Meet 4 lesser-known nuts

Diwali must have flooded your kitchen drawers with sweets, dry fruits and nuts. Check the nut boxes, is it cashewnuts, raisins, pistachios, walnuts and almonds only? Here’s something different you could gift this season. Whether it is sweet-flavoured hazelnuts or the rich-textured pine nuts, they are rich in taste and health.. B complex vitamins, minerals, magnesium, potassium and more.

Hazelnuts – Grown in Europe and United States, hazelnuts or filberts can be bought dried, whole, shelled and ground. They are sweet-flavoured nuts and can be eaten raw but tastes best when toasted. The nuts and its oil can be used to add richness to cakes, cookies, chocolates and pies. Take them down to the savoury path, and they’ll give you lip-smacking dips! Grind them fine and mix with flour to make meringues. Packed with numerous vitamins, healthy fats, proteins and fiber, these nuts can boost energy, metabolism and cardiovascular health. Salads look wonderful when crushed hazelnuts are sprinkled on the top and of course who doesn’t like hazelnut-flavoured coffee!? Try brown rice pilaf with hazelnuts – they naturally balance the nutty-flavoured brown rice. Or go for chocolate and crushed hazelnuts laddoo.

Pine nuts – No doubt, we all love pine nuts for the richness they lend to Italian pesto. The reason why they are an absolute versatile kitchen treasure is its buttery, rich flavour and amazing texture. Also, it makes for  a lovely snack when roasted and salted. Besides having a unique flavour, they are a rich source of Vitamin A and C, which helps boost vision and immunity. Before hitting the gym, have a handful of these nuts and they are said to aid your weight loss program and build stronger bones as well. Traditionally used in the Middle Eastern sauce – tarator, in which toasted pine nuts are combined with bread, milk and olive oil to give a thick and creamy delicious paste. They can also be used to thicken sauces and added to cookies. Or you can make pan fried gnocchi with broccoli pesto to get the most of this wonder nut. Make a quick pan sauce of these nuts, by sautéing them with basil puree and spread them on the mashed potatoes or cooked fish. You will simply love its crunchy texture and buttery richness.

Pecan nuts – Native to America, pecans belong to the hickory family and are a cousin to the hazelnut and walnut. However, they are being cultivated in many parts of the world today. Though it looks like an elongated version of walnuts, pecans have a sweeter and milder flavour. Known best for heart health, pecans are great antioxidants and help in controlling blood pressure. All-American pecan pie is no doubt a tasty dessert. However, you can create a whole lot of dishes with these delicious nuts. Sprinkle sliced pecans over cereal or oatmeal. Crush different nuts like toasted walnuts, hazelnuts and pecan nuts and keep in an airtight container to sprinkle over chilled yogurt and different fruits. Or try rich pecan nuts halwa, to indulge your sweet tooth.

Macadamia nuts – Considered as the world’s premium quality nuts, macadamia are round and small in shape and are also known as buttery flavoured nuts. Although Australia is the largest producer of these nuts, they are grown in the tropical climates of New Zealand, South Africa, Kenya and Indonesia. Their versatility is in its subtle flavour and crispy texture. Thus, making them a delight to eat. Whether you want to make them spicy, or make rich cakes or flavourful biscuits, macadamias should be considered adding. Since macadamia and coconut make a perfect partner, you can try a variety of desserts like coconut macadamia bars or biscotti.
How to get more of nuts in your day-to-day diet?

Besides, adding these nuts to dessert recipes, you can also try various other methods. Have them soaked to boost the nutrients. No doubt, the roasted nuts are a perfect snack on the go! You can also sprinkle them on any of your favorite dishes or simply add a handful of ground powder to your chapatti dough to get the most of these wonder ingredients. Besides, add them to yogurt and they are sure to enhance the flavour! Lots to do, so keep calm and don’t go nuts!

For more recipes on the above nuts, browse

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.