In the past few years, pistachios have inched their way towards the top of my “favorite snacks” list. This is mostly due to their unique flavor paired with the “fun” aspect of cracking the nut easily out of the shell. These spicy curry pistachios have recently become my evening go-to snack with a glass of crisp white wine.
Before making my favorite snack list, the only time I ate any type of pistachio was thanks to a local bakery that made stellar baklava. Other than that, I kept my distance until one fateful hike.
I was out with my parents and upon stopping for a snack, I searched my backpack only to realize my snack (probably an almond/dried fruit mix) was still sitting on the counter. My mother had packed a bag full of pistachios and offered to share. With baklava as my only frame of reference, I was highly skeptical at first, but after the first few, I couldn’t stop eating. I’m fairly certain my mother had to not-so-politely yank them out of my hands.
Now my husband and I can’t get enough pistachios. This love for pistachios has only grown since moving to Northern California. The Whole Foods near us sells pistachios, in a variety of flavors, from a local pistachio farm, and every week I buy at least three pounds of unshelled pistachios. I prefer the chili-lime while my husband loves the salt and pepper pistachios. The nuts provide a flavorful, yet healthy snack that I can grab as needed.
In terms of homemade flavorings, I’ve been wanting to try pairing pistachios with curry (which is up there as one of my favorite flavors). These roasted pistachios are one area where a general, store-bought curry powder will work just fine or I’ll often pick up a few different blends from a spice shop. Occasionally, If I have all the powdered spices on hand, I’ll blend one together. I like to use mild, salt-free blends so that I can control the heat and salt levels.
When I roast pistachios at home, I typically roast them out of their shell. The flavors stick to the nut better and I almost always have a bag of raw, shelled pistachios hanging around in the cupboards. However, my husband loves pistachios still in the shell, so I tested this recipe with both. The unshelled roasted pistachios are a bit more lower key in flavor compared to the shelled only because the seasoning is more on the shell than on the pistachio meat. However, the unshelled, I think, are more fun to eat. (But just watch out — these stain your fingers!) Raw pistachios, both in and out of the shell, can be found in bulk bins at Whole Foods or in packages at Trader Joe’s.
Serves 6 to 8
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon unsalted, mild curry powder blend
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Zest from 1 lime
1 1/2 cups raw pistachio meat or raw pistachios in the shell (See Recipe Note)
1 tablespoon cane sugar
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Combine the brown rice syrup, coconut oil, lime juice, curry powder, sea salt, cayenne, and lime zest in a small sauce pan. Warm over low heat, stirring frequently, until the coconut oil has melted and everything is well combined.
Place the pistachios in a bowl and pour the hot curry seasoning over nuts. Toss with a spatula or spoon until the nuts are fully coated. Spread the seasoned nuts onto a parchment-lined baking tray. Roast the nuts for about 25 minutes, stirring once at halfway mark, until the coating looks baked on and dry.
Remove nuts from oven and sprinkle with cane sugar. Let them cool completely then break apart and transfer to an airtight container.
- Omit salt if unable to find a salt-free curry blend.
- For unshelled pistachios, I double the recipe
(Image credits: Erin Alderson)