Yesterday, Walter Lee spoke fondly of his grandmother's flavored eggs. Such recipes gave way to a diverse menu at Chino's, a Capitol Hill joint offering Mexican and Taiwanese street food alongside a bevy of tiki drinks. Husband and wife team, Walter and Mari Lee left their former careers and dove into the restaurant industry, putting their money on serving good street food and bringing Mai Tais back to Seattle.
If you're looking to bring some of that street food home, Mari Lee recommends spiced boiled peanuts--raw peanuts that are boiled with spices in the shell--saying, "This is delicious and a relatively cheap and easy bar snack. It can keep in the fridge for quite a while and is a typical beer accompaniment or anytime snack in semi-tropical Taiwan. It is usually eaten cold." They warn that the raw peanuts may be hard to find locally, but are sometimes sold seasonally at Uwajimaya. Those not up to the expedition can order it off the menu at Chino's.
Spiced Boiled Peanuts
For three pounds of spiced boiled peanuts:
3 lbs. of raw, in-shell peanuts
3 cups of soy sauce
1/3 cup of star anise
¼ cup of cloves
4 tbsp of fennel seed
3 tablespoons of Sichuan peppercorns
4 sticks of cinnamon
1 cup of dried chilies (optional)
Water to cover
Toast the whole spices in a skillet, then put all the ingredients into a large stock pot.
Bring to a boil and turn the heat down to a steady boil (that is higher than a simmer, but not a rolling boil). Cook for a good six hours. Be careful to keep adding water every hour to avoid the peanuts drying out and burning.
During the last hour, as an option, add a cup of dried chilies. When done, the peanut shell should easily split open and the peanut meat should have the texture of cooked, soft beans.
Let cool in the boiling liquid, then drain and store in the fridge. Serve the peanuts cold, alongside a chilled Taiwan beer, or perhaps, a refreshing Mai Tai.