When celebrity food broadcaster and author, Simon Majumdar, spent a few days with us in April, he demo’d this recipe for Sweet + Spicy Peanuts which quickly became a crowd favorite. This dish is so inherently Southern, yet with a twist that makes our favorite crunchy bite more interesting and fresh than ever before. Plus, an added bonus is that they’re quick and easy to make and serve up Southern hospitality like a chameleon playing host to power up baseball park snacks and summer BBQ and grilling sessions paired with a local craft beer. They’ll make the perfect bite at our fall tailgate parties and holiday soirees. Trust us, you’ll find this recipe will become a go-to favorite to power every party – because afterall, it’s flavorful and full of healthy protein.
Simon’s Sweet + Spicy Peanuts
Makes approximately 2 cups of peanuts.
- 2 cups roasted, salted Southern-grown peanuts
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp hot chili powder or red chili powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp tamarind concentrate reconstituted with 1/4 cup warm water
- (optional) Fresh cilantro
- Add ground spices into deep sided pan or wok.
- Toast on low heat for 5 minutes being careful not to burn the spices.
- Add 1/4 cup of water to pan and stir with spices to form a thick paste.
- Cook for 2 minutes in gentle heat.
- Add 2 cups peanuts to spice mixture.
- Stir until all peanuts are coated with spice mix.
- Warm through on gentle heat.
- Finally, pour tamarind mixture over peanuts and toss until all peanuts are coated.
- Pour onto serving platter and garnish with roughly chopped cilantro for a beautiful presentation.
In his demonstration, Simon encouraged cooks not to store opened spices for too long. And he reminded that the true aromas and flavors of the spices emerge best when heated slightly, as done in this recipe.
Note that this recipe engages a balance of flavors – sweet, heat, sour and salty. Sugar provides sweetness, spices provide a blend of heat, with the peanuts themselves providing a mild sweetness and saltiness. The tamarind provides a pleasant sourness to round out the dish perfectly. Simon encourages cooks to seek a well-balanced blend of these four sensory experiences in their dishes for an ideal outcome.
Finally, Simon repeatedly praised his Southern friends for our love of “heat” in our food, while also reminding us that the word “spicy” doesn’t mean “hot.” It means “full of flavor.” And we say that’s a definition of “spicy” we can all appreciate!
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