Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thai Cashew Snack

I have been to pretty much every Thai restaurant in the Twin Cities area.  I have also been to many Thai restaurants around the country.  My favorite Thai restaurant is Supatra's on Seventh Street in St. Paul, Minnesota.  The restaurant is light and clean.  The staff is friendly and fun.  The food is fresh, spicy, and delicious.  I cannot impress upon you enough that if you are in St. Paul and craving Thai food, go to Supatra's!

When I go out for Thai food, I always have to get an appetizer.  Supatra's has great appetizers.  Some of the best are the Spring Rolls or the Stuffed Chicken Wings.  On their appetizer menu is one very simple dish that is perfect if you want an appetizer that is not going to fill you up too much.  I am referring to their Thai Cashew Snack.

After having this dish a few times, Mike and I decided to try it at home.  The recipe is simple (although not as good as Supatra's).  All you need are a handful or two of cashews, some fresh basil, cooking oil, and sea salt.  Here's what you do:

1. Get a frying pan nice and hot on the stove.  Then pour some (about a tablespoon) cooking oil into the pan.  Don't use Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  I recently took a cooking class and learned that you should not cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  I know that everyone cooks with it, but when you heat Extra Virgin Olive Oil you cook out all of the good nutrients and actually make it worse for you than vegetable oil or canola oil.  Here's a rule of thumb, the more expensive the oil the less heat you put on it.  Rant over.

2.  Once the oil is heated, throw in your desired amount of unsalted cashews.  Normally I use a couple of handfuls for a tablespoon of oil.  Actually I use three handfuls for 1 tablespoon, but I have tiny, clown like hands.  So for regular hands it's probably 2 handfuls.

3.  After the cashews are getting nice and brown and covered in oil, sprinkle in some sea salt.  If you are using salted cashews then you can skip this step.  Do not over salt your nuts.  Normally I use about 1/2 teaspoon and then taste to see if I want to add more.  Remember you can always add, but never subtract.

4.  At the very end, take a few handfuls of fresh basil leaves and tear them into small pieces.  Throw them into the hot pan with the cashews.  Toss them around and get them coated in some of the excess oils.  You don't want to overcook the basil, but you want it to fry up a little bit.

5.  Once the basil is starting to fry, but not turning black.  Take the nuts off of the heat and serve them warm and toasty.  *If you are my husband this is where you pour cayenne pepper all over everything.  But I'd skip that step unless you need your food spicy.

This is such a simple snack to make for yourself at home.  I've tried making the nuts ahead of time and then keeping them in the refrigerator, but they don't turn out as well.  This dish is best prepared fresh and served hot.

If you want the real thing, head over to Supatra's!    

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