Thursday, May 21, 2009

Raw Peanuts and Mango Curry

I heard this interview with the author of the book "Fingerprints of God" on the Diane Rehm show on the local NPR affiliate WAMU. It got me thinking about God in my life. I will confess I am not even remotely religious but we try to visit the temple at least once a month. I feel a sense of calm and burst of energy after every visit. I am not sure if seeing the deities and following the poojai brings on the calm or the socializing that does it. It just might be a combination of all of the above. In the same breath I am also wary of people who are overtly religious, their zeal scares the God out of me. It bothers me that more wars have been fought and continue to be fought in the name of religion and God than almost anything else. Visiting the temple or even saying a small prayer gives a peace of mind like nothing else can.

What got me into this line of thought is during the interview her statement "people who believe in God are healthier/happier than those who do not". This might very well be true but I strongly believe living a healthy life is also part of keeping God in you by which I mean eating right, exercising regularly and doing physical activity that stimulates both the mind and body. Enjoyed physical activity, cooking, gardening or even spending time with the kids brings happiness and also keeps one healthy. How can I forget the water, especially rivers, have the calming effect that I can never completely describe. Spending time cleaning up the pond gave me immense satisfaction and it continues to please whenever I think about it. May be therin lies what I need to do in the future. I know people spend a lifetime in the quest for happiness but everybody has certain activities they do to bring on a collective calm in their day to day life. For me the activities that bring on the calm are mostly physical than spiritual like swimming, taking a walk in the early morning cool hours or cooking leisurely. What brings on the Zen for you? Is it praying or other every day activities?

Recently I have started stocking up on raw peanuts regularly so much that I forget I have one sitting in the pantry and go and buy another. But no worries, they get used up pretty easily usually in the form of a sundal like this one on Akshayapaatram minus the turmeric powder. I also added chopped green mangoes and it is definitely a very tasty snack. But this time I wanted to use the peanuts and the mango and make a curry out of it. It turned out to be good. Peanuts and green mango, can anything go wrong really?


Raw Peanuts and Mango Curry
1. 1 1/2 Cups Raw Peanuts soaked overnight
2. 1 Raw Mango Chopped into bit sized pieces
3. 1/2 tbsp sambhar powder (substitute with coriander,cumin and chili powder)
4. 3/4 tbsp tomato paste (or pureed 2 medium sized tomatoes, reduce the amount of water if using puree)
5. 1/2 onion chopped
6. 2 garlic cloves (optional, I forgot to add them)
7. 1/2 inch ginger grated
8. salt to taste
9. 1 tsp oil
10. seasonings: mustard,cumin, curry leaves

1. Pressure cook the peanuts, drain the water and set aside.
2. Now in a pan heat the oil and add the seasonings
3. add the onions and saute till translucent, add the garlic and grated ginger
4. add the mango pieces and saute for a few minutes.
5. Add the tomato paste and a 1/2 cup of water and let them cook for about 5 minutes.
6. Add the drained peanuts and 1/4 cup more water if required and let it cook till the mango becomes soft.

Tastes great with rice. We also had them with chapatis.


  1. A topic for a huge debate :)

    Won't take much space here, I am not overtly religious but I do believe in God or in forces of Nature. We are going through a particular difficult time and faith in God gives me a lot of strength. Selfish reasons but for weaker mortals like me belief in that super power helps to tide worries

    D on the other hand is remotely religious, goes to temple only because I push him but he is happier than me and worries less.

    I don't think "the belief" has anything to do with happiness

  2. I'm not very religious either! Once in a rare while, I would feel like going to a temple and we'd go. This might be once in 2-3 months. Yes, that visit brings an inner peace.

    What brings on the zen? doing stuff for my family, helping people, expressing love in small untold ways, a long walk on my own...... sipping some herbal tea or reading a book in a really clean house - no, I'm not a clean freak, infact the opposite.. so when the house is really clean, I feel a deep sense of calmness.

  3. Cooking and taking a walk brings in the calm to me.
    Curry looks great ...peanut and mangoes , love the combination.

  4. What an unusual curry!! Gotta try that one!
    Like you, I try to visit temple once a month but it usually is more like 5-7 weeks. You're right - there's something about visiting a place of worship, especially the quieter ones, that gives you a sense of inner peace. I find meditation does that to me too but I don't do it regularly or often enough, unfortunately.

  5. The recipe sounds so unique, i am seeing a lots of recipes with raw mangoes around , such a bliss in this mango season :-)
    Regarding ur views,then i can go on and on explaining my point of views to u and other people, but then i find it tiresome to explain ppl.I dont know why, the moment u utter anything remotely negative abt God, ppl start fretting and fuming...No body even tries to listen the whole thing.
    I do not believe that God resides in Idols..And taking care of idols, making these with Gold and covering it with ornaments, doing a regular puja ,while u are fuming inside at the roadside kids lined up to get Parasad, shooing them off in midst of chants , to me is like, taking care of a framed picture of someone,and ignoring him/her in real.Does it makes any sense? Why would God..a superpower, will be happy with u if you chanted His name for thousand times, but didn't paid any heed to a hungry poor kid asking for some food. Why would God bless u for ur puja, when u didn't cared for ur parents ? Does feeding already filled up saints on shradh , let u go away from your guilt about not fulfilling your duties towards ur parents when they were alive.Oh i have so much to say abt. this, but have to let go....

