Christmas was the one festival we looked forward to eagerly every year. Lots of presents, lots of food and lots of functions to attend, services to go to and welcoming the carolers to our home usually after midnight. Back then we hardly ever bought tidbits from the shops. Everything was made at home and recipes carefully hoarded and passed down in families for that special season of goodwill.
During the month of December the provision list would be extra long and the eats for Christmas carefully decided in advance. We children were roped in to help and we complied readily in the hope that we could sneak something away under Mummy’s eagle eye. She was noted for her Fried Groundnuts & Cashewnuts and all our guests waxed lyrical about them. One Christmas she bought some beautiful marbled plates which were red, blue and green and when some unexpected guests showed up, she decided to fry some cashewnuts for them. And serve them on her beautiful quarter plates. She fried and drained the cashewnuts and placed them on the beautiful plates and took them to the sitting room without realizing she had left a trail of piping hot nuts behind her which we enjoyed silently. When she reached the sitting room all that was left was a gaping hole in the centre of the plastic plate and us children laughing loudly at her misfortune. That was one Christmas I’ll always remember.
1 kg cashewnuts (whole) or groundnuts; 1 tbsp. khuskhus (poppy seeds); 1 tsp. salt or to taste; 1 ½ tsp. chilli powder; 3 tbsp. besan (chick pea flour); ¼ cup water; ¼ tsp. orange food colouring
1 litre Oil for deep frying
Place the nuts in a mixing bowl. Add all the ingredients and mix well. Heat oil to smoking point. Lower flame and fry nuts in batches until golden brown and crisp. Drain. Cool and store in airtight tins. In my house these are usually gobbled by Nehru in a couple of days.
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