Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Roasted Candlenuts - YUM!! - Metta Murdaya

My friend in Jakarta grew up eating roasted candlenuts with her family and affectionately calls them the “poor man’s macadamia nut,” but just one bite easily shows it’s anything but. The beloved candlenut, with its elegant and velvety oils infused in our JUARA products, is rooted deep in Indonesian epicurean culture. This nut, used in many of the dishes including almost all Indonesian curries you may come across, is normally ground up and mixed with other spices. However, a little known fact is that it also happens to be delicious roasted whole. It has a light, nutty texture and has an almost-floral nut smell, if you can imagine that. It’s not quite as buttery as a macadamia nut, but has the most delicate crunch and is full of nutrients – a healthy, tasty treat! Can you tell, I'm so enjoying this little morsel of nutty goodness.

The recipe is simple. Take approximately ½ cup of candlenuts, about 1 tbsp of olive oil, a pinch of salt (to taste) and pan fry/sautee it until it becomes a nice golden brown – about 3 shades darker than its raw counterpart. Make sure it’s cooked all the way through!

If you’re wondering where to get candlenuts in the US – if you are lucky enough to be in a city with Asian markets - go to one that specializes in South East Asian cuisine.They’re sold raw and are inexpensive, about $2.00 for an 8oz bag, at least that’s the price in NY. There’s a market in Manhattan which carries hard-to-find ingredients for the cuisine of Thailand, Philippines, and Indonesia on Mulberry St. south of Canal, right north of the park, on the West side. (There’s NY directions for you…) I never did figure out the name of the store; only the words “Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia” adorn the awning. And in East Elmhurst, Queens in NY, the big supermarket which specializes in all of the above, and then some (Vietnamese, Chinese) is called Topline Supermarket, on 81–37 Broadway, Elmhurst, NY 11373. Definitely worth a look-see and then some.

If anyone has other locations they know of that carries this delectable staple, please comment and share the good news with others!

Beware: Do not eat a candlenut raw unless you want an upset tummy…

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