The author and cook, Heather

Spicy Crispy Peanuts

Mister Jiu's in Chinatown

This is the first recipe from a new book for us! Mister Jiu's in Chinatown just came out in 2021, from the chef and owner of Mister Jiu's restaurant in San Francisco's Chinatown, Brandon Jew, and food writer Tielon Ho. Chinese food is one of my husband's favorites, but I usually don't go much beyond making a basic stir-fry. I chose this book so that I could expand my repertoire a bit, and make better Chinese (or, Chinese American) food at home.

I must admit, it's a bit daunting. I've already made a trek to a large Asian market (which I'd been wanting to visit for some time) to find ingredients for the first few dishes I chose to make, as well as ordered some things online. I still need to make at least one more trip for one recipe, and it seems that will be par for the course for most recipes. I was able to find most everything that wasn't available at my standard American grocery store for this online, though, and it was the very first thing my husband picked out.

The recipe for spiced glazed nuts (pecans) I've made on my channel before uses egg whites to help coat the nuts with sugar and spice and then has you roast them in the oven, but this recipe uses a different method, caramelizing the sugar on the stove then adding the nuts and spices to make a sweet and spicy coating. It's a little more difficult, and I had to wing it a bit to save my batch. Currently I'm blaming that on not reading carefully and using a pan that wasn't wide enough, but I'll have to make these again to test out my theory!

I found this recipe available here:

Serving Size1/10 of recipe, not including oil for frying
Carbohydrates33g (3g fiber, 13g sugar)


[00:00]: [Music]
[00:05]: hello and welcome to cooking the books
[00:06]: with heather today i'm going to be
[00:08]: working from a brand new cookbook that i
[00:10]: just got and this was uh the first
[00:13]: recipe my husband wanted me to make in
[00:15]: this book so we are going to be working
[00:17]: from mr jews in chinatown um
[00:21]: it's a relatively new cookbook i think
[00:23]: it was written in 2020
[00:25]: came out in 2020 something like that so
[00:28]: there are references to the whole global
[00:30]: situation
[00:32]: and
[00:33]: things like that in it but
[00:36]: it is a primarily chinese food cookbook
[00:40]: um
[00:41]: maybe chinese-american some of them i'm
[00:44]: not i am by no means a judge of what is
[00:48]: authentic with chinese cuisine and what
[00:50]: is not or what is american chinese and
[00:52]: authentic to that up whatever
[00:55]: but
[00:55]: um it is made by someone who has a
[00:58]: restaurant in san francisco and uh
[01:01]: i believe that a lot of the recipes are
[01:04]: ones that they use there or
[01:06]: things like that
[01:07]: anyway
[01:08]: but today we're going to be making spicy
[01:11]: crispy peanuts
[01:13]: from this book and i do have to say
[01:15]: finding a lot of these ingredients was a
[01:19]: little difficult for me
[01:21]: um he told me several weeks ago that he
[01:23]: wanted it i made a special trip to um
[01:28]: a
[01:29]: an asian market
[01:31]: that i'd been wanting to go to anyway so
[01:33]: i did that
[01:35]: but
[01:36]: could not find still could not find some
[01:38]: of the ingredients there so i ended up
[01:39]: ordering some online and
[01:41]: anyway
[01:42]: but we're going to talk about the
[01:43]: ingredients first because of that
[01:48]: peanuts these are just
[01:50]: uh dry roasted unsalted peanuts he says
[01:53]: roasted but unsalted so
[01:55]: measured out the amount for the recipe
[01:57]: here
[01:58]: um he says to use
[02:01]: neutral oil or unrefined peanut oil
[02:05]: um
[02:06]: i've got i found
[02:09]: a small thing of pure peanut oil at that
[02:12]: grocery store i really should have said
[02:14]: what his name is and let me
[02:16]: tell you right now because i keep saying
[02:17]: he and i meaning you know the chef who
[02:19]: wrote this
[02:20]: um it is brandon joo and
[02:23]: ken lon ho
[02:24]: uh recipes and stories from the birth
[02:27]: birth place of chinese american food so
[02:30]: i guess it's chinese american food
[02:33]: anyway
[02:34]: um
[02:35]: beautiful pictures in here too by the
[02:36]: way
