Boiled Peanuts

Boiled Peanuts

Green peanuts are really just fresh raw peanuts straight from the ground (before they’ve been salted, dried or roasted). If you’ve never had a boiled green peanut, they’re closer in spirit to edamame than the dry roasted variety sold by the monocled peanut. They’re not actually green, but the name is a disambiguation for the term “raw peanut” which can include dried roasted peanuts.

Honestly, I’m not sure why these things aren’t in the freezer aisle alongside edamame, because they’d be flying off the shelves if they were. The fresh nuts are more crispy than crunchy with a mild creamy flavour. Paired with the Chinese spices in this brine, they make for a delicious snack with a crack-like addictive quality that keeps your hand going back for more.

What’s your favourite way of having peanuts?

While I’d originally seen the idea of boiled peanuts on Red Cook’s blog last year, I never got around to buying any until this weekend.

It all started with a bag of five spice laced brine, which I’d mixed for some pork chops I was planning to make for dinner. In the latest chapter of my love-hate saga with Whole Foods, the hero (that’s me!) unwrapped the eco-friendly butcher paper and was confronted by the foul stench of rotting meat. I was irked by the fact that I had to throw out two chops I’d purchased but one day earlier, especially since this wasn’t the first time this has happened (Whole Food’s are you listening?).

What really got my goat though was the fact that I’d already mixed the brine. I couldn’t bear to throw another thing out, so I tossed the bag in the fridge and headed up to Chinatown in search of some replacement meat (hormone laden as it may be, I’ve never been sold spoiled meat in Chinatown). As I walked down the south side of Canal street, I noticed the cart vendors had green peanuts for $2 a pound. Lightbulb flashing, I bought a pound of them and decided to repurpose the brine to cook the hourglass shaped beauties.

Back at home I used Kian’s cooing method along with my brine to boil the peanuts. I tasted a few last night, but they were bland and unmemorable, so I left them in the brine overnight as Kian instructs to see if they’d be better in the morning.

I woke up and headed straight for the stock pot this morning. Cracking open a peanut, I found two satisfyingly salty, plump peanuts, which were promptly redirected into my mouth. It didn’t take long before I moved the whole pot over to the table and was popping one after the other, until table was littered with shells, and my hands and face were covered in brine from the shells, which have a tendency to squirt.

I did eventually get myself to stop, but not before I contemplated pulling a beer from the fridge to go with the peanuts…

Boiled Peanut Recipe

1 pound fresh green peanuts
2 Tbs dark brown sugar
2 Tbs kosher salt
1 tsp five spice powder
2 whole star anise
1 clove of garlic mashed
2 thai chilies sliced in half lengthwise
3 C water

Thoroughly rinse any extra dirt off the peanuts.

Add all the ingredients into a covered pot and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the peanuts sit in the brine overnight.

The next day, drain the peanuts and serve. Refrigerate any uneaten portion.

  • http://www.sugarbar.org/ diva

    ahhh, this is delish! you can often find these at Chinese tea egg stalls in night markets in Singapore. they smell really good from being boiled in broth and the peanuts simple melt in your mouth. there’s a little crunch on the outside but once you bite into it, it kinda resembles really good mash. love it!!

  • http://www.sugarbar.org diva

    ahhh, this is delish! you can often find these at Chinese tea egg stalls in night markets in Singapore. they smell really good from being boiled in broth and the peanuts simple melt in your mouth. there’s a little crunch on the outside but once you bite into it, it kinda resembles really good mash. love it!!

  • http://rasamalaysia.com/ Rasa Malaysia

    Ah, this is my favorite childhood junkfood. There were boiled peanuts mobile stalls that sell these in Penang and my parents loved to buy them. These peanuts were always packed with newspaper in a pyramid shape. Nowadays, there are hardly any hawkers left selling boiled peanuts…so sad when I think of so many disappearing culinary culture.

  • http://rasamalaysia.com Rasa Malaysia

    Ah, this is my favorite childhood junkfood. There were boiled peanuts mobile stalls that sell these in Penang and my parents loved to buy them. These peanuts were always packed with newspaper in a pyramid shape. Nowadays, there are hardly any hawkers left selling boiled peanuts…so sad when I think of so many disappearing culinary culture.

  • http://www.hollyhadsellentertaining.com/holly_hadsell_el_hajji/ Holly

    You sure your not from Hawaii??? Boiled peanuts are a very popular snack here.

