Event: BM #44, Around the world (A - Z Series)
Choice of Country: The Eastern Republic of Uruguay
Capital City: Montevideo
Official Language: Spanish
It is the turn of alphabet 'U' today in the "Around the World in 30 days", an alphabetical based global culinary tour. I chose to go to Uruguay, a southeastern nation of South America for a yummy treat. The Uruguayan cuisine is heavily influenced by European cooking, especially from Italy, Spain, Portugal and France. The European pastas, sausage and desserts are commonly found in Uruguay. The most famous and exquisite dish from this nation is asado - a grilled version of beef and nation's beverage is mate (pronounced maa-tay). These garrapiñadas are a favorite streetfood among Uruguayans.
Garrapiñadas pronounced 'Gur-ra-pin-yaadas', are nothing but caramelized nuts with a hint of vanilla, when simply put. This recipe is very popular in Uruguay though the recipe is shared by Argentina as well. This yummy treat is very commonly sold in small bags in the shape of tubes on the streets of Uruguay. Maní in the recipe title refers to the peanuts used. Peanuts can be replaced with almonds, hazelnuts and so on. The almond ones are called almendras garrapiñadas. Honestly, I didn't realize that I was preparing candied nuts until I tasted them. I buy candied nuts now and then for my kids, especially during holiday season when one can't avoid noticing them at stores, in beautiful tins and bags. I had no idea that preparing them at home would be so easy and the only skill you need for this yummy preparation is stirring. :) And these were a hit with my kids.
The sugar syrup formed during the cooking process is let to undergo a 'sugar inversion' while making garrapiñadas. When the sugar syrup is cooked further, the sugar recrystallizes leaving behind the nuts with a sugar coating. And next the sugar caramelizes, creating a crunchy, sweet texture that is characteristic of garrapiñadas. It was fun making them and seeing the sugar recrystallize in front of my eyes.
1 cup roasted, skinned peanuts
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 to 2 tsp vanilla
* Heat sugar and water in a wide, non-stick pan.
* Keep stirring the mixture until all the sugar melts.
* Next add peanuts and vanilla to the pan and keep stirring occasionally for the next 6 - 7 minutes. However keep an eye on the pan even though you are not stirring.
* You will start to notice white foam after cooking for about 3 minutes (that is after the sugar has melted.). The below image is after 5 minutes of cooking.
* After 10 minutes of cooking, you notice that the syrup has thickened and is all foamy. Turn off the stove at this point.
* Stir continuously for few seconds and you would notice sugar recrystallizing back and all the peanuts are covered with a sugar coating. Also there would be lumps of dry sugar.
* Cook only until the syrup turns an amber color but not beyond where the syrup/peanuts may burn.