[02:38]: so we've got the peanuts we've got the
[02:39]: peanut oil
[02:40]: um
[02:42]: these are
[02:43]: dried arbol chili peppers from mexico
[02:47]: um
[02:48]: there's he says like between eight and
[02:50]: ten i went on the lower side here um i
[02:54]: got these from penzies ordered them
[02:55]: online and they were shipped to me
[02:57]: um
[02:59]: so that's that
[03:00]: uh
[03:01]: these
[03:03]: are chinese szechuan peppercorns
[03:07]: they are
[03:09]: they have a different sort of heat it's
[03:12]: more of a numbing heat than
[03:14]: fiery heat it's it's really interesting
[03:17]: and provides a different flavor
[03:20]: and we're going to be crushing these in
[03:23]: the mortar and pestle in just a second
[03:25]: um
[03:27]: so this is korean chili flakes called
[03:30]: gochugaru like um gochujang sauce that's
[03:34]: a sort of a sauce that you can use i
[03:35]: believe has this in it but these are
[03:38]: just dry chili flakes from that kind of
[03:41]: chili i believe
[03:43]: this i also had to buy
[03:46]: um i was kind of
[03:48]: surprised i couldn't find it in that
[03:49]: market but i didn't go to other markets
[03:51]: to look for it
[03:52]: i certainly couldn't find it in my
[03:54]: regular grocery store um
[03:56]: we have some sugar
[03:58]: we have some salt standard ingredients
[04:01]: and then this is something i did find at
[04:03]: the asian market
[04:05]: uh these are
[04:09]: very small
[04:10]: dried whole anchovies
[04:13]: so
[04:14]: i bought a bag of these they were in the
[04:16]: refrigerated section but you can buy
[04:18]: them
[04:19]: um online and they don't come
[04:21]: refrigerated but i think to keep them
[04:23]: longer
[04:25]: it says to keep them in the refrigerator
[04:27]: or the freezer so i stuck my bag in the
[04:28]: freezer because i don't know what i'm
[04:30]: going to use these again but
[04:32]: i found these at that market
[04:35]: so
[04:36]: i think i've talked about all of the
[04:37]: ingredients there's also a little bit of
[04:39]: water in it i haven't measured that out
[04:41]: yet um
[04:42]: so these are the
[04:44]: szechuan peppercorns
[04:46]: i'm gonna put these i've measured them
[04:47]: out i measured a little bit
[04:49]: over what i thought i needed because
[04:51]: they're whole but i'm gonna crush them
[04:53]: and then measure them again just to see
[04:54]: how
[04:55]: whether i've got enough or not or how it
[04:58]: probably going to use however much this
[04:59]: is whether it's a little bit over a
[05:00]: little bit under but it'll be fine
[05:02]: um so i'm just going to
[05:04]: crush these in my mortar mortar and
[05:06]: pestle
[05:07]: um he doesn't say how finely crushed but
[05:10]: i guess i'll just
[05:12]: decide
[05:13]: i'll probably go for something like the
[05:15]: gochugaru
[05:18]: texture
[05:19]: some flakes some small
[05:26]: i'm going to call that good we have a
[05:27]: few big pieces a lot of it is sort of
[05:30]: powdery
[05:31]: so
[05:34]: just out of curiosity how much did that
[05:37]: crush down into
[05:40]: might be slightly over
[05:43]: it'll be fine
[05:44]: i'm pretty sure my kids aren't going to
[05:46]: eat these anyway
[05:47]: so
[05:48]: [Music]
[05:49]: all right
[05:50]: i think that is it for here next we'll
[05:52]: meet you over at the stove because we've
[05:54]: got to do some frying with our oil
[05:56]: and then a little bit of sort of
[05:58]: caramelizing with the peanuts so
[06:01]: see in a minute so the first step here
[06:03]: is to
[06:05]: fry a few things so i've got my peanut
[06:07]: oil in
[06:08]: a small saucepan medium sauce pan i
[06:11]: think he says
[06:13]: he says to use a fry thermometer i don't
[06:16]: have one
[06:17]: but as usual i've got my
[06:19]: infrared
[06:20]: thermometer here
[06:22]: to
[06:23]: gauge the temperature and it is still
[06:26]: coming up to heat i'm going to turn it
[06:27]: up a little bit
[06:29]: usually on my stove i know about where
[06:32]: uh where it needs to be to keep the oil
[06:34]: at that temperature
[06:35]: um and this is sort of the high end
[06:37]: it'll it won't get too hot but it'll um
[06:40]: bring it up to that temperature we're
[06:41]: going for 325 and we're going to try to
[06:44]: keep it at 325.
