Verkadalai Chutney| Peanut Chutney For Idlis And Dosas

What is your favourite side dish with idlis and dosas? Today, I’m going to tell you about my personal favourite, Verkadalai Chutney. This, apart from my love for dunking idlis and dosas in Udupi-style sambar. 🙂

Verkadalai Chutney or Peanut Chutney

What is Verkadalai Chutney?

Verkadalai‘ in Tamil refers to peanuts. ‘Verkadalai Chutney’ is, therefore, chutney made using peanuts. It is a delicious confection, flavoured with tamarind, green chillies and ginger, and very easy to make too.

This chutney is quite commonly served in restaurants in Bangalore, alongside idlis, dosas and paniyaram. However, the restaurant version is on the runnier side. The chutney in the picture above is more thick.

This Verkadalai Chutney is different from the groundnut chutney I had shared on the blog, a couple of years back. Both the chutneys are made using peanuts as the base, but the flavour profiles are quite different.

How to make Verkadalai Chutney

Here is how I prepare it.

Ingredients (makes about 2 cups):

  1. 3/4 cup peanuts
  2. A small piece of tamarind
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. 3 green chillies or as per taste
  5. 1 teaspoon oil
  6. 1-1/2 tablespoon chana dal
  7. 1-1/2 tablespoon urad dal
  8. Water, as needed
  9. Salt to taste

For the tempering:

  1. 1/2 tablespoon of oil
  2. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  3. 1 sprig of curry leaves
  4. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  5. 2 dry red chillies

Method:

1. Soak the tamarind in a little boiling water, for at least 15-20 minutes, for it to soften. Set aside and let it cool down.

2. Dry roast the peanuts on medium flame, in a heavy-bottomed pan, for 4-5 minutes or till they turn crisp. Take care to ensure that they do not burn.

3. In the meantime, peel the ginger. Chop the ginger and green chillies roughly. Keep them ready.

4. Transfer the roasted peanuts to a plate. Allow them to cool down completely.

5. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon oil in the same pan we used earlier. Add in the chana dal and urad dal, and reduce the flame to medium. Roast on medium flame till the lentils start browning and start emitting a nice fragrance. Take care to ensure that the lentils do not burn. At this stage, add in the roughly chopped ginger and green chillies. Roast on low-medium flame for about a minute, then switch off gas. Transfer the roasted ingredients to a plate and allow them to cool down completely.

Top left, centre and right: Steps 1, 2 and 3, Bottom left: Step 4, Bottom centre and right: Step 5

6. When all the roasted ingredients have completely cooled down, transfer them to a mixer jar, along with the roasted peanuts. Add in the tamarind along with the water it was soaked in. Add in salt to taste and enough water to help with the grinding (if required).

7. Grind everything together to a smooth paste. Transfer to a mixing bowl. If needed, add in more water as needed, to bring the chutney to a semi-thick consistency – this is purely optional.

8. Now, we will temper the chutney. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a small pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to sputter. Now, add in the curry leaves, asafoetida and dry red chillies. Allow these ingredients to stay in the hot oil for a few seconds, taking care not to burn them. Switch off gas.

9. Transfer this tempering to the chutney in the mixing bowl. Mix well. Your Peanut Chutney is ready. Serve it with idlis or dosas.

Left top and bottom: Steps 6 and 7, Top right: Step 7, Right centre and bottom: Steps 8 and 9

Chutney Special at the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

I’m sharing this recipe in association with the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge.

The Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge is a group of enthusiastic food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every month. The members are grouped into pairs, and each pair exchanges two secret ingredients that are then used to cook a dish that fits in with the monthly theme.

The theme this month is ‘Chutneys’, suggested by Priya Vijayakrishnan, author of Sweet Spicy Tasty. Do check out the lip-smacking Raw Mango Chutney that she prepared for the theme!