  • http://www.hollyhadsellentertaining.com/holly_hadsell_el_hajji/ Holly

    You sure your not from Hawaii??? Boiled peanuts are a very popular snack here.

  • http://www.palatetopen.com/ Jennifer

    A gorgeous photo! I haven’t encountered green peanuts yet. Your description of their addictive nature and the brine has ignited a craving before a tasting. I must find some.

  • http://www.palatetopen.com Jennifer

    A gorgeous photo! I haven’t encountered green peanuts yet. Your description of their addictive nature and the brine has ignited a craving before a tasting. I must find some.

  • http://memoriesinthebaking.blogspot.com/ Marysol

    Marc, that’s a gorgeous presentation.
    I’ve never had green peanuts. But the idea of freshly-boiled peanuts with an ice-cold beer would be a welcoming experience.

  • http://memoriesinthebaking.blogspot.com Marysol

    Marc, that’s a gorgeous presentation.
    I’ve never had green peanuts. But the idea of freshly-boiled peanuts with an ice-cold beer would be a welcoming experience.

  • http://www.myspace.com/docchuck DocChuck

    As a native Southerner (USA), I have been enjoying boiled peanuts for most of my 67 years on the planet. Of course they are iconic in the South Carolina and in Georgia.

    However, I don’t think I would like the asian spices. We always use Cajun spices in ours.

  • http://www.myspace.com/docchuck DocChuck

    As a native Southerner (USA), I have been enjoying boiled peanuts for most of my 67 years on the planet. Of course they are iconic in the South Carolina and in Georgia.

    However, I don’t think I would like the asian spices. We always use Cajun spices in ours.

  • http://www.rulihe.com/ L

    Like Doc, I’m a native of the south – S.C. and G.A., as a matter of fact! – and I have fond memories of summers spent on the front porch swing at my grandparent’s house with a huge pot of boiled peanuts. My grandfather, a peanut farmer, made them frequently with nothing more than salt.

    Not only are they insanely addictive, but boiling them brings out a lot of the natural antioxidants that peanuts have, which means this method is way better than roasting them, when it comes to health!

  • http://www.rulihe.com L

    Like Doc, I’m a native of the south – S.C. and G.A., as a matter of fact! – and I have fond memories of summers spent on the front porch swing at my grandparent’s house with a huge pot of boiled peanuts. My grandfather, a peanut farmer, made them frequently with nothing more than salt.

    Not only are they insanely addictive, but boiling them brings out a lot of the natural antioxidants that peanuts have, which means this method is way better than roasting them, when it comes to health!

  • http://tanglednoodle.blogspot.com/ Tangled Noodle

    Curse my peanut intolerance! I’d love to taste this but it may require a side of antihistamines. Usually, whenever I come across an interesting recipe that calls for peanuts, I simply substitute another nut but I don’t think that strategy applies here. Nevertheless, these boiled peanuts sound marvelous!

  • http://tanglednoodle.blogspot.com Tangled Noodle

    Curse my peanut intolerance! I’d love to taste this but it may require a side of antihistamines. Usually, whenever I come across an interesting recipe that calls for peanuts, I simply substitute another nut but I don’t think that strategy applies here. Nevertheless, these boiled peanuts sound marvelous!

  • http://sweetmariecooks.blogspot.com/ Sweetmarie

    I adore boiled peanuts. Growing up my mother would cook them in salted water. Definitely have to try your recipe!

  • http://sweetmariecooks.blogspot.com Sweetmarie

    I adore boiled peanuts. Growing up my mother would cook them in salted water. Definitely have to try your recipe!

  • http://www.mytartelette.com/ Tartelette

    You’d be in heaven here..They are like a meal on to itself. And only 50 cents a pound :)

  • http://www.mytartelette.com Tartelette

    You’d be in heaven here..They are like a meal on to itself. And only 50 cents a pound :)

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com/ Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    Am beyond intrigued. Not sure where I could find fresh green peanuts but dammit I’m gonna look.

    Also, completely sucky that you were sold spoiled meat! Is that even legal?

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    Am beyond intrigued. Not sure where I could find fresh green peanuts but dammit I’m gonna look.

    Also, completely sucky that you were sold spoiled meat! Is that even legal?

