Spiced Roasted Cashews (Masala Kaju)

Spiced Roasted Cashews in a wooden bowl on a slate table

Kind Of Nutty
I’m not exactly sure when the recent nut craze began. People have been eating nuts for centuries. But it seems that recently nuts have been having a moment. My best theory is because of the popularity of the Paleo diet. But, there are so many other possibilities—not the least of which is that they are tasty—especially when they are spicy. Chili-Lime anyone?

Many world cultures and cuisines enjoy spiced nuts as a snack and India is one of them, with cashews being the most popular. Sometimes they are fried and eaten simply with a dusting of salt. Other times they are covered in fiery chili or other flavorful spices.

No matter how you prefer to eat your favorite nuts, be they spicy or sweet, you can forget about having to purchase them at your favorite retail establishment. Making your own spiced nuts at home is easy and has the added benefit of customization. Personally, I like my cashews a little spicy with a touch of curry powder or garam masala.

Go ahead and experiment. Roasted nuts are great by themselves as an afternoon snack or sprinkled on your favorite salad for some added crunch.

Spiced Roasted Cashews (Masala Kaju)
Adapted from Cook with Kushi
Yields 1 cup

Spiced Roasted Cashews is a crispy and delicious snack you can whip up in 20 minutes. We have included three spice blends: Salted Chili, Pepper Garlic, and Pakora. But, the potential varieties are endless.

They make a great snack and are a welcomed addition to a party snack tray or with afternoon tea.

Salted Chili
1 cup whole cashews
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

Pepper Garlic
1 cup whole cashews
1/2 teaspoon pepper powder (black or white)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole cashews
3 tablespoons chickpea flour
1/2 teaspoon salt, adjust to taste
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1/4 teaspoon asafetida (hing)
2 to 3 tablespoons water (approximately)

Plus oil for frying

Directions for the Salted Chili or Pepper Garlic Cashews
Heat the oil in a pan on medium-low. Once the oil becomes warm, add 1 cup of cashews and continue to fry them on medium to medium-low heat, flipping it occasionally till they become crisp and golden brown.

Transfer the cashews to a bowl. While they are still hot, add the spices and seasoning. Toss the mixture to coat the cashews well in salt and chili powder.

Directions for Pakora Cashews
Add the cashews to a bowl with the chickpea flour, salt, chili powder, and asafetida. Add the water in 1 tablespoon increments—just until the chickpea flour coats the cashews well. Be careful not to add too much water. Adjust the spices as per your liking.

Drop the coated cashews in the hot oil one by one and fry them on medium to medium-low heat. Flip them occasionally until they become crispy and crunchy.

Transfer the fried pakoras to a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

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