My partner for the month was Poonam, a very talented chef and the author of Annapurna. She assigned to me the two ingredients of ‘peanuts’ and ‘tamarind’, and I decided to use them to make this Verkadalai Chutney. I gave Poonam the ingredients ‘red chilli powder’ and ‘jaggery’, and she used them in a beautiful Bengali Tomato Khejur Amshottor Chaatni. Yum!

Tips & Tricks

1. Adjust the quantity of tamarind, salt and green chillies as per personal taste preferences.

2. Make sure the tamarind is free of seeds, strings and other impurities before using it in making the chutney.

3. Add as much water as needed to bring the chutney to a semi-thick consistency. If you want to keep the chutney thick, you may avoid adding the water.

4. Make sure the ingredients do not burn while roasting, as this might alter the taste of the chutney.

5. Make sure the roasted ingredients cool down fully before using them in making the chutney.

6. Sesame oil goes best in this Verkadalai Chutney. However, if you don’t have it, you may use any other variety of oil you prefer.

7. This Verkadalai Chutney recipe is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet.

8. This chutney is not gluten-free as it contains asafoetida. Most commercial brands of asafoetida available in India do contain wheat flour and are, hence, best avoided if one is following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can get your hands on 100% gluten-free asafoetida, you can definitely go ahead and use it.

Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Cabbage Masala| Cabbage Sabzi For Rotis

Cabbage Masala is a delicious side dish for rotis, a semi-dry sabzi that is full of flavour and yet very easy to prepare. Today, let me take you through the process of making this beauty.

In my neck of the woods, cabbage is commonly used to make poriyal or kootu, both of which are more suited to rice than rotis. This Cabbage Masala is a different way to use the vegetable for us, one that my family and I have fallen in love with over the years.

Cabbage Masala or Cabbage Sabzi for rotis

What goes into this Cabbage Masala?

This is a very simple preparation, requiring just a few ingredients that are commonly present in an Indian kitchen.

There’s only about 1/2 tablespoon oil used in the making of this sabzi, with a basic mustard-cumin seeds-asafoetida tempering. Chana masala and a bit of jaggery are used to add flavour to the sabzi.

Onion goes into this sabzi too. There’s tomato in it too, added in at the very end, when the sabzi is almost cooked through. Adding the tomato at the end is a hack I learnt from my sister-in-law – it doesn’t turn too mushy that way and makes the sabzi so much more flavourful than adding it at the beginning.

Since there’s very little oil used here, the sabzi is cooked on a medium flame, covered, with intermittent sprinklings of water.

How to make Cabbage Masala

The stepwise procedure follows.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1/2 of a medium head of cabbage, 3 cups when finely chopped
  2. 1 medium-sized onion

3. 1 medium-sized tomato

4. 1/2 tablespoon oil

5. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

6. 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
7. 2 pinches of asafoetida
8. Salt to taste
9. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
10. Red chilli powder to taste
11. 1/2 tablespoon chana masala or to taste

12. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
13. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander
Method:

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Centre left and right: Steps 3 and 4, Bottom left and right: Steps 5 and 6

1. Chop the cabbage finely. Keep aside.

2. Chop the onion finely. Keep it ready.

3. Chop the tomato finely too and keep it ready.

4. Now, we will start preparing the Cabbage Masala. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, and add in the mustard seeds. Allow them to sputter. Next, add in the cumin seeds and asafoetida, and let them stay for a few seconds.

5. Add the finely chopped onion to the pan. Turn the flame down to medium.

6. Saute on medium flame for about a minute or till the onion starts turning brown.

Top left and right: Steps 7 and 8, Bottom left, centre and right: Steps 9, 10 and 11

7. Add the chopped cabbage to the pan at this stage, still keeping the flame at medium. Also, add in a bit of salt and the turmeric powder, along with about 1/4 cup water.

8. Mix well. Cook covered on medium flame for about 3 minutes or till the cabbage is starting to get tender, about 60% cooked. Uncover in between to stir.