[06:46]: um the first thing we're gonna fry is
[06:48]: the chilies
[06:51]: so
[06:52]: i've got these ready
[06:55]: smells like peanut butter right now
[06:56]: because it's peanut oil
[07:01]: all right we're going to be a minute
[07:03]: until this is ready the next thing we're
[07:05]: going to fry is the anchovies you can
[07:08]: buy these i saw these pre-fried
[07:10]: um in the grocery store the asian market
[07:13]: where i was um
[07:16]: but i went ahead and bought them unfried
[07:18]: because that was part of this recipe so
[07:20]: but if you don't want to do this part
[07:22]: you can buy these pre-fried
[07:25]: at least where i got mine and i've got
[07:27]: this um
[07:30]: slotted spoon thing to hopefully help
[07:34]: get all of these out
[07:35]: when they are done frying i don't think
[07:37]: these are either one fry for very long
[07:40]: um
[07:45]: yeah 20 to 30 seconds
[07:48]: for both of them so
[07:50]: uh
[07:50]: most of this time is going to be waiting
[07:53]: for our oil come up to come up to
[07:54]: temperature
[07:55]: all right we're right there so i'm gonna
[07:57]: go ahead and drop in these um
[07:60]: chilies
[08:02]: and there's we're supposed to keep them
[08:03]: covered with the oil
[08:06]: and just fry them for 20 or 30 seconds
[08:11]: putting making sure we
[08:13]: put the oil on them
[08:15]: and we're supposed to put these on sort
[08:17]: of one side of a prepared plate with
[08:19]: paper towels on it
[08:23]: and now we're going to fry our anchovies
[08:27]: now we're going to fry our anchovies
[08:32]: until they're light golden brown and
[08:33]: crispy about 30 seconds so
[08:39]: [Applause]
[08:42]: i think these are just about done
[08:46]: hoping that i can get them out without
[08:50]: losing too many because the holes are
[08:51]: pretty big on this
[08:54]: and so these go on the other side of the
[08:55]: prepared plate and i'm going to go ahead
[08:57]: and turn off
[08:59]: the stove so i don't
[09:01]: over cook the rest
[09:04]: there we go and that's it for frying
[09:07]: so i'm going to put these to the side
[09:10]: for a moment and
[09:13]: let my oil cool over here
[09:18]: and we'll get to the next step so the
[09:20]: next thing to do we need to make our
[09:22]: spice mixture before we cook the peanuts
[09:26]: we're going to take off
[09:28]: our chilies that we fried we're going to
[09:29]: take off the tops and then just crush
[09:33]: them into this bowl there's a little oil
[09:36]: on them still
[09:38]: but we want the seeds and everything
[09:41]: that's the best i can do
[09:46]: i'm gonna wash my hands because they're
[09:48]: full of this herbal chili
[09:50]: so to this we're going to add our
[09:51]: szechuan peppercorns
[09:56]: the kosher salt
[09:60]: and
[10:01]: the chili flakes the gochugaru that we
[10:04]: measured out
[10:06]: we're gonna mix
[10:07]: [Music]
[10:09]: this all up
[10:11]: just to have it ready
[10:17]: these were supposed to be in pieces of a
[10:18]: third of an inch or smaller but i did
[10:20]: the best i could
[10:22]: and got several
[10:24]: bits of spicy things all over my floor
[10:26]: which is going to be great for the dog
[10:28]: later
[10:29]: all right so that mixture is done now
[10:32]: we're going to put
[10:34]: our pan on medium heat
[10:38]: [Laughter]
[10:42]: this is a new
[10:43]: medium saucepan
[10:45]: we're we're gonna put in our peanuts
[10:49]: our
[10:52]: sugar
[10:54]: and i need to get a little bit of water
[10:56]: all right
[10:57]: peanuts water and sugar and that is it
[11:00]: so we're going to cook this for 10 to 12
[11:03]: minutes stirring occasionally and he
[11:06]: says that the
[11:08]: the sugar will dissolve and then the
[11:10]: whole mixture will go powdery and that
[11:12]: is expected so that's good to know
[11:15]: because sometimes that happens and it's
[11:17]: not what's supposed to happen and i
[11:19]: freak out
[11:20]: only about a minute and it's getting a
[11:22]: little boily at the bottom so that's
[11:23]: good
[11:25]: we are getting real close to the seized
[11:28]: and powdery and grainy yep i think we're
[11:31]: there after only about seven minutes
[11:36]: so
[11:37]: we're gonna turn down the heat to medium
[11:39]: low
