Madanapalle and forefathers, palleelu and spice

My guest post today is from my aunt – Malathi Mohan. Pinni, as i call her, has been someone I’ve admired from childhood – for her outspokenness and fiercely independent spirit. These peanuts are a bit like her!! 
Over to Pinni.
Our ancestors, with the family name of ‘Nemali’, hailed from Madanapalle in Andhra. Recently 3 of us siblings went to Madanapalle, chasing some ghosts as we are in the process of writing a biography of our grandfather, Nemali Pattabhi Rama Rao, erstwhile Dewan of Cochin.
That’s when it suddenly dawned on me that the spicy groundnuts that our relatives used to bring for us in big oil or biscuit ‘dabbas’ (nothing was in small quantities, those days, mind you), whenever they visited Madras, were named by us as ‘Madanapalle peanuts’ and all of us fought tooth and nail for our share, though the lion’s share was kept hidden for the elders in the family to enjoy with their evening beverage of beer or whisky.
Now, here we were, on that very same holy ground after 3 decades! We asked our young relatives about them and where could we buy them, but they were very matter-of-fact and did not seem to know what we were talking about, or where and whether they were available these days.
Sorely disappointed, we were returning to Bangalore when a small inquiry proved lucky in a small village near Chintamani and we were able to buy a half Kg for Rs.50. In Bangalore, we do find these from a shop called ‘Hurigallu’ which sells all roasted pulses as snacks, which are nutritious and oil free. Women are purposely fed these during pregnancy and lactation to step up protein intake.
If Hurigallu is not on your commute from Fremont to San Jose, you could always get down to making them yourself – please switch off the smoke detector – both in your ceiling and on your tongue!
I had a neighbour in Madras, M.C.Reddy (Madanapalle C. Reddy), and Ms Reddy kindly taught me how to make this divine preparation as I was waxing eloquent in my nostalgia, raising the humble groundnut to the skies! The method looks quite easy, you just have to try it on your own, though!
Madanepalle Palleelu (peanuts)
Raw, shelled peanuts, ½ kg should be roasted in a kadai or banali or wok – take your pick! If you are lazy like me, you can buy ½ kg of roasted peanuts. Make a paste of 2 tsp. turmeric powder (level, tsps.) 2 tsp salt, chilly powder could be 1 tsp or more, as to your taste. Apply this paste to the roasted groundnuts, as evenly as possible, you have to use your fingers as spoons don’t do a good job. Get a feel of it!
Then dry these peanuts till their face mask dries up. You can air dry under the sun, or under a fan.  Roast once again. Now this is the happy, hot, spicy moment.  I always wore a mask for my eyes and nose. The whole house can get hot and spicy. Woe unto the American POIs who try this. The fire brigade will be at your door.
Did you notice that I said,”I always WORE”?  Yes, I don’t do it any more as my husband and sons gobbled up the peanuts in a jiffy and asked for more. No sirree, I buy them now and I can serve as much as required, only the gas levels at home lift us to higher atmospheres!
One option is to mix them with rice flakes or puffed rice with chopped onion, tomato, green coriander and green chilly for more “dhum” and chat over this chat-like preparation! Happy chatting!