Fair warning…these Chinese Fried Walnuts are addictive!
I am a big fan of foods that combine salty and sweet together, so when I first had these Chinese Fried Walnuts at my sister Joanne’s house a few years ago, it was love at first salty-sweet, crunchy bite. The nuts are first boiled, then tossed in sugar while still warm allowing the nuts to absorb some sweetness. Then the nuts are fried – giving them a light and crunchy texture. Then they’re drained and immediately sprinkled with some salt while they cool.
Can I just say that these nuts are amazing?!
This recipe for Chinese Fried Walnuts can actually be found all over the internet today, and it is generally attributed to The Good Housekeeping Cookbook, dating back to the 1970’s. While doing research for this post, I found this interesting article, which gives more specific credit for this fabulous recipe to Mildred Ying, an associate food director of The Good Housekeeping Institute at Good Housekeeping magazine back in the 1970’s.
According to Mildred, fried nuts were served in China, “…As a snack. Just the way peanuts might be passed with a drink in the United States, the walnuts might be offered with a cup of tea in China.” Additionally, Mildred goes on to say that they started serving these fried walnuts at Good Housekeeping parties, and they were so popular, guests kept asking for the recipe.
These nuts are delicious on their own, as well as added to salads or desserts. Just be prepared…they won’t last for long because they will get eaten very quickly! Enjoy!
- 6 cups water
- 4 cups shelled walnuts (approximately 1 pound)
- ½ cup sugar
- Canola oil
- In a large saucepan over high heat, heat 6 cups of water to boiling. Add walnuts and bring back to a boil. Cook for 1 minute. Drain and rinse under running hot water. Drain completely.
- Pour drained nuts in a large bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and toss to coat the nuts completely with the sugar.
- Meanwhile, in a deep-sided skillet or saucepan, heat about 1 inch of canola oil to 350 degrees. (It’s recommended that you use a candy thermometer to make sure that you have the oil at the correct temperature – too hot will burn the nuts, too cool will not cook the nuts quickly enough and you won’t get the crisp texture.)
- Once the oil is at 350 degrees, with a slotted spoon (a 'spider strainer' like this works really well for this task), carefully add about half of the walnuts to the oil (be careful as the wet nuts being added to the oil will splatter up!). Fry until lightly golden brown – about 3 to 5 minutes depending on the size of your pan – stirring often. Note that the nuts will continue to cook after they are taken out of the oil so it’s important to not let them get too browned, otherwise they will burn.
- With a slotted spoon, remove nuts from the oil and place into a coarse sieve or colander over a bowl to drain. Sprinkle with salt and keep tossing the walnuts so that they don’t stick together as they cool. Transfer the walnuts to waxed paper to cool completely. Fry the remaining walnuts.
- Store cooled nuts in a tightly covered container.
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