Sunday, 8 July 2012

Peanut milk

This drink was such a discovery for me. Also I did not find too many reliable internet resources for peanut milk. The method to make any nut milk is actually very similar and Keralites will be instantly able to associate this with coconut milk extraction. 
Those unaware so far about it, please note peanut milk is not peanut milkshake. It contains no milk at all just like peanut butter contains no butter. It is the butter "of peanuts" and likewise the milk of peanuts. 
A disclaimer before we get started, the taste of raw peanuts is an acquired one. So, when you taste this for the first time, be prepared to be surprised; pleasantly or otherwise. I personally find the taste wonderful and see the entire concept of peanut milk and nut milk in general as a starting point for many other dishes. So if you like the drink, look forward to other posts in the future that use peanut milk as an ingredient.

The ingredients are very basic, it is the procedure that is a little laborious. For about a liter of peanut milk you will need
- 50 to 75gms of raw Peanuts.
- A stick of Cinnamon
- 2-3 Tablespoons Sugar
- 1L water
- Medium-large sized fine metal strainer. A smaller strainer will make the process more laborious and a plastic sieve will make it messy. So buy a metal sieve if you plan to make this often.
- Two one liter pots.

The proportion of water to peanuts is really variable. You can adjust water or peanuts up or down to your desirable thickness. The above proportions don't yield a thick and creamy consistency. It is a light drink. Usually the proportion suggested are 1cup of peanuts to 8 cups of water. This one is a little thicker than that.

Getting started.
In a pot boil the water with the cinnamon stick and sugar. Let it simmer for a minute or two until it has turned a very mild brown from the cinnamon. You will also be able to smell the cinnamon in the steam. Take it off the heat and add the raw peanuts. Let it cool down completely to room temperature. I left it overnight to make the milk in the morning.
Once cool, transfer the water (which would be red now, if you had left it overnight) into the other pot and add the peanuts into a jar of a blender. Rinse out the first pot. Add some of the cinnamon water into the blender, until a little above the level of the peanuts and blend for 5-10 seconds. Strain the contents of the blender into the first pot (that you rinsed). The mixture will be thick, you need to stir with a spoon and press with the back of the spoon to squeeze out the milk.
Return the contents of the strainer to the blender, add more of the cinnamon water, blend and strain again. Repeat the cycle till you have used up all the cinnamon water. You can discard what is left in the strainer into your compost pile. If you feel bad that you are wasting peanuts, just taste it. It will taste of absolutely nothing. That's right, the peanuts have been "milked" of all their taste and goodness.
Peanut milk is ready.
A few notes about peanut milk:
-Use it at room temperature or chilled. Heating or boiling it ruins the flavour, unless using as a cooking medium, which I definitely plan to do.
-Drink as such or even try adding it to coffee. It was lovely. Avoid trying to make the south Indian full milk coffee with this. It is for adding a dash of milk to black coffee, caffe macchiato if you will.
-Try varying the spice- I plan to try it with cloves, nutmeg and cardamom.
- Remember the disclaimer about the acquired taste :)

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