Mumbai is a metropolis that is for the working man and by the working man. Till the early 80s, Mumbai was a place where all kinds of mills and manufacturing industries thrived. These factories were often manned by men who came alone to this great city, leaving families behind, to eke out a living.
It is this working populace that gave rise to an assorted range of oddities that are so peculiarly Mumbai. The chawl system, one room tenements with shared sanitation facilities, were built to accommodate this migrant population. Another is the eclectic Mumbai street food. If you observe almost all of Mumbai’s street food is healthy and filling; be it Pav Bhaji, Tava Pulao, Misal Pav, Vada Pav, Sandwich, or Anda Bhurji. While these dishes are primarily used as lunch or dinner, Mumbai also has a vast range of dishes that can be classified as snacks.
The snacks that you commonly find on Mumbai’s streets range from filling Ragda Patties to the light Bhel to boiled & spiced green chickpeas (hara chana) to simple roasted peanuts.
One snack that has almost disappeared from Mumbai streets is the humble boiled peanut. There is no greater pleasure on a rainy evening than warm, salty boiled peanuts with some hot adrakwali chai. Boiled peanuts used to be freely available in Mumbai, but over the past few years it has become difficult to find any. As a result, when I saw peanuts in their shell the other day in the market, I jumped at the chance to make some at home.
Time: 2 hrs
- Peanuts in Shell – 1/2 Kg
- Water – 3 Litres
- Salt – 1/2 Cup
- Gently scrub the shells and hold under running water to get rid of any dirt.
- In a pressure cooker, add the water, salt and peanuts in the shells.
- Cook for 6 whistles (6 releases of pressure).
- Keep the pressure cooker closed for another 30 minutes.
- Drain the water.
- Shell the peanuts and enjoy with some hot masala tea.
- Do not fret about the amount of salt. You need that much (or even a bit more) if the salty taste has to penetrate the shell and make it to the peanuts.
- You know the peanuts are done if you bite into a shelled peanut and find that it is soft yet firm and just a tad bit salty. If the peanut is squishy you have overcooked it; if peanut is still hard then you have to cook it somewhere.