9. Add in salt to taste and red chilli powder. If you feel the cabbage is getting too dry, you may add in some more water. Mix well. Continue to cook covered on medium flame for 2-3 more minutes or till the cabbage is almost 80% done. Uncover and stir intermittently.

10. When about 80% done, add in jaggery powder, chana masala and finely chopped tomato. Sprinkle a bit of water if needed. Continue to cook covered for about 2 minutes more, on medium flame. The cabbage will get fully cooked and the tomato will get well incorporated into it.

11. If there’s any residual water remaining at this stage, cook uncovered on medium flame for a minute or so to dry it off. Switch off gas. Mix in the finely chopped coriander. Your Cabbage Masala is ready. Serve warm or at room temperature with rotis.

Is the Cabbage Masala vegan and gluten-free?

This recipe for Cabbage Masala is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet.

It is not gluten-free because of the use of asafoetida. Simply skip the asafoetida to make it gluten-free. This is because most commercial brands of asafoetida available in India contain wheat flour to a lesser or greater extent and are, hence, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet.

The chana masala I have used here is vegan and gluten-free. In case you are using a store-bought spice mix, make sure it suits your dietary requirements.

Tips & Tricks

1. Chop the cabbage finely for best results.

2. Since we are using very little oil to cook this sabzi, it is important to keep the flame at medium throughout, to prevent burning. Check intermittently to see if there is enough water for the cabbage to cook. If the water has dried out at any stage, add in a little bit to prevent the cabbage from sticking to the bottom of the pan. At the same time, it is important not to add too much water – use just a little bit.

3. Use a heavy-bottomed pan, for best results.

4. You can use garam masala in place of the chana masala I have used here. I use chana masala because we love the flavour it adds to this dish. You could also use a mix of chana masala and garam masala.

5. Adjust the amount of salt, red chilli powder, jaggery powder and chana masala or garam masala as per personal taste preferences.

6. I would personally not recommend skipping the jaggery. It adds a beautiful taste to the Cabbage Masala.

7. You can make this sabzi extremely dry or keep it just a tiny bit watery. We prefer the latter.

8. I prefer using a tart ‘Nati‘ (country) tomato in this sabzi, rather than the ‘farmed’ version. The Nati tomato adds a whole lot more flavour to the dish.

9. Skip the onion, if you want to make this a no-onion, no-garlic dish.

10. You may add some curry leaves, slit green chillies and dry red chillies to the tempering, too. However, I don’t use them.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Vegetable Sandwich| Bombay Sandwich

I write this post gripped in a wave of nostalgia, flooded with fond memories of the times when we were living in Ahmedabad. I love the diverse street food the city has to offer, and the fact that you could have a delicious meal in just about 30 rupees (I’m talking pre-2009). I’m not sure if things have changed now, but I am definitely sure that the city still continues to offer some brilliant street food that does not cost an arm and a leg. The recipe I’m going to share with you all today is for Bombay Sandwich or Vegetable Sandwich, the way I grew up eating it, something I dearly love.

Bombay Sandwich aka Vegetable Sandwich

What is a Bombay Sandwich?


It is a kind of sandwich made using vegetables, hugely popular in Mumbai. It’s available by the street-side and in several restaurants in Mumbai, and the same goes for Ahmedabad as well. Bombay Sandwich aka Mumbai Sandwich aka Vegetable Sandwich is a big-time favourite in Ahmedabad as well.

The Bombay Sandwich most commonly contains slices of cucumber, onion, tomato, boiled beetroot and potato – with so many veggies going in, this is a healthy sandwich I say! 😜 There’s butter and spicy green chutney going in too, which makes the sandwich super delicious. In Ahmedabad, the sandwich would be served without toasting, on a little square of newspaper, with tomato ketchup on top, over which thin sev would generously be drizzled. It would be served freshly made, with a flourish of chaat masala on top – a veritable treat in itself.

