Mention Spicy Nuts to anyone who’s listened to Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales’ excellent podcast Chat 10 Looks 3 (which I’ve raved about here), and they’ll totally get you. A wonderfully simple recipe passed down from Annabel’s mother (who has the good fortune of possessing the rather fabulous name Christobel Crabb), its genius lies in an excellent spice mix and two unexpected key ingredients – egg whites, which coat the nuts and give them a lovely crunch once baked, and good old fashioned curry powder.
My partner’s sister Alex made up a batch of these on Christmas Day and they were a huge hit – wonderful to graze on while the more substantial lunchtime fare was being prepared, and making the whole house smell amazingly spicy and festive to boot.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius and line 3 baking trays with baking paper.
Whisk an egg white in a large bowl until soft peaks form, then pour in 850g of mixed nuts (I like a combination of cashew, almond, walnut, and hazelnut) and stir until they’re all coated in the egg white.
Measure out 1 teaspoon of curry powder, 1/2 a teaspoon each of ground cumin, ground cinnamon, and cayenne pepper, a pinch of ground cloves, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of ground pepper and 1/4 cup of sugar (Annabel suggests caster but as I was fresh out, I used brown sugar and it worked out fine). Tip the spice mix into the bowl and stir, ensuring all the nuts are coated in the spices.
Evenly distribute the nuts across the baking trays, ensuring they’re in a single layer and not too overcrowded (“a crowded nut is a soggy nut”, after all). Bake for 15 minutes or until pleasantly golden, then let cool devouring.
Recipe adapted from Special Delivery: Favourite Food To Make and Take by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe.