Shatteringly crisp, nutty, salty, a fragrant citrus hit from coriander seed and lime leaves, and the lingering warmth of black pepper. This is everything you could hope for in a snack. Kaki lima vendors will deftly ladle batter straight into a vat of oil, expertly letting it slide down the edges to set, then shuffling it into the bubbling centre for a final crisping. I go for the foolproof method of cooking on the base of a frying pan.
Fire Islands by Eleanor Ford (Murdoch Books, £25). Photography by Kristin Perers
Ingredients for the crackers
- Chop the raw peanuts in half – a bit of a fiddle but it helps the batter hold them better.
- In a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic, candlenut or almonds, coriander seeds and salt to a paste. Mix with the rice flour and gradually add 100 ml (scant ½ cup) water, whisking as you go to make a very thin batter. Sprinkle in the peanuts, black pepper and lime leaves.
- Heat 3 cm (1¼ inches) of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. When hot enough for bubbles to form around the handle of a wooden spoon, swirl in tablespoons of the batter, making round discs and trying to spread the lime leaves and peanuts among each. They will rise towards the surface when ready to turn. Flip, colour the bases and flip again for a final crisping. Remove when crisp and light golden. Leave to drain on paper towels whilst you fry the rest.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.