[11:41]: and he says another eight ish minutes we
[11:44]: want these to be sort of caramelized but
[11:46]: blonde not dark blonde not not black
[11:50]: it's not dark brown
[11:52]: so
[11:54]: you can see what this looks like at this
[11:56]: point it
[11:58]: kind of just looks like seized sugar
[12:01]: supposed to start about every minute so
[12:03]: don't have to constantly stir it
[12:05]: the sugar is supposed to melt again
[12:07]: apparently
[12:08]: we're supposed to be keeping our eye out
[12:10]: to make sure it doesn't smoke though
[12:18]: we should almost be there but it doesn't
[12:19]: look like it's starting to melt yet
[12:23]: but it's not smoking
[12:25]: so we are at
[12:26]: 10 minutes past turning the heat down
[12:29]: and it may be starting to melt a little
[12:32]: bit in places at the bottom but it's
[12:35]: really really really not uh
[12:39]: encouraging right now um
[12:42]: the flour the sugar is starting to turn
[12:45]: a little bit brown
[12:48]: so i am concerned i'm hoping it doesn't
[12:50]: burn before it um
[12:53]: melts to coat these peanuts
[12:57]: so
[12:58]: we're gonna keep going
[13:01]: feel like it's
[13:05]: uh
[13:07]: browning caramelizing but not melting
[13:10]: and that is concerning to me
[13:12]: i think a larger pan would have let
[13:15]: more of it be in contact with with the
[13:18]: pan and maybe
[13:21]: melted it a little faster
[13:24]: also i probably started too much
[13:28]: see down here at the bottom it's
[13:29]: definitely melting but it is also
[13:32]: getting past the dark blonde stage so
[13:38]: fine
[13:42]: husband says we are using what we got it
[13:44]: was definitely getting too brown i
[13:46]: assume because i was using a pan with
[13:48]: not enough surface area
[13:50]: on the bottom
[13:52]: so what i did was rinse out the previous
[13:54]: pan to get all of the sugar out that was
[13:56]: stuck to the sides
[13:58]: used way too much water so then i'm
[13:60]: boiling it down a little bit i think i'm
[14:01]: going to go a little bit longer because
[14:03]: that's still quite a bit of water
[14:05]: and then we're going to add this
[14:07]: back into this pan
[14:10]: and try to get it
[14:12]: cooked pretty quickly so it's a glaze um
[14:16]: we just don't want too much water on it
[14:17]: because then it'll be sticky the goal is
[14:19]: eventually for just to be
[14:22]: caramelized sugar and not any water
[14:24]: because otherwise it'll be sticky
[14:28]: so i'm just trying to save my peanuts
[14:30]: because we don't have
[14:32]: enough for
[14:33]: a full recipe i think
[14:35]: left
[14:36]: so i'm going to go ahead and add
[14:39]: these back into this
[14:43]: at which point
[14:48]: we're going to cook this at
[14:50]: medium
[14:51]: until i think it's just sugar
[14:58]: you can see this is
[15:01]: close to a burnt caramel color
[15:06]: it is real close so it's a little bit
[15:08]: more caramelized than
[15:10]: he wants it to be
[15:13]: so i'm about to call this done
[15:16]: um
[15:17]: i had to do some extra magic on it
[15:21]: but i think we'll be okay they might be
[15:23]: a little bit sticky
[15:25]: i don't think they're gonna
[15:28]: dry all that well
[15:30]: turn the heat off
[15:32]: i'm supposed to take it off the heat i
[15:34]: will as soon as i add this and we're
[15:35]: adding
[15:36]: all of our spice mixture
[15:38]: [Music]
[15:39]: stirring this in
[15:46]: smells spicy
[15:50]: and
[15:52]: i've got a prepared baking sheet with
[15:55]: parchment paper you could do a silicone
[15:57]: baking mat if you want but you want to
[15:60]: put it out on the baking sheet
[16:03]: spread it out
[16:04]: to dry
[16:06]: and then once it's cooled
[16:11]: you can break up any clumps
[16:14]: so i'm gonna spread this out as best i
[16:16]: can and we're gonna hope that we did an
[16:19]: okay job here uh you are supposed to
[16:23]: serve these
[16:24]: with the fried anchovies on top they're
[16:27]: just sort of a garnish
[16:29]: you can keep them separately
[16:32]: for
[16:33]: up to two weeks and then um serve them
[16:38]: at airtight containers and then serve
[16:41]: them you know whenever you are
[16:43]: ready to do so but we will
[16:46]: let you know how we did
