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Curried Nuts and Raisins

Brands of curry powder are as distinctively different from one another as chili powders. Choose one that suits your palate and the dish you are preparing. For best results in this recipe, select a reddish brown type, with a mellow fragrance and a medium heat level. A bright yellow curry, heavy with turmeric flavor, would overpower the dish.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3⁄4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1⁄2 tsp. salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp. sugar
  • 1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
  • 1⁄4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1⁄8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 1⁄2 cups salted roasted cashews
  • 2⁄3 cup salted roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1⁄4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions:

Position a rack in the upper third of an oven and preheat to 375°F. Lightly but evenly coat a shallow baking pan with vegetable oil.

In a small bowl, mix together the curry powder, black pepper, ginger, salt, sugar, white pepper, cayenne and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until blended but not foamy. Add the cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds and stir to coat them evenly. Immediately sprinkle the spice mixture over the nuts, stirring to coat evenly.

Spread the nut mixture in an even layer in the prepared pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Stir the nuts to break up any clumps. Continue to bake, stirring once or twice, until the nuts are crisp, dry and fragrant, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the nuts cool completely.

Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours to develop the flavors. Stir the raisins into the nuts just before serving. Serves 8 to 10.

Make-Ahead Tip: The nuts must be made 24 hours ahead of serving and can be prepared up to 3 days in advance (or even a day or 2 longer in dry weather). If they get a little soft, reheat them on a baking sheet in a preheated 300°F oven until crisp, about 10 minutes. Add the raisins at the last minute or their moisture will make the nuts soggy.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Thanksgiving, by Michael McLaughlin (Simon & Schuster, 2001).