Life Life

15/06/2019 - 08:56

Fatty peanut buds of ivory

I call fresh tender peanut buds ‘buds of ivory’ because they are white and fat. The moment when they appear is exciting too.

Peanut bud tastes crunchy, fatty and fragrant

Peanut buds are not always available. They appear only in summer when clusters of peanut plants are uprooted. After three months and 10 days, the plants are full of seeds. One must be very lucky to find buds from peanuts accidentally left over after the harvest; (lucky for diners, not for growers). After a shower, the field looks vivid with eye-catching fresh peanut buds appearing from under the ground, which look transparent in the sun. 

It is not difficult at all to collect peanut buds. But one needs acute eyes and some care. Most fat peanut buds often hide themselves very well. Moreover, the fatter they are, the more easily they could snap.

As for big clusters of peanut plants, the best way is to pull up the whole cluster, then get rid of dirt and sand. Bigger buds are easy to find, but they are old with green leaves and taste tough. The best buds are those of some centimeters long after one night or two, fat and juicy.

Peanut buds can be stir-fried, made into soup or eaten as vegetables for hotpot. The best way is to soak them in boiling water on a big fire. In that way, peanut buds still keep their freshness and taste fatty and nutritious, suitable for summer days. 

Peanut buds can be processed into various dishes with different tastes. But the best is peanut buds fried with pork rinds. Wash peanut buds and drain them well. Sprinkle in some salt then press them in a jar with some sticks. After one night, the buds become a bit softer and ready for stir-frying.

The dish is so delicious with crunchy peanut bud, crispy and fatty pork rinds and smells good of shrimp paste and fried chives with peanut oil. Tender peanut bud tastes both sweet and a little bit sour.

Over 20 years ago, my aunt and her kids from Dak Lak came to visit us. It was the harvest time. My parents were slaving away on the field. They even could not find time to go to the market.

Luckily, I found out peanut buds hidden in the field. We uprooted and marinaded them. My Mom poured some peanut oil into a frying pan. In the twinkling of an eye, she turned peanut buds into a delicious dish, which made us consume lots of rice.

Peanut buds are delicious and nutritious but no one grows them. To eat them, we have to wait until the peanut harvest. After a shower, more peanut buds appear, and they taste better.

Like me, birds enjoy peanut buds too. They fly around to find the delicious food granted to them by heaven. In the field in the afternoon, it is so peaceful to hear sounds of birds sharing food. 

My village is still very poor. Peanut plants give us oil for cooking, peanut residue to feed plants as fertilizer and help people with some money for their living. The peanut harvest occurs on scorching days. Peanut plants bud in the sun and drops of sweat. I understand why peanut bud is so tasty despite its watery content. It is as if I heard in it the wish for a good crop.

Story and photo: Mai Hue