Mongolian Fried Peanuts
- 1/2 pound (1 1/2 cups) raw, red-skinned peanuts
- 1 heaping tbsp Szechwan brown peppercorns
- 1 heaping tbsp star anise
- 1 heaping tbsp coarse salt
- 1/2 tsp water
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 3 to 4 cups fresh corn or peanut oil
Seasoning The Nuts:
Combine peppercorns, anise, salt, sugar and water in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stir, then reduce heat to maintain steady simmer.
Cover pot tightly, simmer 5 minutes, then add the peanuts. Stir to combine, replace cover and cook 5 minutes more.
Turn off heat and let peanuts steep in covered pot for 10-12 hours.
Roasting The Nuts:
Drain nuts in a colander, pat dry. Spread in a large jelly-roll pan, lined with triple thickness of paper towels. Discard anise.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, shaking tray occasionally.
Rotate tray. Reduce heat to 300. Check at 10-15 minute intervals until nuts are almost entirely dry with a touch of moisture at the center. Remove from oven. Put in bowl to cool. (Nuts can be fried immediately, or left overnight. If you like them roasted, eat them now while warm.)
Frying The Nuts:
Have ready a tray lined with a double thickness of paper towels, a Chinese mesh spoon or metal strainer, large absorbent food-grade brown paper, and about 1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt. Heat a wok or deep skillet over moderate heat until hot.
Add oil, and heat to slow-fry stage, 275 degrees.
Reduce heat to low, then add peanuts to oil. They will hardly bubble. Fry 4-7 minutes until golden brown, stirring constantly and slowly. Do not let nuts brown.Scoop nuts from oil. Spread on towel lined tray.
Shake tray to blot up excess oil, then pour nuts into paper bag. Close the bag, gently turn and shake it to blot up the last oil, then add salt to taste and gently shake again.
Eat immediately or when cool as an hors d’oeuvre or placed in small bowls on the table as a diversion during a meal.
Boortsog is a traditional Mongolian biscuit of various shapes deep-fried in hot oil. Bouillon fat that remains from cooking meat is traditionally used for the frying purpose. It gives boortsog a specific bouillon aroma that Mongolians like. However, any vegetable oil can be used for frying.
- Premium wheat flour – 1 kg
- A pinch of salt
- Sugar – 150 g
- Butter – 100 g
- Warm boiled water
Approximately 2 hours
Dissolve salt, sugar and butter in warm boiled water and blend until the sugar and butter are completely dissolved and a smooth homogenous mixture is formed. Then, mix in flour and knead into smooth soft dough. The kneading process is very important for boortsog and may require sufficient strength and energy. The dough must be kneaded until such a state when no air remains in it. When the dough is cut, the profile must be absolutely smooth and homogenous with no hole or air bubble whatsoever. Reaching such a state will require a series of kneading and leaving the dough to rest. When the dough is ready, roll out until it is about 1-1.5 sm thick. Now, you can use your imagination to cut the dough into different shapes. However, the classic shaping is to cut the dough into stripes of 3-4 sm wide and cut out squares, triangles or any other shapes using a sharp knife. Using the knife, make two little cut-like lines on each piece. This is done in order to let the air out, if any left, as well as to give some decoration to boortsog. Some people cut the dough into rectangles that are 3 sm wide and about 10 sm long, make a long cut in the middle, pull simultaneously the two edges through the cut and twist to the opposite sides.
Preheat oil, put boortsog in bunches and fry until golden brown. Pull out with the strainer and put on the rack to cool down.
Boortsog can be eaten as is or with jam, butter, cheese or anything else of your choice. Boortsog can be stored for about a month and is an excellent replacement of bread during long trips.