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Indian-Spiced Mixed Nuts

Indian-Spiced Mixed Nuts
Mixed nuts offer the most choices for your guests, but if a single nut, such as cashews, peanuts or almonds, is your favorite, roast it alone with the same spice mixture. In every case, be sure the nuts are fresh. Vacuum-packed tins labeled with expiration dates are usually good guarantees of freshness, as are nuts sold in bulk at a market with a high turnover. The nuts are roasted at a relatively low temperature to avoid burning and to give them time to absorb the fragrant spices.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups lightly salted mixed nuts
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. garam masala (see related recipe at left)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 300°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

In a bowl, toss together the nuts, butter, ginger, garam masala, cumin and cayenne until the nuts are evenly coated with the spice mixture. Spread the nuts out in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Roast the nuts, stirring 1 or 2 times, until golden and fragrant, 20 to 22 minutes. Immediately transfer the nuts to a bowl and serve warm or at room temperature.

You can also roast the nuts up to 24 hours in advance and store them, tightly covered, at room temperature. To serve them warm, spread them on a baking sheet and reheat in a 350°F oven for about 5 minutes. Serves 8.

Variations:
Chili-Spiced Nuts: Omit the ginger. Add 1 Tbs. chili powder and increase the cumin to 1 tsp.

Italian-Spiced Nuts: Substitute hazelnuts for the mixed nuts, if desired. Omit the ginger, garam masala and cumin. Add 1 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary, 1 tsp. grated lemon zest and 1/2 tsp. finely chopped garlic.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Roasting, by Rick Rodgers, Melanie Barnard & Bob & Colleen Simmons (Oxmoor House, 2004).