Spicy Cashews 16.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Dec 18, 2013

"Spicy" is an understatement. Line up your favorite refreshing beverage alongside, and watch as the heat builds after each handful. For a less potent batch, seed the peppers before you toast them.

Kaffir lime leaves are available at Indian markets and in the produce department of some Whole Foods Markets.

Make Ahead: The nuts can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 16 servings; 1 pound

  • 12 dried red Thai chili peppers (see headnote)
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves (see headnote)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 pound raw unsalted whole cashews
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the chili peppers and kaffir lime leaves on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil over them. Toast for 12 minutes or until fragrant. Cool, then transfer to a food processor; pulse until finely chopped.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a large wok or heavy skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the cashews and stir to coat. Stir-fry for 6 minutes, then add the garlic and remove from the heat. Stir (off the heat) to incorporate so the garlic cooks in the residual heat.

Add the salt, sugar and the chili pepper-kaffir lime leaf mixture, stirring until well incorporated. Cool before serving or storing.

Rate it

Recipe Source

From Haidar Karoum, executive chef-partner of 2 Birds, 1 Stone in Washington.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.