#CookInAJiffy with Foodie Monday Blog Hop


As a teenager in Ahmedabad, I remember making a hearty meal of two of these sandwiches, from Ajit’s, my favourite stall on Ashram Road. I would visit at least once a week, but now, I don’t know if the stall still exists. Anyhow, my visits taught me what an absolute breeze a Bombay Sandwich is to whip up, delish as it is. As I moved to Bangalore, I started making it myself and it was an instant hit with my extended family. I continue to make it often – it’s comfort food for when  I’m not feeling great, it’s an easy meal on days when I don’t really want to cook.

When #CookInAJiffy was announced as the theme for Foodie Monday Blog Hop this week, I instantly knew that I had to write about my beloved Vegetable Sandwich aka Bombay Sandwich. The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday.

It was Sujata ji, the talented blogger at Batter Up With Sujata, who suggested the theme for the week. I love the innovative recipes Sujata ji comes up with, like these Semolina Blueberry Custard Cupcakes and Eggless Fresh Fruit Cake With Black Carrot.

How to make Vegetable Sandwich


Here is how to go about it.

Ingredients (makes 4 sandwiches):

1. 8 slices of bread

2. Salted butter, as needed 

3. Green chutney, as needed

4. 1 small beetroot 

5. 1 small potato 

6. 1 small English cucumber 

7. 1 small tomato 

8. 1 small onion 

9. A little chaat masala, to drizzle on the sandwiches

10. Fine sev, as needed (optional)

11. Tomato ketchup, as needed

Method:

1. Cut the potato into two halves. Transfer to a vessel, and add in enough water to cover the potato halves. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 4 whistles or till well cooked. Let the pressure release naturally.

2. Similarly, cut the beetroot into two halves. Transfer to a vessel, and add in enough water to cover the beetroot fully. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 4 whistles or till well cooked. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, peel the potato and beetroot. Cut both the potato and beetroot into  slices. Keep aside.

4. While the pressure is going down, prep the other veggies we will need to use in the sandwich. Chop the cucumber and tomato into thin slices. Peel the onion and cut into thin rounds. Keep aside. 


Left top and bottom: Steps 1 and 2, Right top and centre: Steps 3, Bottom right: Step 4

5. Spread some butter evenly on one slice of bread. Spread some green chutney evenly on the other slice. 

6. Place the bread slice with green chutney on a plate. Arrange a couple of slices of the boiled potato and beetroot on top of the green chutney. Then, spread a few slices of tomato, onion and cucumber on top of this. Drizzle some tomato ketchup on top of this and sprinkle a bit of chaat masala. (Avoid the ketchup and chaat masala if you are planning to use sev).


Top left: Step 5, Right top and centre: Step 6, Bottom right and bottom left: Step 7 (using sev)

7. Now, close the sandwich using the other bread slice which has butter spread over it. If you are using sev, drizzle some tomato ketchup over the sandwich. Sprinkle a generous quantity of sev over the ketchup and add some chaat masala. Serve the sandwich immediately.


The making of a Vegetable Sandwich, without sev

8. Prepare sandwiches from all the slices of bread, in a similar manner. Cut each sandwich into 4 pieces, and serve immediately.

Tips & Tricks


1. You can use any type of bread you prefer. Ideally, use a good-quality, whole wheat bread made without artificial colouring or flavouring agents, which is free of preservatives.

2. For best results, slice the vegetables thinly.

3. Use the fine variety of sev, popularly called ‘zini sev‘ or ‘nylon sev‘, for best results. It is a bit tough to find in Bangalore, though. The nylon sev from Garden is quite good, but it’s not easy to come across it. Make the sandwich without the sev for a healthier alternative – it still tastes awesome!

4. Here’s a detailed recipe for green chutney, the way I make it. I use the same chutney for my chaats and sandwiches. Keep the chutney thick for best results. A watery chutney will make the sandwich soggy.

5. I prefer having this Bombay Sandwich as is, without grilling. However, you may grill them if you so prefer.

6. Use the no-seed variety of cucumber – also called ‘English cucumber’ or ‘European cucumber’ – for best results.

7. The Bombay Sandwich is best consumed immediately after preparing.

8. I don’t cut off the edges of the bread slices. You may, if you prefer to do so.
9. You can make the sandwich sans onion, if you so prefer. The green chutney can also be made without onion and garlic, if you don’t prefer using them.

