Hey folks, happy sunday! Today, I’d like to share with you all a new recipe from my buddy, PixelTea. But, unlike his last, it is in no way themed around the Super Smash Bros. Series.
This sweet and savoury, sriracha-candied cashew recipe comes to us courtesy of his community discord server. And, more specifically, his “quarantine cooking” section, meant for sharing simple, lockdown-friendly creations featuring readily available and long life ingredients.
Which is probably why today’s deliciously dark nuts focus so heavily on their fermented, asian flavour.
A flavour which doesn’t let slip their simplicity in the slightest and is simply too good not to pass on to you readers.
Before we get to the quick and easy recipe of the day, though, I’d like to take a moment to talk about my own little tweaks – The specific sriracha and honey that I used.
I used more sriracha than Pixel, by about two tablespoons, because I really wanted to taste its fermented chilli and garlic in the finished nuts. And I used Sauce Shop’s version, rather than the standard Huy Fong, because they actually ferment their sauce properly, rather than faking it with MSG and an air-free ageing of the chillies – Which may or may not do anything, at all.
There’s no reason that Huy Fong, Flying Goose or any other international brand won’t do the job but, personally, I felt like Sauce Shop’s more genuine fermentation would provide a better base for what I made. And I think I was right on that.
Then, for my second change, I used chestnut honey – A honey with a taste unlike almost any other.
To me, there are three flavours of honey: Golden, like most of your supermarket fare, with those light brown sugar notes, akin to golden syrup. Floral, in which you can taste some of the flower from which the honey was made, usually found in woodland and orange blossom varieties. And dark, like your mexican or birch tree honey. Chestnut honey is the third, taken to the absolute extreme.
It’s got a richness, a gentle woodiness and a clear hint of cough syrup but, above all, it’s dark, like treacle. So dark, in fact, that it even becomes a little bitter, despite its sweetness.
If you’ve never had dark honey before, you might not want to make chestnut your first but, as an ingredient to today’s mildly spicy snack, there’s no better sort.
Here’s the full set of ingredients:
400g cashew nuts
60g brown sugar
5 tablespoons sriracha
3 tablespoons honey (preferrably chestnut or another dark variety)
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
A dash of cinnamon
And a dash of ginger
And, well, the assembly is waaaaay too easy!
All you have to do is mix the non-nut ingredients in a large bowl, mix in the cashews, to evenly coat them, and then spread the lot out onto a lined baking tray, like so:
Sprinkle with salt, if you so desire, and then pop the nuts into a 180°C oven for fifteen to twenty minutes.
Then they should come out looking something like this:
A dark, sticky and oh so enticing little mess, fit to eat as soon as they cool.
They definitely aren’t the strongest thing in the world, with their mild
on the tongue and in the throat, but even that tiny tingle adds a nice extra dimension to the rich, dark and syrupy blend of sweet and savoury in every mouthful.
A taste which strikes me as overwhelmingly chinese and which certainly wouldn’t seem out of place in my kung po, yet is far too good on its own to do anything else with. I’m just munching them down by the handful.
And no, the sriracha isn’t the main flavour that I’d thought it would be. Just like the heat, most of it has cooked off but the little fermented chilli and now-roasted garlic that remains adds a lot of depth to the sticky glaze.
It was definitely worth including, just as these nuts were worth far more than the tiny amount of time that they took to cook. You’d definitely be doing yourself a favour by giving them a go.
And, while you’re at it, why not check out PixelTea’s Gourmet Smash Ultimate project (linked in my sidebar), for even more of his recipes?
These are, as you say, dangerously delicious. If it was possible to keep them, rather than munching on yet another handful every time I see them, they would be perfect for throwing in at the end of a stir-fry.