We continue our adventure to discover Filipino cuisine, and adobong mani, garlic-fried peanuts, will be my second recipe this month.
It is pronounced “ah-doh-bong mah-nee” and, if there was a contest to elect the number one street food in the Philippines, adobong mani would be the clear winner!
The Filipinos consider adobong mani a major source of nutrients that can boost brain power. In the Philippines, you can buy them at all street corners. The peanuts are presented with or without the skin according to your taste.
There is always a seller of adobong mani hiding in the streets, carrying a large bilao which is a flat, shallow bamboo round basket lined with banana leaves or old newspaper. The peanuts are served in brown paper bags whose price is determined by their size.
Adobong! Does it remind you anything? Adobo of course! This emblematic main dish of Filipino cuisine that Mike prepared a few days ago. He explained to us that the word adobo came from the Spanish word adobar, which means marinade or sauce.
What if we talked about peanuts?
Peanut is a fruit that grows beneath the ground. Its flower grows in the sun, but in order to mature, the stem bends towards the ground and disappears underground. The Germans call it “Earth acorn”(erdeichel) or “Earth nut “(erdnuss).
Let’s trace the origin of this South American plant. One of the first known objects that testifies to the human consumption of this fruit is a pre-Columbian vase discovered in Peru. It actually had the shape of a peanut.
During the same period, this fruit came to Europe, with the Spanish conquistadors. Some of them who saw peanuts for the first time in South America realized that they were an excellent source of food for their travels. So they imported some to Europe.
In Spanish however, it’s called cacahuete (as in French). The word comes from cacaguate, from Aztec word tlacacahuatl, associating the words tlalli meaning “earth”, and cacahuatl meaning “cocoa”. For the Aztecs, peanut was therefore subterranean cocoa bean. For Portuguese, it is an almond, and for Germans, it is a nut.
But is it really a nut? Well, not really ! Its English name “peanut” can help answer the question. But no, it’s not a nut!
Imagine that the peanut is actually a cousin of the white bean. Yes, it is a legume! Hence the “pea” in peanuts! Its Latin name is arachis, which gave their other name in French and Italian (arachide).
But the peanut today also means “nothing” as in “it’s worth peanuts”!
The basic recipe of adobong mani, which I chose to prepare, is a non-spicy version. But you can always add siluy labuyo, a Filipino green hot pepper, or Thai chili sauce if you like to eat spicy.
I love peanuts, whether in savory or sweet recipes. You should try some of the recipes I already shared with you on 196 flavors, such as Sudanese peanut maracons, pastellaki from Cyprus, chicken palava from Liberia or this excellent Vietnamese salad called bò tái chanh.
Here is the quickest and easiest recipe I have ever featured on the blog. Very crispy and garlicky, these peanuts were excellent!
- 2 lb peanuts , with or without skin
- 1 head of garlic
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 cups vegetable oil to fry
Peel all the garlic cloves.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet. When the oil is hot, over medium-high heat, dip the garlic cloves and fry until they turn golden brown.
Remove the garlic and set aside.
Fry the peanuts over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. This should take about 10 minutes.
Drain the peanuts in a sieve and season with salt.