10. I have used Amul salted butter and home-made tomato ketchup here. You may use a store-bought version of the latter instead, too.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

No-Fry Paneer Kofta| Cottage Cheese Dumplings In Tomato Gravy

At home, all of us are big fans of North Indian sabzis and gravies to go with our rotis. We love our Palak Paneer, Chana Masala, Punjabi Aloo Matar, Aloo Methi, Methi Matar Malai and Dal Makhani. If you have been reading my blog for some time now, you would know that I mostly keep my dishes flavourful but totally home-style, sans processed ingredients, artificial colours and additives. I use very limited oil in my food, avoiding deep-frying as much as I can. Today, I am going to share with you all the recipe for another such healthy gravy – delicious Paneer Kofta, made without frying.

No-Fry Paneer Kofta!

A closer look at No-Fry Paneer Kofta

Paneer Kofta refers to dumplings made using cottage cheese, served in a creamy tomato-onion gravy.

The mildly spiced dumplings are usually deep-fried in restaurants, before adding them to the gravy. However, I make them in an appe or paniyaram pan, doing away with the frying.

Also, unlike commercial versions, there is no cream used in the gravy I make for the Paneer Kofta. I use cashewnuts instead, to thicken the gravy, along with some milk to give it a rich flavour.

This No-Fry Paneer Kofta is definitely a wholesome treat, delectable and full of flavour. Try it out, and you will surely not miss the cream and the frying!

How to make No-Fry Paneer Kofta

My uncle, a great cook, makes wonderful Paneer Kofta, albeit the fried version. I have taken his recipe for the koftas, and adapted it to the paniyaram pan. The gravy I have made in the same style as thd one I use in my Paneer Butter Masala and Matar Paneer.

Here is how I go about making the dish.
Ingredients (serves 4):

For the kofta:

  1. 200 grams paneer aka cottage cheese
  2. 3 medium-sized potatoes
  3. Salt to taste
  4. Red chilli powder to taste
  5. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  6. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  7. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  8. 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  9. 1/2 teaspoon chana masala
  10. 2 tablespoons besan aka gram flour
  11. A few teaspoons of oil, as needed for cooking in paniyaram pan

For the gravy:

  1. 4 medium-sized tomatoes
  2. 1 small onion
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. 5-6 garlic cloves
  5. 10 cashewnuts
  6. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  7. 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  8. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Red chilli powder to taste
  11. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  12. 1 cup milk, boiled and cooled
  13. 1 cup water or as needed
  14. 3/4 tablespoon jaggery powder
  15. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  16. 3/4 teaspoon chana masala
  17. 1 teaspoon kasoori methi
  18. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

Method:

1. Wash the potatoes thoroughly, to remove any traces of dirt from them. Chop them into halves and place in a wide vessel. Pressure cook the potatoes with enough water for 4 whistles or till they are completely done. Let the pressure release naturally. Drain out the water from the potatoes and let them cool down completely.

2. Crumble the paneer thoroughly. Keep it ready.

3. Peel the onion, garlic cloves and ginger. Chop roughly. Chop up the tomatoes roughly too. Take the peeled onion, garlic cloves, ginger and tomatoes in a mixer jar, and add in the cashewnuts. Grind everything together to a smooth paste. Keep ready.

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Bottom left and right: Step 3

4. Now, we will prepare the gravy required for the koftas. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, and add in the cumin seeds and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

5. Now, add the tomato-onion paste that we ground earlier, to the pan, along with a bit of salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Mix well. Turn the flame down to low-medium.

6. Cook the paste on low-medium flame for 4-5 minutes, or till the raw smell of the ingredients goes away completely. Stir intermittently to prevent burning. By this time, the paste will thicken up.

