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Fried Walnuts

Fried Walnuts

These walnuts are so wonderfully crunchy with a little sweet, a little salty and kissed with a bit of spice. Irresistible!

This recipe has been on my list of “things to try” for years. I kept passing it by, wondering how good could these really be. Turns out they’re really good and something I should have tried these years ago.

I love virtually every type of nut but tend to cook with pecans more than any other. This past holiday season I was gifted with two beautiful bags of nuts from a dear friend, one full of gorgeous walnuts. This led me back to the fried walnut recipe. It’s a simple recipe with minimal ingredients. Walnuts tossed with sugar, Chinese five-spice powder and kosher salt.

Chinese five-spice – made with cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise, and Szechuan peppercorns – brings a subtle layer that lingers on the palate. Many recipes for fried walnuts only use sugar and salt. But I love the addition of the five-spice, it gently deepens the natural earthy flavor of the walnuts.

Rereading the various recipes for fried walnuts I wondered why – or if – it was even necessary to fry the walnuts. Could I roast them instead? But after one bite, the unbelievable crunch that comes from frying was proof enough. You can’t get a nut this crispy and crunchy from roasting.

There are a few kitchen tools that are handy to have on hand before you start. A wide, shallow stockpot is the perfect vessel for boiling the nuts and a colander works best to drain them. You’ll want two metal or heatproof mixing bowls – one large bowl to toss the boiled walnuts with the sugar and five-spice plus another to set underneath a sieve to drain the walnuts once they’re fried. A rimmed baking sheet works for spreading out the fried walnuts while they’re salted and cooling. A digital thermometer is also convenient to keep an eye on the temperature of your oil while you’re frying the nuts.

I don’t fry many foods these days but these walnuts are a delicious exception I’m willing to make!

Fried Walnuts

8 to 10 cups water

4 cups walnut halves

½ cup sugar

¾ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

4 to 5 cups vegetable or canola oil

½ to 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Bring the water to boil in a shallow stockpot. Add the walnuts and boil for 1 minute.

Pour the water and walnuts into a colander. Rinse the nuts with very hot water, shake the water out and rinse with hot water again. If you have an electric teakettle, it works great for getting water really hot to rinse the walnuts. You want the walnuts still warm to help dissolve the sugar. After rinsing, shake off as much water as possible.

Pour ¼ cup of the sugar into the bottom of a large mixing bowl, toss in the drained walnuts and add the remaining ¼ cup sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the walnuts are coated.

Sprinkle on the five-spice powder and stir to blend into the nuts.

Before you begin to fry the walnuts, set a large sieve over a metal bowl to drain the walnuts. (Don’t lay them out on a paper towel to drain after frying. With the sugary coating the paper towels will stick to the walnuts.)

Pour the oil into a deep saucepan until it is about 4” deep. Heat the oil over medium until it reaches 350-degrees. Working in batches, add about 1 to 1-1/2 cups of the walnuts to the hot oil. Be careful, the oil has a tendency to foam up and spatter when the nuts are added.

Fry the walnuts for about 2 to 3 minutes until the walnuts are crisp and golden brown.

Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the fried walnuts to the sieve to drain. Let the oil come back to temperature then add another batch of nuts. Drain each batch of the walnuts then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.

When you’re finished frying, sprinkle the kosher salt over the fried walnuts. Store in a sealed container for up to a week or bag and freeze.

Makes 4 cups of fried walnuts.

Fried Walnuts, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

February 20, 2019
: Makes 4 cups.

These walnuts are so wonderfully crunchy with a little sweet, a little salty and kissed with a bit of spice. Irresistible!

By:

Ingredients
  • 8 to 10 cups water
  • 4 cups walnut halves
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 4 to 5 cups vegetable or canola oil
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Directions
  • Step 1 Bring the water to boil in a shallow stockpot. Add the walnuts and boil for 1 minute.
  • Step 2 Pour the water and walnuts into a colander. Rinse the nuts with very hot water, shake the water out and rinse with hot water again. If you have an electric teakettle, it works great for getting really hot water to rinse the walnuts. You want the walnuts still warm to help dissolve the sugar. After rinsing, shake off as much water as possible.
  • Step 3 Pour ¼ cup of the sugar into the bottom of a large mixing bowl, toss in the drained walnuts and add the remaining ¼ cup sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the walnuts are coated.
  • Step 4 Sprinkle on the five-spice powder and stir to blend into the nuts.
  • Step 5 Before you begin to fry the walnuts, set a large sieve over a metal bowl to drain the walnuts. (Don’t lay them out on a paper towel to drain after frying. With the sugary coating the paper towels will stick to the walnuts.)
  • Step 6 Pour the oil into a deep saucepan until it is about 4” deep. Heat the oil over medium until it reaches 350-degrees.
  • Step 7 Working in batches, add about 1 to 1-1/2 cups of the walnuts to the hot oil. Be careful, the oil has a tendency to foam up and spatter when the nuts are added.
  • Step 8 Fry the walnuts for about 2 to 3 minutes until the walnuts are crisp and golden brown.
  • Step 9 Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer the fried walnuts to the sieve to drain.
  • Step 10 Let the oil come back to temperature then add another batch of nuts.
  • Step 11 Drain each batch of the walnuts then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Step 12 When you’re finished frying, sprinkle the kosher salt over the fried walnuts.
  • Step 13 Store in a sealed container for up to a week or bag and freeze.


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