Masala Kadalai – Spiced Peanut salad
This masala kadalai is an all-time favourite snack at Chennai beaches. Go to Besant Nagar beach and you’ll find numerous vendors selling these addictive goodies in little cellophane pouches. It’s a live salad bar, a little wooden push-cart on top of which sits a huge pile of steaming groundnuts (peanuts) with shredded veggies on one side and the seasonings on the other. Kadala podaradhu (boy and girl talking hours on end) got its name from masala kadalai, because most couples frequent beaches, beaches being one of the few free (did you think it was because
of the sea, the breeze, natural beauty and stuff? Wrong!) places in the city other than Café coffee day which isn’t free or even cheap though their ads are, where you can lounge around forever and not pay for anything other than a packet of masala kadalai.
I am trying to re-create this popular Chennai classic at home. My son loves sundal (boiled chickpeas) and I am hoping with this Masala kadalai I can sneak in some vegetables as well. My little brats are really picky, they’ll actually pick out the offending vegetables from a dish before putting it in their little mouths. I hope they don’t notice. This is not really a recipe, it’s that simple and that popular. I need to say this lest Chennai people beat me up for posting something so obvious.
Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Boiled groundnuts (peanuts) – ½ kilo
Shredded cabbage – 1 cup
Shredded carrot – 1 cup
Lemon juice from 1 lemon
Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Onions (optional) – finely chopped – ½ cup
Tomatoes finely chopped – ½ cup
Raw mango (optional) finely chopped – a handful
1. Boil groundnuts in their shells in salted water – just enough water to immerse the nuts, in a pressure cooker for around 15 minutes. Drain the water and shell the groundnuts.
2. Just toss everything together in a bowl and serve individual portions in paper cones or bowls.
1. Mix the ingredients just before serving.
2. You can serve this as a fun party appetizer in pretty paper cones. You could even pack these as a salad for lunch.