Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Peanut Biscotti (Jugu Cake)

This is a recipe from my father’s childhood. It comes from the Nanwalla Mithai shop, a store that sold Indian sweets in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The shop was owned by members of the Bohra community, an Indian Muslim immigrant community that had settled in East Africa. Jugu cake is similar to Italian biscotti, except that it is not double-baked.

Jugu is the Swahili word for peanut. Contrary to popular belief, peanuts are legumes and are not technically nuts. They are native to South and Central America and were domesticated in Peru almost 8,000 years old. The cultivation of peanuts spread through European colonialism. The Portuguese were responsible for introducing them to China and Africa, and they were brought to the United States through African slaves. Dothan, Alabama is responsible for fifty percent of all peanuts grown in the United States.

In addition to consumption of whole peanuts, they are commonly processed into peanut butter and peanut oil. Peanut meats or shells are also used in the production of paint, insecticide, furniture polish, plastic, cellulose, glue, animal feed and fertilizer.

Makes 5 dozen

2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil (canola or corn)
1 1/2 cups milk
3 3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 cups shelled, unsalted peanuts, finely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
2. In a medium bowl beat one egg, vanilla extract, oil and milk. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and peanuts. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and form a dough.
3. Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll each into a 10 to 12-inch log. Place the logs on greased cookie sheets and flatten them so they are approximately 2 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. [see the above photo]
4. Beat the other egg and brush it along each flattened log. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown.
5. Cool for 5 minutes, and with a sharp knife cut the baked logs at a 60-degree angle into 1 1/2 inch wide cookies. Cool to room temperature and serve with tea or coffee. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.


kabhi_Khushi_Kabhi_Gham said...

Checking through my Ismaili Mail emails, I almost fell of my chair when I looked at the Ismaili Recipes. The Jugu Cake and Chicken Biryani (Ismaili style) are exactly the two receipes I've been looking for! My sister-in-law in Toronto sent these on to me once, but because of computer crash a few months ago I lost all the receipes and didn't want to ask her again. So this is just brilliant. You can imagine what we'll be eating this weekend!

Anonymous said...

Ooh, a Bohra dish! Yay for my peeps! :)


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Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I love peanuts and biscotti, so this recipe has captured all my attention! They look wonderful! Thanks for sharing this gorgeous recipe with us!



Jzigbe said...

I used to love those Jugu cakes from that Nanwalla shop!
It was right behind the town JamatKhana.


Sheina Ishani said...

A great site! from one Ismaili to another - A fantastic job!!!!
For more recipes and tips to a healthy lifestyle, visit my blog at

M.S. said...

I fliped off my chair as have been looking for these yummies authentic recipes for years. Thanx million nd will try this and see if they come out like in ur pix😊. Thanx once again.