BRITTLE FROM HOMEMADE CHINESE SESAME PEANUTS
To keep our flat clean, we have a Beijing ayi (ayi means “aunt,” but it’s a common term given by small kids to any older lady or ladies working in childcare, cooking, or cleaning professions) who visits us once a week. She has a special place in our hearts.
She takes it all in stride every weekend, when we can be seen racing around tossing food, dishes, and cutlery around and aiming the Nikon at everything.
When she found out we had a food blog, she offered to show us how to create her local specialty, a Chinese sesame peanut brittle, for the site (it must have looked less odd after that). She described it as a throwback to a traditional Chinese New Year delicacy from when most people couldn’t afford sugar, let alone candy.
The sweetness and joy of the new year are symbolized by the abundance of candy, which is a must-have for many Chinese New Year households. She explained that the shi fu (a “master” of trade) would visit the home of the individuals who didn’t know how to create the sesame peanut brittle candy. Our ayi picked it up from her mother, who picked it up from secretly spying on the master who visited their house every year.
The plain Sesame Peanut Brittle and the Sesame Walnut Peanut Brittle have less sugar than the other. As a group, we all agreed that the version with a lower amount of sugar was our favorite, but you can modify the quantity of sugar you use to suit your tastes.
- 450 g of shelled raw peanuts
- 220-270 g of rock sugar
- Small amount of oil (for brushing)
- 1/3 cup of sesame seeds
- Use a flat pan to dry-roast peanuts and walnuts over medium heat (if using). The peanuts should be fragrant after about 10 minutes of stirring regularly (to prevent them from burning). Cool nuts before eating.
- After the peanuts have cooled, use your hands to remove the skins. The next step, though, is a bit more complicated. Using both hands, hold the pan at an angle slightly downward and toss the peanuts up and down. If everything goes according to plan, the peanuts should fly up and land back in the pan while the skins fly out over the edges. It’s best to do this in front of the sink. However, you can also purchase peanuts that are already shelled and skinned. Even if plain roasted peanuts are available, making your peanut brittle will yield a more flavorful result.
- You can do this by putting the peanuts on a chopping board or kitchen surface and rolling with a rolling pin until they’re smaller pieces. Take a break from the peanuts. To prevent the brittle from clinging to the surface of your cutting board and rolling pin, apply a small amount of oil to them now.
- Melt the rock sugar in the same pan you used earlier by swirling it continually at low heat. In five minutes, the rock sugar will melt. Mix the melted sugar with the peanuts and sesame seeds.
- As soon as the peanut and sugar mixture is hot, pour it out onto the greased, flat surface of your cutting board and immediately roll it out to about 1/3-inch thick. Cut to the required dimensions and form.