Thursday, 20 March 2014

Crunchy Dry-Roasted Nuts Without Extra Oil !!!

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Faced with hunger pangs & snack cravings between meals ?
Looking for healthy snack options ?
What can be healthier than dry fruits/nuts ?!

Roasted dry fruits/nuts offer a crunchy, tasty, high-fiber, healthy, easy-to-digest option to nibble on without any guilt. And one can avoid additional calories by Dry-roasting the nuts ie. without any additional fat/oil, while retaining all their natural flavors.

Here's how to :
Cooking time : 2-4 minutes (per 100-150 gm)  Estimated time.  
Standing time : 20-60 mins (depending on ambient temperatures)

All you need :
Nuts such as peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts.
I used 125 gm shelled peanuts in one bowl & 150 gm shelled almonds in another bowl.
Microwave-proof bowl(s). (I used Borosil bowls.)
Any spatula / spoon / fork to shuffle the nuts
Seasoning & Dried Herbs (optional)

Put nuts in a microwave-proof bowl.  Place bowl in microwave oven.
Microwave at High/100% for about 2 minutes.
Remove bowl, shuffle the nuts a bit (for even roasting) & return to oven.
Nuke at 100% for another minute or so.
In case of almonds & peanuts, one can hear crackling sounds. That is the time to stop.
Remove, let cool completely. Add seasoning, spices, dried herbs.
Voila! Crunchy, all-natural, healthy nuts are ready to munch :-) 
Store in air-tight jars. These last for weeks & months.

Important Notes & Tips :

  • Always roast each type of nut in a separate bowl as roasting time for each varies (cashewnuts & walnuts usually take lesser time than almonds & peanuts.)
  • Avoid nuking for more than 2 minutes at one go, since roasting can cause smoke build-up in oven. Hence it is always a good idea to nuke in short spurts of 2 minutes for 1st round & 1 or less in subsequent stages.
  • Total time required to roast may vary with size & type of oven, water content in nuts, quantity of nuts, etc.
  • While roasting, the nuts do not become crisp after 2-3 minutes. However, since they Retain a huge amount of heat, the slow cooking/roasting Continues even After the bowl is removed from oven.
  • Standing time is extremely crucial since the tasting / cooking / crisping carries on well after the bowl has been removed from the oven. Ambient temperature will determine the standing time. If , after some time, you feel that the nuts are still not as crunchy, simply transfer the bowl back to the oven & nuke some more. 
  • It is a good idea to use a broad-rimmed bowl or container to microwave, since it has a larger surface area for the nuts to be roasted evenly. This, however, can be countered to an extent, by mixing/stirring/shuffling at intervals to bring the lower nuts to the surface ... 
  • No oil or butter is required. Nuts already have their own natural fat which is sufficient for roasting. However, if you like a little sheen or glossy coating, add a teeny tsp of olive oil by all means.
TIP : Sprinkle pepper before roasting for a stronger smoky pepper flavor.

One can season & flavor with choice dried herbs if required. I prefer without any salt, to savour the natural nutty, mildly sweet flavors.

TIP: Roasting nuts in batches in one go can save a lot of time & repeated effort of roasting handfuls. Then, after completely cool, store in air-tight containers or mason jars – they keep for a long time.
I store each nut in a different mason jar, to be used as desired. This gives me the option to mix a different combo of nuts or to use any choice of roasted nut as garnish in other dishes immediately.

Store dry roasted nuts in air-tight containers

TIP: After all nuts have cooled, one can mix in a few raisins, black currants, etc. too. Raisins can be dry-roasted in the oven as well. But do it on medium ~70% microwave setting. Keep a close eye on them. As soon as they start to bloat up, remove from oven. They will shrink back & crisp while cooling.

Yes, that’s all there is to it.
Now you will always have healthy crunchy munchies to snack on !

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