Certain weeks feel like they spiral out of control! Running to school events, meetings, deadlines, dashing home to make dinner, watching piled-up paperwork self-generate, finally returning the phone call of the friend who left 7 voice-mails (the last of which was passively threatening) – is it an wonder that the gym and healthy eating get thrown on to the back burner?
With so much on my plate, it wasn’t worth adding the guilt of unhealthy eating to it! Instead of reaching for a handful of chips, I would reach for a handful of nuts. Nuts are packed with fiber, vitamins, lowers cholesterol, rich in antioxidants and a serotonin booster. Great, but what did that mean for me? It meant that I would look radiant, less bloated and may be even lose weight. What a winner, if I could do this, I was sure everything else would fall in to place.
Since nuts can be mundane, I decided to spice them up by toasting and then tossing in a dry spice mix of cayenne, smoked paprika, cumin powder, salt, a touch of sugar and a hit of mango powder for a light zing.
When nuts taste this great, the hand grabs without any convincing and reminders of its health perks. Yes, I do add a touch of butter, but given the amount of nuts it coats; it is by no means excessive. I made a batch of them for snacking purposes but with the holidays around the corner, I made an extra set and filled them in little mason jars to distribute to friends and family. Though everybody liked them, surprisingly, my son was the biggest fan and was caught in action as he smuggled away a handful.
Recipe for Spiced Nuts
1 tsp. coriander seed
1 tsp. black pepper1/4 heaping tsp. cumin seed
1 tsp. coarse kosher salt
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. mango powder or sumac
1.2 tsp. sugar
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw pecans
2 tbsp. melted butter
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine all the spices and set aside. Coat the raw nuts in the melted butter, place on a baking tray and place in the oven for about 15 minutes, until they turn golden. Pour in to a mixing bowl whilst hot and coat with the dry spice mix. Lay nuts out on a tray to allow to completely cool. Store in an airtight container.
Saira Malhotra, is of British –Indian descent and is a chef, food writer and cooking instructor based in New York City. Raised in Hounslow, U.K, or rather ‘Little India’, where the air is aromatic with roasted spices, little did Saira know these moments would follow her from being a student in France and Italy to residing in NYC with her husband and kids and parlay themselves unexpectedly in to a culinary career. She is a graduate of the International Culinary Center in New York City. Come visit her at her food blog: Passport Pantry, where she shares approachable and international recipes.