These traditional roasted spicy peanuts are the addictive snack that typically accompanies a bia hoi drinking session in Hanoi and I’ve been obsessed with making them since we lived in the Vietnam capital four years ago.
I’ve been obsessed with making my own variations of these traditional roasted spicy peanuts at home here in Siem Reap. When we were living on Food Street in Hanoi, during a very cold winter, the aromas of traditional roasted spicy peanuts being slowly roasted that emanated from nearby shophouses was irresistible.
Cambodia has its own style of traditional roasted spicy peanuts, that often include sugar, chilli and kaffir lime leaves. They’re a little too sweet for me, but I love the chilli and kaffir lime leaves. I’m also a big fan of five spice and while I used to make my own in Australia, I’m quite happy to keep a store-bought one-kilo bag in my pantry.
It’s no coincidence that I’m posting this recipe right before Chinese New Year. The Chinese believe that peanuts symbolise vitality and prosperity and eat them unshelled at this time of year.
We love fresh, unshelled peanuts too, but this recipe is such a great party snack this is how we’ll be serving them — along with some Tsingtao beer.
Traditional Roasted Spicy Peanuts Recipe
A quick note on the recipe. Many cooks use a lot of vegetable oil, some even putting the oil in with the peanuts when the wok is cold.
That’s not a good thing. The only reason we use any oil is because the oil coming from the nuts as they cook is not enough to get the spices to ‘stick’ to the nuts. If I can get the spices to coat the nuts with less oil, I might not use all of the oil indicated in the recipe.
- 500 grams shelled raw peanuts, pink 'skins' still on
- ½ tbsp of vegetable oil
- ½ tsp sea salt, or more to taste
- ½ tablespoon of five spice powder
- ½ tsp sugar
- 2 small chillis, deseeded and chopped finely
- 6 kaffir lime leaves, centre torn out and sliced finely
- Heat a large wok over high heat.
- Add the peanuts, stir constantly and reduce the heat to medium-low after around a couple of minutes.
- Once the peanuts start to colour (after about 5 minutes), turn the heat to low.
- Keep stirring and add the oil slowly.
- Add the five spice powder, salt and the sugar and stir well.
- Add the chillis.
- The nuts are fully roasted when they are bright red. A little bit of brown is good too. Add the kaffir lime leaves.
- Remove the nuts from the wok and place on an oven tray lined with greaseproof paper and allow to cool.
- Serve with some Tsingtao beer!