Old Vinegar Peanuts – Lǎo Cù Huāshēng Mĭ – 老醋花生米
I was sitting on a bus the other day and banging on about Chinese food, and the nice girl I was speaking to said she liked vinegar, so I promised to post a kind of Chinese food involving vinegar. If you’re reading this, Rachel, then hello and I hope you enjoyed your weekend of sin.
This dish is incredibly easy to make and very, very common in Beijing, although non-existent in Chinese Restaurants outside China.
It’s a bit snacky, so you definitely need to make something else to go with. Today I and my family ate it along with steaming bowls of rice noodles in soup, a cold cucumber, (See the ‘smacked cucumber recipe’)tomatoes, and seaweed & sweetcorn.
It’s pretty easy to make, but Chinese people will probably debate the exact method, there are infinite varieties, but here’s how I do it:
Basic Ingredients: Peanuts (raw, unsalted, a few hundred grams), Vinegar (a lot, I like balsamic vinegar), sugar, coriander (cillantro), Chinese 5 spice.
Fry the peanuts. This takes quite a lot of oil at a high heat, about five minutes until they start to smell fragrant. Then leave the peanuts to cool. This might take about twenty minutes – I cover them and leave them outside.
Once the peanuts have cooled you’ve basically finished. Put them in a bowl and pour in enough vinegar to half cover them . Now add a few dessert spoons of sugar, use a spoon to grind it into the vinegar until it dissolves. Mix in the coriander, raw (I would chop it), a few pinches of 5-spice, and stir it all up.
You’re done. The sugar should counteract the sharpness of the vinegar.
It might be a bit too vinegary for some tastes – remember it’s not meant to be eaten alone. You could try adding a bit more sugar.
Alternative recipes might add chilli powder instead of 5-spice or spring onions instead of coriander.
PS: The photo’s a bit misleading, it looks like there’s not all that much vinegar. There should me more than that, they should be steeped in it.
Wonder at the Great Wall, be awed by the magnificent Forbidden City, drink in the scenery from a boat on the Summer Palace’s Kunming Lake.