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    I’m also chiming in from the South to say that boiled peanuts are Everywhere down here. I’ve never been a fan, honestly, but flavoring the brine makes so much sense. I tend to brines/broths to flavor all sorts of items; thanks for helping me generalize to these wee little guys.

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    I’m also chiming in from the South to say that boiled peanuts are Everywhere down here. I’ve never been a fan, honestly, but flavoring the brine makes so much sense. I tend to brines/broths to flavor all sorts of items; thanks for helping me generalize to these wee little guys.

  • http://www.figtreeapps.blogspot.com/ Figtreeapps

    I always see these in Asian markets..now Im actually gonna pick them up..thanks for the great idea!Figtreeapps

  • http://www.figtreeapps.blogspot.com Figtreeapps

    I always see these in Asian markets..now Im actually gonna pick them up..thanks for the great idea!Figtreeapps

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com/ Heather

    Next time walk those rotten pork chops back to Whole Paycheck and scream at the meat guy. (I know you’re really too nice and even-keeled to do that, but it’s still fun to fantasize.)

    Boiled peanuts sound like an African snack, like something spicy and Maggi-salty to have with a snappy beer.

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com Heather

    Next time walk those rotten pork chops back to Whole Paycheck and scream at the meat guy. (I know you’re really too nice and even-keeled to do that, but it’s still fun to fantasize.)

    Boiled peanuts sound like an African snack, like something spicy and Maggi-salty to have with a snappy beer.

  • Sylvia

    all time favorites when i was still living in indonesia, haven’t had them for ages though. note to self: buy raw peanuts and try marc’s recipe over the weekend.

  • Sylvia

    all time favorites when i was still living in indonesia, haven’t had them for ages though. note to self: buy raw peanuts and try marc’s recipe over the weekend.

  • http://mydiversekitchen.blogspot.com/ Aparna

    Takes me back to my childhood. In those days, this used to be sold on the train as “time pass”. The idea was to “pass the time” during those long journeys shelling them and eating those delicious peanuts. :)

    We have faster trains now in India and the a lot of the magic of those train trips seems to be missing now. :(

  • http://mydiversekitchen.blogspot.com Aparna

    Takes me back to my childhood. In those days, this used to be sold on the train as “time pass”. The idea was to “pass the time” during those long journeys shelling them and eating those delicious peanuts. :)

    We have faster trains now in India and the a lot of the magic of those train trips seems to be missing now. :(

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com/ katiek @kitchensidecar

    i am trying to imagine how this would taste – other than delicious. My mom loves peanuts. she brings them back from shanghai in vacuum sealed bags for the suitcase full. When we don’t come home she only eats peanuts.

    I’ll pass this her way. Although she likes those fried ones…

  • http://kitchensidecar.blogspot.com katiek @kitchensidecar

    i am trying to imagine how this would taste – other than delicious. My mom loves peanuts. she brings them back from shanghai in vacuum sealed bags for the suitcase full. When we don’t come home she only eats peanuts.

    I’ll pass this her way. Although she likes those fried ones…

  • http://dabbled.org/ Dot

    Also from the South, and I’ve been eating boiled peanuts since I was a kid. But I’ve never thought of flavoring the brine that way. What a great idea! thanks for the tip :)

  • http://dabbled.org Dot

    Also from the South, and I’ve been eating boiled peanuts since I was a kid. But I’ve never thought of flavoring the brine that way. What a great idea! thanks for the tip :)

  • http://astrogirl.com/ Nicole

    You don’t have to yell at the Whole Foods butcher, but you really should have returned that meat for a refund.

    I got sold some bad fish by my local supermarket and got double my money back. Whole Foods should at *least* refund your money!

  • http://astrogirl.com Nicole

    You don’t have to yell at the Whole Foods butcher, but you really should have returned that meat for a refund.

    I got sold some bad fish by my local supermarket and got double my money back. Whole Foods should at *least* refund your money!

  • http://www.whatdoiwant2cooktoday.blogspot.com/ Jan

    This is amazing – I would never have thought of boiling peanuts! Your photo is fantastic too.

  • http://www.whatdoiwant2cooktoday.blogspot.com Jan

    This is amazing – I would never have thought of boiling peanuts! Your photo is fantastic too.

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ Chef E

    I have never boilded peanuts and I bet my hubby’s mom would love for me to do some, since she is nuts about these nuts…I have always had them at ball games…already cooked. Great photo by the way!

