Spicy peanut butter
( MAKES 500g )
Photo by Tam West
Why make peanut butter yourself? Perfection. Satisfaction. Bragging rights. So easy to cleanup. Well the first three are true but hey, making a bit of a mess in the kitchen is often great fun.
After concocting my own for a few years I’ve found a great way to get the best partnership of crunchy bits and smoothness — do these as two separate runs in your food processor then combine the results (I like a 50/50 mix). Adding a bit of peanut oil makes the smooth part work, it may take a little longer than you expect but the wait is worth it. If you alter the crunchy to smooth ratio you’ll probably want to use a bit more or less peanut oil.
Choosing good peanuts makes all the difference, believe me when I say you can’t make nice peanut butter from stale peanuts. I find the plain-pack ones in the foil bags at the supermarket work well, they’re usually nicely roasted, fresh tasting and crunchy. A good tip here is to leave out any excess salt from the bottom of the bag unless you really love it salty. My current fave is a smoky hot version with paprika and chilli, but I think there’s a lot of scope for creativity here. It’s a bit like craft beer in that we’ve had plain peanut butter for years and suddenly the door is open for new ideas and new flavours: Darkness of roast, peanut origin, skins or not, these are all waiting to be explored...
- First of all, fill the sink with hot soapy water ready for the cleanup!
- Put half of the roasted peanuts in a food processor and blitz just long enough to break them up into the sort of pieces you’ve always wanted to find in your peanut butter. Tip these into a bowl.
- Place the remaining peanuts in the food processor with the oil, paprika and chilli and process until you have areally smooth result — in my food processor this takes 4 minutes.
- Add this smooth part to the waiting crunchy nuts. Use a silicone spatula to help you get it all out. Mix well and store in the pantry in a glass or plastic container.
You can roast the peanuts a little darker if you like. Set the oven to around 170C fan bake, shake and check them every 10 minutes, breaking a few open to see how dark they are inside.
Kashmiri chilli is a bright red chilli powder with a rich, warm taste. Available from Indian grocers. Substitute with a mix of paprika and cayenne for smoky flavour and heat.