[16:48]: and what we think of the flavor uh in
[16:50]: just a minute
[16:52]: [Music]
[16:59]: on this episode of cooking the books
[17:01]: with heather you watch me make spicy
[17:03]: crispy peanuts from
[17:06]: brandon ju and tianlon ho's
[17:09]: mr jews in chinatown which is our first
[17:11]: recipe that we have made from this book
[17:15]: and
[17:15]: i have to say it lives up to its name it
[17:17]: is pretty spicy although i probably
[17:20]: could have crumbled my fried chilies a
[17:23]: bit better to make it a little bit more
[17:26]: evenly spicy but sometimes you got a
[17:29]: piece of that and it was
[17:31]: very very spicy um
[17:33]: [Music]
[17:35]: so
[17:37]: that was on me i think some of mine
[17:38]: might have not been
[17:40]: fried quite enough so it wasn't quite as
[17:42]: crispy so it didn't crumble quite as
[17:44]: well so i might take a little more
[17:46]: effort
[17:48]: um next time and i probably will be
[17:50]: making these again because my husband
[17:51]: did like them um quite a lot
[17:54]: i might be
[17:55]: taking a little bit more effort next
[17:57]: time to crumble them before i mix them
[17:59]: with everything else because then it
[18:00]: just kind of got harder to pull out
[18:02]: pieces so
[18:04]: that's something i would do
[18:06]: different
[18:07]: another thing i would do different i did
[18:09]: have a
[18:11]: bit of a time getting the
[18:13]: sugar to caramelize properly to sort of
[18:15]: melt properly and i think it's because i
[18:17]: chose a pan that was
[18:19]: too
[18:21]: thin not wide enough so next time i
[18:23]: would choose a pan that's whiter maybe
[18:25]: more of a
[18:27]: single layer of the ingredients
[18:29]: maybe at max two layers of the
[18:31]: ingredients um
[18:34]: because my
[18:35]: sugar was
[18:37]: starting to burn without really
[18:40]: melting together because i think the
[18:42]: heat was just too uneven on the the
[18:44]: peanuts and the layers so i would do
[18:47]: that differently
[18:48]: it is kind of difficult to find some of
[18:51]: these ingredients so the
[18:53]: dried small anchovies i definitely had
[18:56]: to go to either order online or
[18:59]: go to a local
[19:02]: asian market which i did do
[19:05]: but other than that everything else i
[19:06]: was able to find
[19:08]: more locally or at pe like i got the
[19:10]: sichuan peppercorns i had those already
[19:13]: um from another recipe that i made a
[19:15]: while back um but i got those at pensies
[19:19]: which there was a store here it's closed
[19:21]: whatever
[19:22]: um
[19:23]: so and the arbol chili's i think i had
[19:25]: to order those online
[19:27]: um
[19:29]: so it's a little more difficult to find
[19:31]: your your standard american grocery
[19:34]: store may not have all of the
[19:36]: ingredients you need for that
[19:38]: you can probably do without the
[19:39]: anchovies as a garnish on top but they
[19:42]: were a really nice um
[19:45]: umami sort of addition to it a little
[19:48]: bit of the briny
[19:49]: ocean fishy taste to add to the
[19:53]: sweet spicy nuts
[19:56]: i liked it i'd do it again
[19:58]: but
[19:59]: you know it's something you could leave
[20:01]: off if it's if it's not something that
[20:03]: you think you would enjoy although
[20:05]: they're fried they're crispy
[20:08]: they're pretty good i enjoyed them
[20:11]: so yeah
[20:12]: if you
[20:13]: if you follow the instructions and use a
[20:16]: large saucepan it might be a little bit
[20:17]: easier so
[20:19]: i will definitely be making these again
[20:20]: and i'll let you know if that works
[20:22]: better i had to save mine by sort of
[20:25]: adding a little water
[20:27]: and then
[20:28]: um
[20:29]: dissolving the sugar again
[20:32]: after it had caramelized it did set up
[20:35]: and it was not sticky so that worked
[20:38]: thankfully i didn't have to redo
[20:39]: everything um
[20:42]: so
[20:44]: you know it was it was a little dicey
[20:46]: but it might have been me not following
[20:48]: the directions entire
[20:51]: so
[20:52]: but if you enjoyed watching me make this
[20:53]: please give me a thumbs up hit the
[20:55]: subscribe button and come back and watch
[20:57]: me make something else next week
[20:59]: [Music]