  6. I think belief in any one thing - makes one a strong and healthy person. That could be God, oneself, one's family, one's work....the point is you should believe! :)

  7. BTW, love the curry recipe - esp since mangoes are in season here!

  8. Tempting, tangy and delicious curry, just love the combination! feel like to have few spoons immediately!

  9. Oh this is a rare combo. I never mixed these two. We used to make a verkadalai kuzhambu (recipe in my blog) with raw peanuts, drumstick and brinjal which goes well with ragi kali. I bet this curry will also be the best with ragi kali than rice! Will try and let u know. And for me the Zen is everywhere around me. Its just that how much discover everyday :)

  10. This is a nice variation to my regular chundal. I am sure this will go well with phulkas.

  11. I bow my head before God everyday, but can't say that I'm overtly religious! Going for a long ride on my bike, walks and baking are some of the things that give me immense pleasure, not to mention the special moments with my little family.

    Peanuts rae such a favourite of mine too...but they usually get eaten up before I make lots of things !

  12. Completly new to me....Love the combo of two unique flavours....Looks droolworthy....

  13. Oooooooooh I didn't say anything about the recipe, looks very new and interesting. BTW I have never tried boiled peanuts

  14. Nirmala, will check out the recipe. Ragi kali been a while since I had them. I am a little hesitant to try. Will have to watch amma or ammayee do it before I try. I can imagine the combination.

    Sandeepa, you don't know what you are missing. Soak them overnight and cook them just like you would beans and have a taste. You won't look back.

    Sunshinemom, these were great with chapatis. If you like sundal you would absolutely like these.

    Priya, you are welcome to :)

    Cilantro, give it a try. you will surely like this.

    KF, if you love boiled peanuts, this is something you should try.

  15. Sandeepa, it is the opposite here, DH is rather than religious more spritual hence the happier one.
    Growing up, visiting the temple was never a regular thing in my parents house whereas with DH's parents no important milestone was completed without a visit to the temple. But I do agree strongly with you belief in a higher being helps to deal with the earthly matters a little better.

    Kay, absolutely. Cleaning the house and then just looking at it gives me a sense of calm too.

    Cilantro, yes walking or any exercise gives you the space and time to think. Helps me everytime.

    Vani, meditation yes, I am not able to discipline myself to do it. Being hyper and a scatter brain does not seem to help. I know , I know excuses.

    Alka, absolutely, I cannot agree with you more. I have no such hangups. I will readily agree that God seems to be the cause of angst all over the world. Yes there are many people who will donate gold and what not to God but will not raise a finger to help the poor people around them. In India the realities are stark, in the US they are a hidden, that is the only difference. I cannot deny having the same thoughts when poojais are peformed with gallons and gallons of milk, honey, orange juice, yogurt for the deity. I also feel a sense of peace when I watch the ceremony. A load of contradiction but isn't that life itself.

    Miri, you nailed it. Belief in what brings you happiness. Yes!

    Nirmala, I love the simplicity with which you describe it. Yes if only we all would stop to smell the roses everyday.

    Sunita, absolutely. Simple things are the ones that usually matter.

  16. I am not too religious either, used to be... but frankly speaking my faith & trust broke after i lsot my mom, to a point from where i cannot come back even if i want to.. But little things in life make me happy, sunsets, my kids & even a pretty bloom. I think i should humble myself & atleast try to accept that there is a bigger force with bigger powers.

    that combination is just awesome & I have never had anything like this other than chats..I would not need anything else with it:-D

  17. I've been following your blog for quite some time and every time I leave with the thought 'she lives very near me and we've so much in common'!
    So true about religion/god-I agree..I love some of our poojas/rituals, only because doing them brings about a profound sense of calm and aren't they all so aesthetically pleasing and beautiful!! Would love to get to know you better..arthi

  18. Indo, u must be aware of my current obsession;) And count me in when it comes to trying this dish. I had plans of not cooking anything this weekend but ur recipe calls full attention by my taste buds ;)

  19. You are so right indo.. that is a winning combination and must've tasted awesome. I've always loved boiled peanuts and prefer them to the fried, salted ones.

  20. i have some raw peanuts and will be making this soon. i find in nature what many people find in god. i stay away from god and his/her followers.

  21. I am not a religious person and I somehow do not find the peace when I visit temples. The people, priests, noise in my opinion are undue distractions. I consider myself as spiritualistic and believe that the super power resides everywhere inluding ourselves.

    Very new combination of peanuts with mango. I have never heard of this before.

  22. Soma, I am sorry to hear that and sure something like that can break your belief pretty quick. Hugs!

    Arthi, send me an email. we sure can get in touch.

    Bee, absolutely. Nature is God in many ways. Sure it is with God's ardent followers that you have to be real careful.

    Laavanya on a scale I love the boiled peanuts better too.

    RC, I agree to that. The temple we visit is struggling to increase its devotees but in a strange selfish way I love the peace and quiet.

    Give the boiled peanuts curry a try RC. You will like it.


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