Kundapur Kashew Kernels

Kundapur Kashew Kernels


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Once school was done and examinations wrestled with, it was time for my siblings and I to pack our bags and go by the night train from Bangalore to Shimoga where my uncle Sam would meet us and drive us through the Ghats to my grandparents home Grace Villa in Kundapur, South India. All twelve of us cousins met there every April/May and looked forward to six wonderful weeks of fun and food. My grandmother who pampered us, kept a well stocked larder. The summer holidays were the highlight of our little lives as we could roam the garden and neighborhood at will, stopping only to eat Rangoon Cherries, raw mangoes with salt and chili powder or drink the sweet coconut water and devour its delicious white flesh. We were always hungry and looked forward to our grandmother or Ajjamma as we fondly called her to announce that it was time to eat. Cashew fruit trees grew in abundance in Kundapur and the surrounding areas and the green nuts, available only during summer were a gourmets delight. Local women would patiently crack the green shell and extract the creamy kernel. You had to be an expert at doing this as the juice from the outer covering was acidic and could burn the skin. We would watch in fascination as the women skillfully extracted the nuts and then went around to the various houses trying to find customers for these delectable morsels. This particular recipe brings back fond memories of raids on the larder where Ajjamma hid them from us. The summer holidays were never complete without this delicious dish and it is a traditional recipe handed down in the family for generations from my maternal great grandmother to be precise. I use cashew nuts for this recipe as the kernels are not easily available where I live. This is a great favorite with family and friends and keeps alive all the Mothers in my family. Though decadent, it is truly a connoisseurs dream. Thank You Mummy. Happy Mother's Day.

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  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) broken cashew nuts or tender cashew nuts (available during April/May)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 Tbs. grated coconut
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. mustard
  • 1 sprig curry leaves

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Soak cashew nuts overnight. Next day drain and cook on medium fire in 1 C. water till tender. Keep aside. Heat 2 Tbs. oil in a deep frying pan and add the mustard. When it spurts add the curry leaves, followed by the onions. Fry to a dark golden brown. Add the chili powder and cashew nuts and stir fry a minute or till all the water evaporates. Add salt to taste. Stir in the grated coconut and mix well. Serve hot with rice or chappathis. Absolutely delicious. Served at weddings, feasts and special occasions. 

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