Wow – six months since my last post! Apparently full time work and a baby do not a frequent blogger make. I have been cooking continuously but time to stop and photograph my food (what a modern affectation) has been hard to find. However, these nuts were too good to keep to myself: culinary crack.
As the weather has started to cool, I can’t help dreaming of Thailand: the beautiful beaches, the fabulous weather and the amazing food. I can’t believe how long its been since I was last there. I wish I could return and I hope everyone there stays safe. In honour of my home away from home I have come up with these nuts, full of all the flavours of Thailand: chilli, kaffir lime, coconut and perfect for a sunset cocktail on a beach – or in a hammock under the waning Melbourne sun in late May.
Thai Spiced Nuts
100 grams cashews
100 grams peanuts
50 grams almonds
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut sugar*
10 kaffir lime leaves
2 birds eye chillies, finely sliced
1 large mild (green) chilli, finely sliced
1 teaspoon salt
De-vein the kaffir lime leaves, removing the stem that separates the leaf. The easiest way to do this is turn the leaf over (glossy side down) and slice it out with a sharp knife. Then finely slice 6 of the leaves and roughly chop the remaining four. Essentially, you want most of the leave sliced finely so they can be evenly distributed through the nuts, but its great to have a few larger pieces in the crisp up for big flavour bursts as well. Place in a mortar and pestle.
Finely slice all the chillies. The birds eye chillies are for heat, so if you want to keep the nuts mild reduce it to one. The larger chilli is for decorative purposes. I use a jalapeno as we grow them in our garden. Add the sliced chillies to the mortar and pestle and sprinkle on the salt. Lightly pound to release the flavours without damaging the chillies too much.
Turn the oven on to 150 degrees.
Heat the wok and add the coconut oil. Working quickly throw the cashews, peanuts and almonds into the wok and toss. Then sprinkle the coconut sugar straight on top. You need to work quickly to combine the nuts with the sugar as it melts without it burning. Using a wooden spoon, stir the nuts quickly and continuously to get them coated with the sugar while they roast. The wok will start smoking (so have your exhaust on) but as long as you keep everything moving they won’t burn. Keep this going for about 3 minutes until the sugar has melted and coated the nuts fairly evenly. Then quickly toss in the kaffir lime leaves, chillies and salt. Continue to work in the wok for about two minutes until all the ingredients have combined and the kaffir lime leaves and chillies have started to crisp.
Remove from the heat and transfer the nuts to a baking tray covered in baking paper. Place in the oven and roast on a low heat for 15 minutes. This will help crisp everything up. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
This is one of the few dishes that doesn’t taste best straight from the oven. It takes about half an hour but once they have cooled the nuts crisp up and flavours really take hold. These nuts are amazing – totally addictive. Just add a Koh Samet Cup and you’re back in Bangkok!
* Coconut sugar can be found in most health food store (I even saw it in Woolworth’s the other week) but can be substituted with caster sugar.