Thursday, 17 September 2009
Ever wonder how to dry roast cashews with a wok and tastes exactly like what you get in a tin or packet ready roasted from the store? The secret ingredient is salt. Yes salt and lots of it too. I learnt this from my mum many years ago and now passing this recipe to anyone who is interested. This method of dry roasting is far better than any oven roasting or deep frying. Before mum knew how to use salt, preparing cashew involved blanching the nuts first, drying then deep frying and the result IMO wasn't that brilliant for all that work.
Why salt? Salt is a very good heat transfer medium and evenly roasting the nuts to perfection while slightly salting them too. I promised the nuts roasted this way will not be too salty. The most important thing to remember is not to wash or dampen them before dry roasting or they will be encrusted with salt leading you cursing at me for inedible nuts.
Now what salt and how much is needed? The salt has to be free flowing cheap cooking salt, not fancy salt, rock salt or unrefined sea salt. For around 500g of raw cashews you need about 700 - 750g of salt.
Now how to do it. It's simple really all you need is tip the salt into a wok or large saute pan (must be spotlessly clean and no grease), heat and stir at medium heat for about 2 minutes then turn the heat down to medium low then tip in the nuts. Keep stirring and the salt will become very hot. The nuts will be perfectly browned (medium brown) in about 15 - 18 minutes. Then tip the lot into a colander with bowl underneath like picture below. Shake or stir with a large spoon, every single loose grain of salt will be removed.
*This salt can be re-used again and again till it becomes too dirty or smell rancid (from the residue nut bits) if kept for too long.
That's it, job done. Leave the nuts to cool then time to enjoy munching and maybe with a beer or two. Mmm.... yum. Guess what am I munching now.......
** If you fancy flavoured nuts you can add chopped rosemary or some five spice powder to the salt. The salt may not be that great for reuse, but hey salt is dirt cheap anyway.