Disco nuts

Whenever we visit a roadside warung my son Otto rushes to pore through the baskets filled with locally made crunchy snacks. Once he returned jubilantly with a sachet of spice-crusted peanuts with aromatic shards of fried lime leaves. There was no looking back; these are the most addictive snack ever. That they are sometimes called disco nuts doubles the joy!


  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2-4 bird’s eye chillies, roughly chopped
  • 10 lime leaves, deveined and torn
  • 1 generous teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg white
  • 40 g (scant ¼ cup) sugar
  • 250 g ( cups) roasted peanuts
  • 225 g ( cups) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • oil, for deep-frying


Using a pestle and mortar, pound together the garlic, chillies, lime leaves and salt - the leaves will stay in large pieces.

In a large bowl whisk the egg white until frothy. Whisk in the sugar, then the pounded spices.

Add the peanuts, turning them in the egg white, then dust over the flour and baking powder. Stir until just coated, adding 3-4 tablespoons water to help the batter bind to the nuts. Break up any large clumps.

Heat 5 cm (2 inches) of oil until hot enough for bubbles to form around the handle of a wooden spoon. Add the nuts in two or three batches and fry until crisp and deep golden. Stir regularly as they fry, again breaking up clumps. Don’t worry if nuts float free from the batter - these are good too. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Cool completely before eating and store in an airtight jar for up to 4 weeks.