Another year unfolds. Another step forward.
One year went by… layers of experience, myriad emotions brushed on us. With every growing year, I am becoming more and more attentive, trying to savor every moment of my life with family. As if time is running out. Time is indeed running out. Again this is another reason why I have not been able to keep up with posting in the blog last year. I have not been good with the blog, but personally I have had to reduce all social media and frequent posting here. One would think a parent would need to devote less time to the children as they grow older (or maybe it was just me who thought that!). Not true. The emotional need takes over the physical needs. It seems like I have to be here for them more and more. I do not want to miss out of these years of their life. The precious years called “childhood”.
I have no stories today. The time we spent during these last two weeks of the year were warm, relaxed and fun. I don’t think I have enough words to recount the beautiful time we had together during our winter break. We did a lot of baking, and cooking, especially with T. School lunches for teachers, treats for parties and gift giving and just for fun. The rest of the time we pretty much did nothing which actually turned out to mean a lot than a scheduled and structured day.
One cold evening we heard the doorbell. Out there standing were four little kids. T’s friend and her siblings. They came like little elves carrying a bag of gift for T. The spirit of the holidays! Inside was a warm plush blanket, a sweet friendship note and a bag of nuts…
Sugar coated pecans with a slight hint of salt. One bite and I knew I need to know how to make it. I messaged her mom and she sent me a recipe which said “Chinese Fried Nuts”. Then out of curiosity I started looking for other recipes online and maybe a little reason to why they are called Chinese Fried Nuts”. I am not sure if the origin of this recipe is really in China and then modified. Whoever did this the first time, had truly indulgent tastes and I am thankful.
The nuts are crunchy on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside. They might look like roasted nuts, but they are quite different. And addictive. We have made a few sets. The first one was with walnuts. While they were delicious, I prefer the pecans, mostly because the strong and oily taste of the walnuts persists, overpowering taste of the final product. But there could be other views. The pecans turned out to be just perfect for us.
Here is the recipe adapted from the recipe that I got. I have followed the process and not the measurements and carefully kept in mind her suggestion that I have to watch while frying…to watch that they do not get overdone. The first time I used a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil to start off and then adjusted the temperature as needed. I am sure after the first time, it will be easy to get the right texture of the nuts.
A little help goes a long way here. T helped a lot while a made these. The nuts need to be separated out immediately after they get done and she helped me with spreading out the nuts and sprinkling the salt, while I could carry on with the frying without interruption.
Chinese Fried Nuts
Ingredients: (makes two cups)
- 2 cups (250 ml cup by volume) pecans or walnuts
- 5 cups of water
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoon sugar (or adjust to taste)
- Oil (like Canola or any salad oil) to deep fry
- a little less than 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
*If you wish to use any other spices or flavoring (like cinnamon), add it right after the nuts are fried with adding the salt.
Other things that you will need:
- Two strainers or colanders
- a large bowl
- paper towels or parchment paper (preferred) to separate the nuts after they are done
In a large container bring the water to a boil. Add the nuts and boil them for about 2-3 minutes. Keep the colander or strainer ready. You will see the nuts turning a lighter shade and the water will get frothy. Drain the nuts and give them a quick wash with hot or warm water. Drain again and quickly transfer the nuts in a large bowl.
Add the sugar to the nuts. Toss or cover the bowl with a plate and shake for the sugar to coat all the nuts evenly.
Heat oil. I would suggest using a candy thermometer (at least for the first time). Make sure the oil is about 350F. (you may fry all the nuts at one time. But make sure the wok is big enough and there is enough oil to deep fry. I prefer to fry in batches as the amount of oil I need is less. It also makes it easier for me to remove them from oil quickly once the are done. The oil, after frying cannot be reused).
Add the nuts (in batches or all at one time, your preference). Be careful!! The oil is hot and the nuts are wet and sugar coated. There will a big sizzle and oil might splatter. Cook the nuts, while tossing them and turning them over frequently, until they are brown (probably a little darker than the raw nuts before they were boiled). If they are dark brown they are overcooked and will not taste as good. The cooking time should not take more than 3-5 minutes (less if smaller amounts). If you see the nuts turning dark too quick, reduce the temperature of the oil. You will need to adjust and experiment the first time and then you will get used to it.
Once done strain out from the oil, place them on a colander briefly to drain the extra oil and then place them on the parchment paper. We had placed the parchment paper on a cooling rack. Separate the nuts quickly as they will stick. Sprinkle a little salt and let it cool completely. They will be still soft to taste when hot, but will get crunchy as it cools.
They are completely done when cooled on the parchment paper.
Store in airtight containersafter completely cooled. They make wonderful snacks and wonderful gifts!
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Difficulty Level: Very Easy
Makes: two cups of fried nuts
**Recipe adapted from a friend’s family recipe.
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