These walnuts are my father’s favorite snack. He likes to start his meals with them—even breakfast. These light, crunchy, candied, and sesame-coated walnuts can be found in almost every Cantonese restaurant, most commonly in the popular shrimp stir-fry with walnuts. I also use them as a topping for ice cream sundaes.
CHEF’S TIP: Boiling the walnuts in salted water first results in the lightest candied walnuts. They become so crisp and crumbly they seen almost hollow.
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
Make Ahead RecipeYes
OccasionBuffet, Cocktail Party
Recipe Coursedessert, snack
Dietary Considerationdessert, snack
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturecrunchy, light, nutty, sweet
Type of Dishdessert
- 2½ cups (9 7/8 ounces/280 grams) walnut halves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (5 ounces/140 grams) sugar
- Canola or vegetable oil, or other neutral oil for deep-frying
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon maltose or additional honey
- ¼ cup white sesame seeds
Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the walnuts and salt and boil for 5 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold running water, and drain again.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or foil. Put the sugar and drained walnuts in the same saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the walnuts have a thick, shiny, sticky coating of melted sugar, about 2 minutes. The melted sugar should still be clear, not caramelized or browned. Spread the walnuts out on the baking sheet in a single layer and let cool and dry for 10 minutes.
Fill a saucepan with oil to a depth of 2 inches and heat the oil to 300°F. When the oil is ready, add the walnuts and fry, carefully stirring constantly, until crisp and golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer the walnuts to a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl and blot dry with paper towels. Let dry completely in the sieve. Set the baking sheet aside.
Put 2 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, then stir in the honey and maltose until well blended. Add the walnuts and sesame seeds and stir well to coat. Transfer to the lined baking sheet and cool completely. The nuts can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
2007 Pichet Ong