This is going to be one smoky nutty post lol. Now, down to my clothes is smelling of roasted cashew nuts. Maybe if you could, you would smell the roasted cashew nut scent on my camera, haha! All joke aside though, this is a very nostalgic post since roasting cashew nuts was a common pastime as a boy growing up in the valley. Part of this was due to the huge cashew tree on the compound of my Primary school.
It was a sight to behold. The cashew tree towered over the field with veiny, muscular branches, held taut in a bodybuilder pose. But that old man of a tree seemed to be there forever; timeless, unchanging, while life continued uninterrupted all around it.
The ants, the termites and the wasps all made a home on and around the gentle giant. One had to be careful when approaching the tree or just passing by because the ants defended their territory mercilessly. Try climbing the thick trunk and you would be sure to be reminded whose tree it really was.
Then there were the termites; they built very large black nests on a thick branch somewhere high away from prying hands. Their long trails vined up and around the whole of the tree. We liked to interfere with the trails just to see the termites ( woodlice) scamper aimlessly until they got the trail again. Of course the smell wasn't something you would want on your uniform lol.
Then there were the ants we called "cocoa ants". They were black and when killed exuded a sweet stink odour you wouldn't want to come home reeking of . The cocoa ants didn't sting but surely made up for that with their pincers and overall "stinky sweet" smell. These ants, usually, would be found living in the termite nests. Somehow I believed they were sort of parasitic and killed off the termites and over took the nest for their own.
Sometimes you would encounter an ant I never liked. Red ants were very tiny, but again you would get an itchy reminder of their presence. Their sting didn't hurt but itched like hell. But, with all these obstacles (and I didn't even mention the Jack Spaniards) even us as boys couldn't help ourselves when cashew season came around.
From the time we spotted a ripe cashew on the tree it was war. From young mango; to pieces of wood, the boys would attack the Cashew tree until it surrendered its bounty. When that didn't work, we used an improvised bamboo rod. Sometimes we threw stones but took care that no one was within the firing range lol. We ate the fruit as is (straight from the tree), or made a chow when someone brought salt and pepper to school in a piece of foil. But that was just half the story.
The other half had to do with the actual cashew nut. After eating the fruit we collected the nuts and dried them. We roasted them at some future date. My neighbour, since they had a large tree in their yard, religiously collected, dried and roasted the cashew nuts over an open fire in his backyard. Smoke spewed and enveloped the whole area when he roasted cashew nuts and added to that you had to look out for the random cashew nut squirting its oil. All the more reason to use a long rod to turn it.
Roasting Cashew Nuts
I remember the first time I roasted cashew nuts at home. The oil from the cashew blistered my hands and the skin peeled a few days after. Never me again, I had thought to myself.
But the lure of roasting the nut and the excitement involved, especially when you're among friends, always hooked me. After many an adventure in roasting cashew nuts, now I know better to rub some oil on your hands before attempting to crack the nut. No more blistered hands.
Anyhow that's just a little snippet of my experience. I'm sure some of you would have similar stories lol. Here's how to roast cashew nuts..
Traditionally we used some thin sheet of metal perforated with holes.
Here we're fashioning one out of a piece of roofing material. The holes are made with
a large nail. Then bend the sides.
I really had to endure the smoke and flames to capture the cashew nuts, but it was worth it.
You should also note I oiled my hands properly. No blisters days after!
More Recipes to come!
Well that's it for a long overdue post lol. Much more recipes pumping out from De Trini recipe factory for Christmas. Coming at you faster than a speeding snail haha! Hold on to your socks, stockings or toes if yuh bare feet. We comin' at yuh lol
So what am I up to? Well, a few years ago if you all can remember this post I was very busy with the Parang Band that I joined. Now that we have become a bit more seasoned, we are in more demand so I don't get the time to post now that we're paranging throughout the year. So, we will try to post a few recipes when we get the time. OK ! That's all for now.
Ah gone 🙂