Payesh & Fried Cashews

Recipes adapted from Biting through the Skin, Nina Mukerjee Furstenau on April 26, 2014.

Payesh (rice or vermicelli pudding)
serves 6-8

1/2 gallon whole milk
2 tablespoons vermicelli noodles (1″ diameter bunch) or a handful of uncooked rice
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds or pistachios
3/4 cup granulated sugar or 3/4 cup palm sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a deep, heavy-bottomed pan, bring the milk to a low boil. If you are using rice, add it after 10 minutes and continue to boil on medium-low heat until the milk has reduced to half its volume.  You will need to stir every two minutes to prevent scorching and to break the skin to allow evaporation.  Once the milk is reduced, usually after about 30-45 minutes, add raisins, almonds and vermicelli (if you have not used rice earlier).  Add sugar and cook until dissolved, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, cool and add vanilla.

Party-popping Fried Cashews

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound raw cashews
1/4 teaspoon salt to taste
black pepper to taste

Heat an eight- to 10-inch frying pan over medium high heat. Add oil, then stir in all the cashews. Continious stir-fry until medium brown, which may take 6-8 minutes. You may need to adjust heat to make sure they do not burn. Drain nuts on paper towel lined colander, sprinkle with salt and lots of fresh ground pepper, and slide them onto a serving plate. Fantastic served warm. Note: For an event, these can be kept warm in a slow cooker set to low.