Peanuts (groundnuts, கடலை, मूँगफली) are a great source of protein and there is the added bonus of antioxidants, key vitamins and minerals. The fats in peanuts are heart healthy mono and poly unsaturated fats. Peanuts are very commonly eaten as a snack “time pass” in India. The boiled/steamed tender peanuts, roasted peanuts, masala peanuts, chikki (peanut brittle, கடலை மிட்டாய்) are all different ways in which we use peanuts.
A later entrant into the Indian food habit is the peanut butter. This was not a thing when I was growing up. Eating bread or toast meant having it with butter or jam. Later, when I went to Canada after my marriage, I got introduced to peanut butter and it became my favourite thing to have with toast. In fact, even now I enjoy toast with home made peanut butter along with a glass of orange juice.
After returning to India in the early 1990s, I found that it was not available here and so it was always on my “to get from abroad” list. Much later, when it finally made an appearance in the Indian market, it was prohibitively expensive. Even now, the organic, sugar free peanut butter is quite expensive.
But peanut butter is so ridiculously easy to make at home that I wonder why I didn’t do it long back. It is even less labour if you can get peanuts without the skin, just roast and grind. All you need is peanuts, salt and a bit of groundnut oil to help grind to a smooth paste and you have home made peanut butter without any preservatives or synthetic additives and at a fraction of the cost of store bought ones.
As I use peanut butter to make Thai recipes, snack bars and in some cookie recipes also, I always have this on hand. And I guarantee you, once you have eaten home made, fresh peanut butter, you will never go back to the store bought one.