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Diet & Nutrition
The Underground Nut
Aug 2014
Sanjeev Kapoor
Master Chef, Author & Television Host, Khana Khazana India Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai

Peanuts are the only nuts that grow below the earth and hence are called groundnuts. In fact, there is a lot of talk about these nuts not being nuts at all. They are legumes (hmm, that’s why the name moongphali?). The fact remains that these legumes got transported to the ‘nut’ category only because of their high nutritive value.

Fascinating Plant
Peanuts grow in a very fascinating manner. They actually start out as an above the ground flower that, due to its heavy weight, bends towards the ground. The flower eventually burrows underground, which is where the peanut actually matures. They mature in about two months, when the leaves of the plant turn yellow.

The other names for peanuts are goobers, earthnuts, goober peas, jack nuts, manila nuts, pinders and monkey nuts. They taste the best when they are tender and just harvested. Once while travelling across Andhra Pradesh by car, I saw peanut fields on either side. I just got down and asked for a few that had been harvested – their taste was just awesome! South Indians use them a lot in their recipes. You can use peanuts as a wonderful gravy base, or fry in oil and add to tamarind/ lemon/coconut or curd rice or any other rice variety.