The ubiquitous vada pav of Maharashtra needs no introduction. A deep-fried potato patty sandwiched between a bread bun or pav has fans across the world. But, can you imagine the humble snack without a smear of the fiery red shengdanyachi chutney? Probably not.
Peanut or shengdana plays an integral role in the cuisine of the state. A pantry staple in most households is shengdanyachi koot or coarsely ground roasted peanuts made in advance and stored in jars to be used in a plethora of dishes. It is also used in preparing shengdanyachi chutney, where it is blended along with garlic and a handful of everyday spices like dried red chillies and cumin among others. Interestingly, a Maharashtrian thali follows a typical arrangement of dishes, where the left side of the plate is reserved for chutneys like the shengdana variant apart from lime and pickles.
Shengdanyachi chutney has its origin in the cuisine of Marathwada, which falls under the Aurangabad region of Maharashtra. Peanut being a drought-resilient crop explains why it is grown abundantly in the region known for scanty rainfall. The essential oils released while grinding them help in maintaining cholesterol levels, are rich source of energy and antioxidants. This quintessential chutney can not only elevate a humble vada pav, but also work wonders when paired with a simple daal-chawal or rolled up inside a plain chapati with a dab of ghee. It is often added while cooking vegetables and the traditional amti or tangy daal; the pungent notes of garlic give these dishes a distinctive flavour.
Recipe for shengdanyachi chutney
1 cup raw, shelled peanuts
4-5 dried red chillies
4-5 pods of garlic
1 tsp toasted whole cumin
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1. Toast the peanuts on a hot tawa or oven. Let them cool.
2. Take the rest of the ingredients in a blender and grind them well.
3. Store in an airtight container.
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