Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Every once in a while, my family makes boiled peanuts for snacking. We don't do much, boil fresh peanuts until they soften, then lightly salt them. I thought it was just a Vietnamese thing until my freshman year of college. It was spring break and I was driving down to Mississippi with a group of other volunteers to build houses for Habitat for Humanity. We stopped off at a gas station and inside they sold boiled peanuts. Who knew it was a Southern American thing too?
Here's one of the funny things about the differences between Vietnamese dialects. For Southerners, peanuts are called dau phong. Northerners call peanuts cu lac. Well, lac is also the word for lost. "Lac duong" = lost your way. But you can't say "dau phong duong" = peanut your way? Heh. OK, bad joke. Only other Vietnamese would get that.
Shelled boiled peanuts are also used in Chinese cooking for an appetizer with celery and tofu like at Luscious Dumplings Inc. - San Gabriel or to steam with poultry like at Seafood Village - Temple City.
Raw peanuts, not the roasted and salted kind found in stores, come into season in the fall. I found mine at the Farmers' Market - Alhambra for $1 or so a pound? Did you know there's a technique to picking raw peanuts? While I was trying to figure out what to put in my bag, another lady was squeezing each one. She told me to make sure that you could feel the peanut inside its shell, otherwise it's either too small or hadn't formed yet.
And oops, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product so what you see above are raw peanuts.
Dau Phong/Cu Lac Luoc (Vietnamese Boiled Peanuts)
As many raw peanuts as you'd like
Salt, to taste
Lightly wash the peanuts and scrub if they're particularly muddy. Add peanuts to a pot, fill with water until the peanuts are covered. Add about 2 tsp of salt per pound of peanuts. Bring to a boil and turn heat down to medium-low and let simmer for at least half an hour. Eat a peanut and check to see if it's softened to your liking. If not, just keep simmering. An hour's simmer time is perfectly acceptable.
Serve warm or cold. Think of them as the Vietnamese version of edamame.
My other Southern American recipes:
Fried Green Tomatoes
Okra and Tomatoes
Southern Fried Chicken with Cream Gravy and Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes
1 year ago today, sour cream apple pie.