The Salted Nuts
by Vimala Ramu
Among all the snacks, salted nuts have always been my favorite. Though in later life I have tasted salted cashew nuts from Goa, salted pistachios from California (with vinegar for added tang), salted almonds(source forgotten),I feel there is nothing to beat our Kharada Kadlekai
- a spicy variety of peanuts Karnataka is famous for.
I still remember how irresistible it used to be, displayed in a transparent glass jar in a ‘condiments’ store while I waited for the bus to go home after the day’s work.
The said Kharada Kadlekai
is actually roasted groundnut seeds, covered with extra smooth, spicy paste of either green chillies or red chillies mixed with haldi, salt, asafetida and lemon juice and dried again to a crisp. For the paste to stick to the skin of the seeds, we have to grind the paste with soaked methi seeds or mix maida as a short cut.
What one likes most, one learns to make. I used to prepare both the green and red variety and store them in air tight tins for munching at leisure. Great care has to be taken to see that the seeds are roasted to the correct temperature and that the paste covered seeds are dried to the right extent to prevent the thin husk separating from the seeds.
Once the Micro wave oven was discovered, it was a boon for making the tasty ‘Brain tonic’. Someone suggested that soaking the peanut seeds in water and draining them before roasting would make for even a better standard of crispness. I also discovered that the paste stuck to the seeds better if the roasted seeds were completely cooled before applying the paste.
It is very important to know that how well the seed has retained the spicy covering on it is an indication of how professional your product is and so all research and efforts go towards making the seeds retain their spicy coat.
Once, a Punjabi neighbor of mine dropped in for a chit chat. Along with a glass of cool nimboopani, I offered her a plate of my patented Kharada kadlekai.
As I kept talking to her, I was shocked to see that she was meticulously dehusking every nut, rubbing it between her thumb and forefinger before popping the obscenely naked bland white seed into her mouth!!! My goodness, did I take all the trouble to get it covered by the spicy paste just for her to get rid of it? I could have as well given her plain, roasted and dehusked peanuts. It was nothing short of sacrilege!
Then onwards, I would offer it to only those connoisseurs who could really appreciate the Khara
cover over the Kadlekai.