  • http://cookappeal.blogspot.com/ Chef E

    I have never boilded peanuts and I bet my hubby’s mom would love for me to do some, since she is nuts about these nuts…I have always had them at ball games…already cooked. Great photo by the way!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13886831875725495472 MrsDocChuck

    My husband eats raw peanuts to get more much-needed roughage in his diet.

    Also, he believes them to increase potency, though I have serious doubts about that.

    I prefer my nuts roasted.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13886831875725495472 MrsDocChuck

    My husband eats raw peanuts to get more much-needed roughage in his diet.

    Also, he believes them to increase potency, though I have serious doubts about that.

    I prefer my nuts roasted.

  • http://www.culinarydisaster.com/wordpress Jeff

    When I use to travel for my previous job there was this killer grocery store that I would stop by and grab lbs of raw peanuts. Got into the habit of just experimenting with them or flat out just making my own roasted.

    Loved doing that because they are a great snack. Unfortunately that grocery store is three hours away and I can’t find raw peanuts anywhere in this bloody town.

    I hate the spoiled meat. There is a place here I won’t buy from because their meat is horrible but thankfully good butcher shops in the Midwest are damn near on every street corner.

    • Aimee

      If you don’t live in the area where green peanuts are easily found, you can order them online. They can be shipped fresh or frozen. Fresh organic peanuts from Georgia are the best and raw (green) peanuts are harvested here from mid-August thru October. The earlier harvests are better for boiling, but later ones are fine too — they just take longer to soften (longer boiling time if doing traditional boiled peanuts with salt/spices. Healthy Hollow Farms is one organic producer that I personally have experienced, but there are many others — just do a google search for Georgia organic peanuts. Best of luck — it’s well worth the effort to locate them!

  • http://www.culinarydisaster.com/wordpress Jeff

    When I use to travel for my previous job there was this killer grocery store that I would stop by and grab lbs of raw peanuts. Got into the habit of just experimenting with them or flat out just making my own roasted.

    Loved doing that because they are a great snack. Unfortunately that grocery store is three hours away and I can’t find raw peanuts anywhere in this bloody town.

    I hate the spoiled meat. There is a place here I won’t buy from because their meat is horrible but thankfully good butcher shops in the Midwest are damn near on every street corner.

    • http://norecipes,com Aimee

      If you don’t live in the area where green peanuts are easily found, you can order them online. They can be shipped fresh or frozen. Fresh organic peanuts from Georgia are the best and raw (green) peanuts are harvested here from mid-August thru October. The earlier harvests are better for boiling, but later ones are fine too — they just take longer to soften (longer boiling time if doing traditional boiled peanuts with salt/spices. Healthy Hollow Farms is one organic producer that I personally have experienced, but there are many others — just do a google search for Georgia organic peanuts. Best of luck — it’s well worth the effort to locate them!

  • http://www.phamfatale.com/ Jackie at PhamFatale.com

    At home, we always boil peanuts. It’s the perfect snack. BUt I never add any spices like you, it’s a great idea. Next time, I’ll add the chiles, garlic and star anise. I’m sure some added flavors wouldn’t hurt. Thanks for sharing.

    Otherwise you can fry them and then make the Indian version called chudva. check it out at http://www.phamfatale.com/id_298/title_South-Indian-Spicy-Nut-and-Puffed-Rice-Snack-Chudwa/

  • http://www.phamfatale.com/ Jackie at PhamFatale.com

    At home, we always boil peanuts. It’s the perfect snack. BUt I never add any spices like you, it’s a great idea. Next time, I’ll add the chiles, garlic and star anise. I’m sure some added flavors wouldn’t hurt. Thanks for sharing.

    Otherwise you can fry them and then make the Indian version called chudva. check it out at http://www.phamfatale.com/id_298/title_South-Indian-Spicy-Nut-and-Puffed-Rice-Snack-Chudwa/

  • http://zested.wordpress.com/ liz {zested}

    Great photo! Have you invested in a macro lens? What surface are you shooting on to get such a nice reflection?

  • http://zested.wordpress.com liz {zested}

    Great photo! Have you invested in a macro lens? What surface are you shooting on to get such a nice reflection?

