Monday, June 7, 2010
Nuts about ... nuts
It's really quite amazing what some of my friends and family are doing to gear up for the World Cup this Friday. Buying jerseys to support their favourite teams, placing bets and even purchasing High Definition TV sets -- World Cup fever is definitely here and temperatures are high. Now, since the TV is going to be everyone's best friend for the next month or so there is one other thing to prepare: snacks to eat while watching the games. I'm a TV snacker so this is of prime importance for me.
It is in this vein that we decided to devote this months Don't Call Me Chef (a monthly column I write with Marty Thyme and The Hungry Caterpillar in The Star) on munchies for the World Cup. Over the last couple of weeks I've been preparing my repertoire. For the column, I made yummy cheese straws: they're addictive, let me warn you. I also made sweet potato home fries, onion rings, breaded mozzarella sticks and breaded tempe sticks (an alternative for vegans) for this blog.
Today I decided to bake some nuts. Regular nuts are great but I also like coated nuts, the spicier the better.
You need raw, skinned peanuts and a batter to coat them in. For the batter, I mixed plain flour, 5 spice mix, salt, pepper and sugar. To bind the nuts with the batter, I used an egg with some minced garlic. First, beat the egg with the garlic (3 cloves). Pour the egg over the nuts (300 gms) in a bowl and mix. Whisk together the flour (75 gms), 5 spice powder (1/2 tbsp), salt (1tsp) and sugar (1.5 tbsp). Add the dry ingredients to the egg coated nuts and mix well. Though I usually use my hands to mix my ingredients, I recommend using a spoon as the batter gets sticky making it a little bit tricky mixing everything together.
Now you can either fry the nuts or bake them. Both ways are good but I opted for the oven as it was a slightly healthier option. Heat the oven at 180C for about 10 mins. Spread the nuts on a greased baking sheet and slide the tray onto the middle rack. Bake for 10 or 15 minutes, remove tray, toss the nuts and put it back in for another 5-10 mins. Remove when the nuts turn golden and crispy. If you prefer frying, heat a saucepan with oil. When the oil is hot, spoon the nuts (a little at a time) into the oil and fry till golden. You will have to turn them midway. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain oil on a paper towel.
You can season the batter with a host of other spices. Chilli powder or curry powder work too. If you like the coconut cream coated nuts, you can substitute half the egg with thick coconut milk. The thing to remember is not to add too much egg/coconut cream as the batter has to be sticky and stick to the nuts. If you accidentally add to much liquid, just add on a spoonful or so of flour.
That's it. Takes just about 25 minutes to make and 300 gms should see you through one match.