substitute cooked (or canned) chickpeas instead. You could also make this rice dish using cashews too if you prefer.
SPICY PEANUT RICE (Shengdanya chi Bhath)
2 cups pre-cooked Basmati rice (any long grain variety will work well)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
½” piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
5-6 fresh curry leaves
3-4 dried red chilies (to taste)
½ -1 cup unsalted toasted peanuts (you can add more or less if you wish)
1 tsp cumin seeds
pinch of asafetida
1 tbsp urad dal (skinned & split black gram), optional
½ tsp turmeric (haldi)
1 tsp garam masala
salt, to taste
2 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola)
juice of ½ lime (or lemon)
½ cup freshly grated coconut for garnish, optional
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
In a deep skillet or wok on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the cumin seeds. After about 20 seconds or so, add the urad dal along with the dried red chilies, asafetida and curry leaves. Stir for just a minute and then add the onions. Sauté the onions until they are golden brown in color and then add in the peanuts. Stir for 2-3 minutes and add in the spices (turmeric, garam masala and salt). Mix well to combine all of the ingredients. Lastly, add in the cooked rice. Stir well and add about ¼ cup water. Then reduce the heat to low and let cook for about 5-6 minutes. Finish the dish with the lime juice and garnish with freshly grated coconut and freshly chopped cilantro leaves. Serve hot with yogurt and papads (crispy lentil wafers).
Feel free to add some finely diced bell peppers to the dish for both taste & texture, just sauté them along with the peanuts.