Makes 6 cups.
Crispy, spicy, and irresistible, fried peanuts with lime leaf and chilies are a typical Thai bar snack. We’ve adapted this recipe from one in Food & Wine.
1 cup peanut oil
10 dried Makrut lime leaves, de-stemmed
8 small dried red chilies
6 cups skinned raw peanuts (2 pounds)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
Line both a plate and a large, rimmed baking sheet with multiple layers of paper towels. set aside.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet or pan set over moderate heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chilies leaves to the oil and fry until they turn deep red, about 1 minute. Add the lime leaves and fry for a further 10–15 seconds. Use a slotted spoon or spider to scoop the lime leaves and chilies from the oil to the towel-lined plate.
Add the peanuts to the oil and stir-fry until they are fragrant and golden, about 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or spider to scoop the peanuts from the pan to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Set aside until the nuts cool slightly. Fry the garlic until it’s barely golden and transfer to the plate with the chilies. Set aside.
Put the nuts into a large bowl and toss with the salt. Crumble the lime leaves, chilies, and garlic over the nuts, toss again. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Frying the spices first infuses the oil makes their flavor bloom and also flavors the oil itself. Note that you can use fresh lime leaves instead of dried ones in the recipe. If you do, add them to the oil at the same time as the chilies.