Guest Author - Jason Hodge
I love peanuts or groundnuts as they are referred to. They're tasty by themselves, but when added to a savory dish, groundnuts take on a whole new dimension. When you boil them they soften and impart their delicate flavors throughout your dish as well as picking up flavors. They're not overly peanutty and add textural dimension and excitement. I work with them many different ways and in various forms, from raw, in-shell, to shelled roasted, salted and everything in between.
Try this on for size. I think it'll be an easy concept to grasp and open up your thinking on using peanuts / groundnuts in your cooking. Think of using them just like you would any other bean. You should be surprised at how versatile they are. Simmer your groundnuts in a sauce: cream, tomato, curry based or some other interesting one of your choosing. Let them soften, just like you would any other bean and continue to build out your dish from there.
Here's a quick ground nut / peanut nutritional analysis according to "the world's healthiest foods", by George Mateljan, per 1/4 cup:
Groundnuts / peanuts have 206.96 calories, 161.75 are from fat, of which 22.45 is saturated. They have 9.42g protein, 5.89g carbohydrates, 3.10g dietary fibre [12.40% of your daily value], 1.13g total sugar, all of your B vitamins except for B12, vitamin E, folate, pantothenic acid, all of your amino acids along with minerals like: calcium, chloride, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.
With all of those good things along with the fact that they are a great brain food, helping to boost cognitive functioning and maintaining a youthful mind, it's a great addition to your health regimen and recipes, exotic and conventional.
Working With Groundnuts
When I work with ground nuts I like to add them early and cook them slowly on a relatively low heat to allow the flavors to develop properly and infuse the rest of the dish. Personally I don't believe in locking myself into a standard recipe for anything I cook, let alone ground nut stew, but for this article I will throw one out there to give you a jumping off point. Just promise me that you will vary your recipes to really get a feel of how versatile ground nuts can be. [By the way... if you don't happen to have the whole raw ground nuts go to your local store and get yourself some natural peanut butter - I'm partial to chunky peanut butter to give me more texture while eating. Make sure it's not that junk that has other additives like sugar, stabilizers, hydrogenated oils, etc. You just want straight peanuts, peanut oil [optional], salt [optional].]
Basic Groundnut Stew Recipe
1 stove top or portable range
1 large stock pot w/ lid
1 cutting board
1 chef's knife
1 wooden stirring spoon
1 immersion blender or counter top blender
1 serving spoon / ladle
1/4 cup red palm oil
1 large brown onion
2 cups groundnuts / peanuts [raw or roasted if your don't have raw]
1 tsp cumin seeds [lightly toasted]
1 tbsp red curry paste [Thai]
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 cups sweet ripe tomatoes [grape, cherry, etc.]
24 cloves garlic [coarsely mashed]
1 bouquet garni [a bundle of herbs tied together with twine] of thyme, sage, rosemary, bay leaf, mint, and lemongrass [1/3 cup in all]
sea salt [to taste]
1 bunch cilantro [2 cups]
1 bunch kale [type: dinosaur; quantity: 2 cups]
1/4 cup peppers [I prefer the Scotch Bonnet or Habanero or you can use the Thai or jalapeno]
[depending on how much heat you like. I'm a big fan of spicy heat.]
1 cup okra [fresh and cut if you can get it / frozen if you can't]
14 oz coconut milk
64 oz water or broth [you can make your own from scratch or use the vegetarian bouillon cubes]
3 cups yucca root [peeled, cut and parboiled]
Step 1. Sautee your onions, groundnuts and cumin in the palm oil until onions are translucent and peanuts give off their nutty aroma and turn golden brown.
Step 2. Add pastes [curry and tomato], continue to sautee. Let pastes sizzle in oil, but don't let them burn [you're just bringing out their color and intensifying their flavors], then add your bouquet garni, garlic and tomatoes, stir and let cook until tomatoes begin to burst, then press out their juices, add okra and simmer for 4 - 5 minutes and remove your bouquet garni.
Step 3. Add your coconut milk and with your immersion blender, blend down ingredients to a coarse smoothness and add the remainder of your ingredients and cook down to your desired consistency. Make all your necessary flavor adjustments as you get towards the end of your cooking.
You're done! This can be eaten along with chapati, tortillas, rice, barley, quinoa, buckwheat, or any other starchy staple, or if you're not into that... eat it by itself.
As always, it's been my pleasure sharing with you these tasty recipes. Until next time...