7. Add in the jaggery powder, still keeping the flame at low-medium. Mix well.

8. Add in the garam masala and chana masala too. Mix well.

Top left: Step 4, Top right and bottom right: Step 5 and 6, Bottom left: Step 7, Above bottom left: Step 8

9. At this stage, add in the milk. Keep the flame at low-medium. Mix well.

10. Now, add in the water. Mix well.

11. Cook on low-medium flame for 3-4 more minutes or until the gravy thickens up and achieves a smooth, creamy consistency. Switch off gas.

12. Rub the kasoori methi well between your palms, and add to the pan. Add in the finely chopped coriander too. Mix well. The gravy is ready. Keep it resting till you get the koftas ready.

Top left and right: Steps 9 and 10, Bottom left and right: Steps 11 and 12

13. We will now begin preparing the koftas. Peel the cooked and cooled potatoes, mash them, and add to the mixing bowl. Add in the crumbled paneer, salt and red chilli powder to taste, asafoetida, turmeric powder, garam masala, chana masala, besan and finely chopped coriander. Mix everything well till you get a sort of dough.

The various stages involved in Step 13

14. Make 10-12 small balls out of the potato-paneer mixture. Keep ready.

15. Heat a paniyaram pan, then reduce the flame down to low-medium. Drizzle some oil in each of the pan’s cavities. Now, place a ball of the potato-paneer mixture in each of the cavities. Cook uncovered on low-medium flame for about 2 minutes or till the balls start browning at the bottom. Then, flip them over and cook for 2 minutes on the other side or until done. Prepare all the koftas in a similar manner and keep ready.

Bottom left: Step 14, Top left: Step 15, Right: The koftas, all ready

16. When you are ready to serve the curry, heat up the gravy lightly. Ladle it into serving plates, and place a couple of the koftas in each one. Serve immediately, alongside rotis or naan.

#PaniyaramPanMagic At Foodie Monday Blog Hop

I’m sharing this recipe with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop.

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. The theme this week is #PaniyaramPanMagic, with all of us using the appe pan in innovative ways.

Priya Vijayakrishnan of Sweet Spicy Tasty was the one who suggested this week’s theme. You should definitely check out her space for her traditional Tamilian recipes as well as her unique take on dishes from around the globe. Take a look at the Kunukku Paniyaram or Dal Appe she has made for the theme – so inviting I’m tempted to try them out right away!

Tips & Tricks

1. Ensure that the paneer and milk at at room temperature, for best results. I have used Akshayakalpa paneer and full-cream milk from Nandini here.

2. Make sure the koftas do not burn, while cooking them in the paniyaram pan. Cook them on low-medium flame only.

3. I have used cashewnuts to thicken the gravy here. You may use a mix of cashewnuts and almonds instead.

4. Adjust the quantity of water you use in the gravy, depending upon the consistency you require. The above quantities worked perfectly for us.

5. It is important to cook the tomato-onion paste well, while making the gravy. Cook on low-medium flame till the raw smell is completely gone, taking care to ensure that it does not burn.

6. Add the koftas to the gravy just before serving. Also make sure the gravy is only lightly heated. These koftas are quite delicate, and disintegrate the moment they are put in hot gravy.

7. I have used a mix of garam masala and chana masala in both the koftas and the gravy. You may use a mix or either of these masalas instead.

8. For best results, cook the kofta till they get brown and slightly crisp on the outside. Take care to ensure that they do not burn.

9. I have used home-made chana masala and garam masala here. If you are looking for store-bought spice blends, Badshah, MDH and Everest work well.

10. I would not recommend skipping the jaggery used here. The jaggery does not make the dish sweet, but it does round off the other flavours nicely.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Easy Verkadalai Ladu| Unsalted Peanut Laddoos

Peanuts are a powerhouse of nutrients, as we all know. They are so versatile too, lending their beautiful flavour to everything from lemon rice and chaat to ice cream. Today, I’m going to share with you all the recipe for a very simple but utterly delicious sweet treat made using peanuts – Verkadalai Ladu or Peanut Laddoos.
Verkadalai Ladu aka Peanut Laddoos


What goes into these Peanut Laddoos?


