Recipe: chinese sweet peanut soup
Skiers know when it’s going to be a bad summer. We knew this back in March and April when we were skiing snirt (snow-dirt) instead of snorkeling hip-deep powder. A paltry snowpack has big implications for the wildfire season. We’ve been hoping against it all winter, dreading it all spring. That summer solstice cooldown was merely a tease. The current full-on heat wave has been dealing triple digits to the plains and temperatures in the 90s here at 8500 feet. That is hot. Unusually hot. Terribly hot. Fire fighters are playing whack-a-mole around Colorado as wildfires spring up and grow with a ravenous appetite, fed by drought and these hot, dry conditions. And it’s only June.
grateful when the sun goes down (little clouds casting long shadows)
if only those bad boys would deliver on the rain
Despite the weather, I hosted a tea party this past weekend. In the tradition of our stitch-n-bitch crew which hasn’t knit a single stitch in the last 3 years of gatherings, we had a tea party where not a one had a cup of tea. Figures, right? It was just too damn hot. The ladies opted for a lavender lemonade, strawberry soda, mimosa, or good old ice water.
plenty of delicious noms
For the uninitiated, it’s a curious thing to witness the routine of (my) food pals greeting one another. They squeal or tilt their heads and sing, “Hiiiiiiiiiiiii!” with arms outstretched for hugs and kisses, but hands full of stuff. What stuff, you may ask? It’s practically a swap meet when we congregate. We make food things or hunt down cool finds and we gift them to our friends. I’m realizing more and more that people who don’t engage in this behavior are just plain missing out on some serious love. I received two jars of homemade kimchi, homemade Greek yogurt with cherries, homemade Indian lemon pickles, foraged cattail pollen (!!), foraged black currants, an elderberry rose hips elixir (foraged, of course) for Jeremy who was feeling under the weather, handcrafted caramels, and Fresh Paper for extending the life of produce (organically).
Oh, and my pal, Kat, brought me a tin of Lyle’s Golden Syrup so I wouldn’t have to make imposter (aka Yankee) ANZAC biscuits anymore! The only thing I could imagine being more fun than a food gang is if all of my friends were Patagonia distributers… right?!?!
In this ass hot heat, I only want to eat cold things. Every now and again, you can find me searching for something in the freezer and then suddenly plunging both arms into said freezer just for a few seconds of relief. If I had a walk-in freezer, I would indeed be walking in. A few months ago (this heat has been getting to me since we rose above 60°F) I had a hankering for a soup I used to love when I was a kid. Soup? Yes, soup. You can have it hot or cold and I’m sure you can guess how I’ve been enjoying it. I found a recipe on Bee’s site that looked absolutely perfect.
start with peanuts
and soak them overnight
Use unsalted peanuts, because this is a sweet peanut soup. I just happened to have a ton of peanuts in the shell leftover from the Lunar New Year. Don’t worry if you can’t get the skins off the peanuts, because when you soak them in water overnight, the peanut skins slip right off the next morning. After removing the skins, give the peanuts a rinse and then drain them.
place peanuts and fresh water in a pressure cooker
yes, a pressure cooker (set on high)
Do you need a pressure cooker to make this soup? I don’t know. I imagine you could boil the hell out of it over the HOT STOVE in THE HEAT OF SUMMER for HOURS ON END, but a pressure cooker really is the way to go. It’s faster, more energy efficient, and does an incredible job of turning the peanuts into the softest, silkiest, mush of peanutty goodness. The relationship between pressure and temperature for a constant volume is a beautiful one indeed. I love my pressure cooker and use it often. I’ve named mine Pascal.
when the soup is done cooking
add some sugar to taste
and a little coconut milk for creaminess
I’ve had this served hot as a dessert in some Chinese restaurants, but I can’t even wrap my brain around that right now. When chilled, the soup is a creamy, nutty, sweet treat in summer that isn’t too heavy. Have it whichever way you prefer. I especially like Bee’s addition of coconut milk, as dairy milk sends my insides into a tizzy. Chinese sweet peanut soup is simple and delightfully good.
a perfect little bowl of cold sweet soup for cooling off
full of silky soft peanuts
Chinese Sweet Peanut Soup
from Nyonya Food
12 oz. peanuts, shelled
8 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbsps coconut milk
Soak the peanuts in a large bowl of water overnight and make sure none are sticking out of the water. If there are skins on the peanuts, they will come off after soaking them. When done soaking, rinse the peanuts and drain all of the excess water off. Place the peanuts in a pressure cooker and add the 8 cups of water. Pressure cook the peanuts and on high heat for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 30-40 additional minutes. Remove from heat and let the pressure cooker cool naturally (natural release). Remove the lid of the pressure cooker and heat the soup over medium heat. Add sugar to taste. The peanuts should be completely soft after all of that time in the pressure cooker. If they aren’t, let them boil until they reach a creamy fall-apart texture. Add coconut milk and let the soup return to a boil for a minute. Remove from heat. You can either serve it hot or let it cool and serve it chilled. Serves 6-8.