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Strange-flavor Peanuts    (printer friendly)
In Sichuan cooking, there are 23 basic "flavors". Strange-flavor is described as salty, sweet, numbing, hot, sour, savory and fragrant. These nuts are caramelized and predominantly sweet with some notes of hot, numbing and sour.

Strange-flavor Peanuts1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground, toasted sichuan pepper
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
8 oz roasted, salted peanuts

1. Combine the chili powder and sichuan pepper in a small dish.

2. Put the sugar and 1/3 cup of water into a medium pot and place over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Then clip on a candy thermometer and turn up the heat to high. Boil, without stirring until the liquid reaches 250 F. Remove from heat and carefully stir in the spices and vinegar. Stir well and then add the peanuts.

3. Stir vigorously to coat the nuts in the syrup, then turn out onto parchment paper or a baking sheet. Separate nuts so that they don't clump together. Wait until cool before serving or storing. May be made ahead and stored in an airtight container for several weeks.