Like I was saying earlier, these Peanut Laddoos are super simple to put together, requiring the most minimal of ingredients.

First up, I have used unsalted peanuts in these laddoos, roasted till crisp. I have used jaggery powder for sweetening, and dry ginger powder (‘sukku podi‘ in Tamil) to add flavour to them. That’s about it – just three simple ingredients. Grind everything together and shape the laddoos, easy-peasy! The oil naturally releasing from the peanuts is enough to bind the laddoos, without the need for an agent like ghee or butter. There’s no need to make a jaggery syrup either, as is commonly required in case of laddoos. How much more simple can it get, eh? 🙂

Verkadalai Ladu or peanut laddoos made this way are not just very nutritious, but a guilt-free treat free of refined sugar. They are completely vegan too, suited to people following a plant-based diet. They are gluten-free as well.

I have shared another recipe for peanut laddoos on the blog earlier, made with coconut and sesame seeds. While those laddoos are extremely flavourful, this are a pared-down version that is loaded with taste too.

How to make Peanut Laddoos


Ingredients (makes 10-12 pieces):

1. 1 cup raw unsalted peanuts

2. 3/4 cup jaggery powder

3. 1 teaspoon dry ginger powder (sukku)

Method:

1. Take the peanuts in a heavy-bottomed  pan and place on high heat. Once the pan gets heated up, reduce the flame to medium. Dry roast the peanuts on medium flame till they become crisp, about 4 minutes. Take care to ensure that the peanuts do not burn.

2. Immediately switch the gas off and transfer the roasted peanuts to a plate. Allow them to cool down completely.

3. When completely cool, transfer the roasted peanuts to a mixer jar. Add in the jaggery powder and dry ginger powder. Grind for a couple of seconds, then stop to open the mixer jar and mix up the ingredients. Repeat this procedure a couple of times or till you get the mixture turns into a sand-like consistency.

4. Now, use your hands to shape balls out of the mixture, as big or small as you prefer. Your Peanut Laddoos are ready.

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Bottom left and centre: Step 3, Bottom right: Step 4

The A-Z Recipe Challenge


I’m sharing this recipe with the A-Z Recipe Challenge that I am part of.


The A-Z Recipe Challenge is run by a group of passionate food bloggers who cook using ingredients in alphabetical order, every month. The letter this month is U, wherein we are cooking using ingredients like unsalted nuts and butter, unsweetened cocoa powder and mawa. I chose to work with unsalted peanuts.

Tips & Tricks


1. I do not remove the skin of the roasted peanuts. You may do so, if you so prefer.
2. I have used store-bought jaggery powder here. It makes the process of making laddoos super easy.
3. The colour of the laddoos will depend upon the type of jaggery you use, the roasting of peanuts and whether or not the peanut skins are removed.
4. Take care to ensure that the peanuts do not burn, while roasting them.
5. Use a heavy-bottomed pan for roasting the peanuts, for best results.
6. Do allow the peanuts to cool down completely before beginning to grind them.
7. Do not grind the ingredients at a stretch. Remember to stop every couple of seconds to mix up the ingredients. This will stop the ingredients from clumping up together, which will affect the taste of the laddoos.
8. I have ground the ingredients to an almost-fine powder here. You may even coarsely pulse them, if you so prefer.
9. I have used store-bought dry ginger powder here. It adds a lovely flavour to the peanut laddoos. You may skip this ingredient if you so prefer, but I would definitely suggest not to.
10. If the mixture is too dry after grinding, you may add in some ghee to help with the shaping of laddoos. Avoid the ghee if you want to keep the laddoos vegan.
11. The prepared peanut laddoos can be stored in a clean, dry, air-tight box for up to 10 days.
12. You can grind the roasted peanuts separately, and then mix in the jaggery powder and dry ginger powder.

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