Saturday, June 19, 2010

Five Spice Peanuts and Cardamom Pecans

When I was a child, my mother made Five Spice Peanuts for me a couple of times. I adored them, perhaps a little too much. (Did I ever mention I was a chubby child?) Mom and I have both been downsizing from big houses; the work included going through acres of cookbooks to decide which to keep and which to pass along to other relatives or Goodwill. I found the recipe for Five Spice Peanuts and was shocked by the instructions to soak raw peanuts in boiling water with a cup each of salt and sugar for ten minutes! Peanuts are legumes and need soaking to become digestible; but a much smaller amount of sugar and salt can be used if soaking time is increased. The next recipe includes raw pecans, which are soaked in cool water and dried gently to deactivate enzyme inhibitors and enzymes are preserved to aid in digestion. After trying these recipes, you may wish to try other spices, such as garlic, cayenne and ginger.

Five Spice Peanuts: Boil 3 c. water with 2 tbsp. salt, 2 tbsp. sugar. Stir until dissolved. Add 3 c. raw peanuts, turn down heat, simmer 20 minutes, stir a few times while allowing to cool in the liquid. Drain thoroughly, then mix in 2 tbsp. agave, a dash of salt, 1 tbsp. peanut or sesame oil and 1 tsp. five spice powder. Spread on baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees, stirring after each 20 minutes until the nuts are completely dry in about an hour. Let them cool completely to restore their crunch before eating.

Cardamom Pecans: Soak 2 c. raw pecans (you can lower the cost by making them half sunflower seeds if you like) in water about 8 hours. Drain thoroughly. Mix with 2 tbsp. agave, a pinch of salt, ½ tsp. cinnamon and ½ tsp. cardamom. Spread on cookie sheet and dry at 100 degrees for several hours, stirring once or twice.

I use raw lucuma powder, which is not available in stores around here, to help the seasonings stick to the nuts.  I have not yet tried raw carob, but imagine it would be a lovely substitute. 

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