When I was a about 6, I remember my family driving up to Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, and on the way, we would stop at all the wonderful places for good eats. As a kid, I was only into fried foods and steamed fish back then, but I do remember the snacks. And there were some yummy snacks along the way that made quite an impression on my mind.
One of the many wonderful treats was chestnuts. I remembered the little stall with a gigantic wok that was burned black from use, and they were half filled with black aromatic little black beans that dad later told me were coffee beans, and the chestnuts were tossed around these coffee beans over a hot fire til they were cooked. The vendor or chestnut man as I called him, would vigorously stir the contents on the wok, and there would be a younger person with him taking orders and scooping out the cooked chestnuts into a paper bag. Then I would watch my dad gingerly grab a hot chestnut as he tried to peel off the shell and skin for me. Thank heaven for parents catering to us.
So when I saw the pile of chestnut at the asian market yesterday, I couldn't help but scoop up a couple of handfuls to try. And I after I came home, I was wondering how to prepare it. Should I roast it on an open fire? No, too risky, and I might just burn the house down. Besides I don't really have an open fire, just gas fireplaces.
Should I do the coffee beans trick? Seem like such a waste for great Hawaiian coffee beans.
Should I microwave it? That's a thought! So I cut a cross on top of 3 (my lucky number) chestnuts, placed it on a paper plate, put them in the microwave for 1 minute and dashed to the other side of the room with the kids just in case it explodes!
Well, there was no explosion (thankfully), and the chestnuts looked adorable with their shells curved outward where the slits were cut (above pic). Two were cooked and the other slightly undercooked. May have to tweak the power on my microwave and try this again. Or maybe I'll try the candied, boiled or coffee bean roasted versions after I get hold of some inexpensive coffee beans next.
Have you ever microwaved a chestnut?
What's your favorite way to enjoy chestnuts?