My colleague Carnun shared this great snack idea with me, which combines three of my favourite things! I’ve gradually refined the recipe to get these just how I like them. Be careful, they are extremely moreish!
I get a 500g bag of unroasted, unsalted cashews from the supermarket, and this recipe required roasing the cashews yourself, as I will explain shortly.
For a 500g bag of cashews, I find 2-4 heaped teaspoons of sriracha and 1 big heaping teaspoon of Marmite (or other yeast extract) works well for a light coating with gentle spiciness. I have also used an Encona hot sauce – this is spicier, so I used less of it, and thinner, which has a slight impact on the ‘finish’ of the nuts, making them more sticky – but sriracha is my favourite for this recipe because I think the higher garlic content and less vinegary flavour works better.
Combine all your sauce ingredients in a large pan (as you will be stirring the nuts in to the pan later on). You may want to use a low heat to get your yeast extract to loosen up and mix together with your hot sauce but you do not need to make the sauce mix hot otherwise, and you should turn off the heat once the sauces are incorporated.
I like my cashews heavily roasted, so I roast them on a baking tray in an fanless oven at 140°C for 40 minutes, stirring half way. By the end they are quite dark brown. This step requires a lot of experimentation and calibration for your particular oven and roasting preferences. If you check the nuts at the 20 minute mark you should be able to use your judgement and knowledge of your oven to decide how much longer to roast them for. I would not push the temperature much beyond 140°C to avoid burning.
Once the cashews are roasted, they will have a lot of residual heat. Dump all the cashews immediately (well, within 2-3 minutes) into the pan with your sauce in and start stirring the cashews and the sauce together. The heat from the cashews will cause some water to evaporate from the sauce and you will get some steam, and it’s this process of the cashews directly heating the sauce which causes the sauce to turn into a coating on the nuts, which is dry and not too sticky, allowing you to eat these with your hands.
Keep stirring and folding for several minutes to try and get as even a coating as possible. After a few minutes the cashews will be much cooler and steam will stop leaving the pan, and the nuts will be clumped together with a slightly sticky coating of the sauce. Leave the nuts to cool and the sauce will start to dry and stick the nuts together more like a nut brittle.
Once cool, break apart the nuts and transfer to a container for storage.