  • marc

    Nope, I wish:-) It’s just the same ‘ole 24-70mm f/2.8. The surface is the same stainless steel chef’s table I shoot 90% of my photos on. It get a cool semi reflective effect when I line the lens up with the table surface because of the bokeh.

  • marc

    Nope, I wish:-) It’s just the same ‘ole 24-70mm f/2.8. The surface is the same stainless steel chef’s table I shoot 90% of my photos on. It get a cool semi reflective effect when I line the lens up with the table surface because of the bokeh.

  • http://www.veggiebelly.com/ veggiebelly

    I grew up with boiled peanuts..i really like them with some lemon juice, raw red onions, green chile, salt and pepper.

  • http://www.veggiebelly.com veggiebelly

    I grew up with boiled peanuts..i really like them with some lemon juice, raw red onions, green chile, salt and pepper.

  • http://www.bouchonfor2.com/ Mel

    This looks like something my grandma would make. She would either evaporate the salted water until there’s a powder of seasalt dusted over the legumes, or will dress it with some sesame oil. :) Oh the endearing simplicities.

  • http://www.bouchonfor2.com/ Mel

    This looks like something my grandma would make. She would either evaporate the salted water until there’s a powder of seasalt dusted over the legumes, or will dress it with some sesame oil. :) Oh the endearing simplicities.

  • http://purplefoodie.com/ The Purple Foodie

    I love boiled peanuts! But I’ve never boiled them with spice like this before. Will surely remember to the next time I buy myself a bag of raw groundnuts.

  • http://purplefoodie.com/ The Purple Foodie

    I love boiled peanuts! But I’ve never boiled them with spice like this before. Will surely remember to the next time I buy myself a bag of raw groundnuts.

  • Kp

    you dont need to let them soak over night….back home in india we give them a little crack, just pinch the ‘lip’ part of the peanut or stab it on a hard surface so that it opens a bit and then cook them this allows the juices to seep in, this way u can eat them warm too and u dont have to wait! ofcourse its a bit time consuming but worth the effort! I’ve only ever had them in salted water but will give your recipe a try it sounds yum!

  • Kp

    you dont need to let them soak over night….back home in india we give them a little crack, just pinch the ‘lip’ part of the peanut or stab it on a hard surface so that it opens a bit and then cook them this allows the juices to seep in, this way u can eat them warm too and u dont have to wait! ofcourse its a bit time consuming but worth the effort! I’ve only ever had them in salted water but will give your recipe a try it sounds yum!

  • http://chowandchatter.com/ rebecca

    came from chef e’s blog love this what a great way to cook peanuts and love your blog

  • http://chowandchatter.com rebecca

    came from chef e’s blog love this what a great way to cook peanuts and love your blog

  • Ana

    Can you use unsalted roasted peanuts?

    • marc

      Roasted peanuts are cooked and dried and will not have the same the same texture or flavor, you could try it, but I’d imagine it’s kind of like the difference between a fresh pea and a dried pea.

    • pmduro

      Here on Maui, bags of boiled peanuts are available year round. Today, I found a bag of raw peanuts at a pseudo farmers market at the mall (strangely enough, Whole Foods will be opening there in a month or two) and wanted to see if I could make boiled peanuts. I’m really glad to find this recipe, something different from just salt and water. I’m making them right now. I’m just sad that I have to wait tomorrow morning to eat them properly. I love eating boiled peanuts at the movies, so much cheaper and healthier!

  • Ana

    Can you use unsalted roasted peanuts?

    • marc

      Roasted peanuts are cooked and dried and will not have the same the same texture or flavor, you could try it, but I’d imagine it’s kind of like the difference between a fresh pea and a dried pea.

    • http://pmduro@msn.com pmduro

      Here on Maui, bags of boiled peanuts are available year round. Today, I found a bag of raw peanuts at a pseudo farmers market at the mall (strangely enough, Whole Foods will be opening there in a month or two) and wanted to see if I could make boiled peanuts. I’m really glad to find this recipe, something different from just salt and water. I’m making them right now. I’m just sad that I have to wait tomorrow morning to eat them properly. I love eating boiled peanuts at the movies, so much cheaper and healthier!

  • S Holly58

    For YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY, add hot sauce, worchestershire, beer, soy sauce. Let soak in brine for awhile after boiling to penetrate. Drain, store in frig and can be frozen.

  • debi

    Best boiled peanut recipe I have ever tasted………

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I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!