Those who know me know I have a bit of a cashew problem. I eat them compulsively and can go through a large jar in an implausibly short amount of time. I like them salted and unsalted but my favourite version is lightly spiced cashews. Many commercial versions are available but none quite satisfy. They’re either too salty, too overloaded with spice, too overloaded with non-complementary flavours (garlic) or all of the above.
Luckily, it’s very easy to make spiced cashews at home and get them just how you like them. This recipe is for how I like them: just a bit of heat, a little bit of savoury tang, all allowing the cashewnewss of the cashews to come through clearly. The spices set off the cashews, the cashews are not a delivery mechanism for the spices.
- 2 cups unsalted cashews
- 1/2 tspn red chilli powder
- 1/2 tspn salt
- 3/4 tspn chaat masala (easily available in Indian groceries; I use the MDH brand)
- 1 tblspn ghee or peanut oil
- Heat the ghee/oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
- Add the cashews and stir constantly for 3-4 minutes. The cashews will start darkening almost immediately—you have to be careful not to let them burn. Don’t let the pan get too hot.
- When the cashews are more or less evenly tanned all over put them in a large bowl. Let them cool for a minute or so and then add the spices and salt and mix/toss thoroughly with a spoon to coat the cashews well.
- Pour into a smaller jar or bowl and when cooled eat with tea, beer or something harder; or, you know, just by the handful while slouched on the couch mindlessly watching tv.
- Resist the urge to make overly large batches. These are best when finished the day they’re made, and it only takes about 6 minutes and minimal effort to make them.
- As suggested above, spiced cashews are a popular drinking accompaniment in India (as they must be elsewhere too). Great with beer but also with whisky. I wouldn’t eat them alongside any sort of delicate or very complex malt but lightly salted and spiced as these are they’d go very nicely with something like the Talisker 10 or the Clynelish 14.