Boiled Peanuts, Indonesian Style

Snack on these...

I grew up in a part of the United States where the appeal of boiling up peanuts for a snack is right up there with throwing your herring in a vat of lye. You know that people have been known to do such things to perfectly harmless ingredients, but why?

However, recently I became great chummy with the folks at the National Peanut Board after my shrimp salad recipe won a nice prize. (They love that sort of thing, you know, for promotional purposes).

I had some interesting conversations about all things pea-nutty; topics covering the research, cultivation, nutrition, history and overall plain goodness of the peanut.

And then Matt and Ted Lee presented me with an autographed copy of their book, The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook. These guys know from boiled peanuts. Homesick in New York City, they started boiling peanuts in their apartment, then tried to get fancy food stores and restaurants to buy them. It took a while for the idea to catch on, but you have to credit their talent and cleverness. They're now award-winning food writers and proprietors of a mail-order company that supplies all manner of Southern foods and condiments, including boiled peanuts, of course.

I came across fresh, raw peanuts at Global Foods Market, my fabulous ethnic foods emporium, and brought them home. After leafing through my stacks of cookbooks, I riffed on an idea from Madhur Jaffrey in her book World Vegetarian (have I ever told you how much I love her recipes?)

Boiled peanuts are pretty darn good. They really taste like the legumes they are, kind of a sweetly grassy cross between water chestnuts and baby lima beans. The seasonings in this recipe permeate the shell, delicately flavoring the softened peanut with a whiff of the exotic.

Boiled Peanuts, Indonesian Style

1 pound fresh, raw peanuts in the shell
1 dried chili pepper, crumbled
1 2-inch knob fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 or 2 whole star anise

Put all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil; lower heat, cover and simmer about 1 hour, until peanuts are soft. Drain, cool and eat.

More bloggers and their delicious boiled peanuts:

Eat All Day
Algerian Cuisine by Chef Zadi

Desert Candy

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Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food


Candy said...

Ah my secret obsession! Boiled peanuts! I let myself buy a bag once a month from the guy at the service station and go to the riverwalk to stealthly (is that a word?) savor them.


lindsay said...

silly me, i thought boiled peanuts were only a thing of my childhood, courtesey of grandmere!

glad there's a larger world out there that appreciates them.

i may just have to make them for myself, now, and try your recipe! i'm sure my grandmother would approve :D

Julie said...

I found your blog through Cookie Madness. Love the Asian-inflected recipes. The shrimp salad reminds me a bit of pad thai, one of my faves. I traveled to Southeast Asia this summer, but haven't eaten enough Asian food since coming home...I miss it!

Karen said...

Hi Candy! - One of the great pleasures of living in the South, no doubt.

Lindsay, food nostalgia is such a good thing.

Hey Julie! Thanks for visiting. Someday I'd love to take an eating tour of Asia - WOW!

valentinA said...

I love boiled peanuts! But we never add any of the spices, I should try it next time!

swirlingnotions said...

Yum! I love peanuts . . . I'll most certainly be trying these.

I ran into the Peanut Board folks at a conference a couple of weekends ago and they were thrilled to hear what my daughter was going to be for Halloween . . . a peanut :-).

Great blog! I've added you to my blogroll . . .

Squishy said...

I love boiled peanuts. Everyone thinks I am mad. My Grandma used to buy them when I was little and we would munch out on them. They were always so salty and the texture was weird, but I loved them anyway. Your recipe is great.