Sri Lankan Spiced Nuts for the Holidays

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Last week we looked at DIY shortbread as a Christmas or Hanukkah gift, a small token of love, thanks or gratitude, a tasteful and tasty expression of good cheer. And today we’re looking at another classic little holiday gift, a small jar of mixed nuts. But these are no ordinary mixed nuts!


If this is you at Christmas, read on!

If this is you at Christmas, read on!


This is the perfect time of year for this classic gift, and making a big batch of spiced nuts will cover all those hard-to-please friends without sending you into the poorhouse. There are many recipes out there, just a few clicks away. Everyone from Martha Stewart to The Barefoot Contessa seems to have had a go at spicing up their nuts. Many recipes are either too bland, or too hot, or overly sweet. But there is one magic recipe for spiced nuts that is just about perfect; our favourite recipe for spiced nuts comes from our friend, Chef Segar Kulasegarampillai, who made these amazing spiced nuts for us every winter. The exotic, aromatic spices in this recipe reflect Segar’s Sri Lankan upbringing and offer a spicy, savoury and sweet taste of his homeland.


The smell of these roasting in the oven is almost too much!

The smell of these roasting in the oven is almost too much!


After much cajoling and bartering, we managed to wrest the recipe from him. Sadly, Segar passed away a few years ago, so we make these every year in his honour, and present it to you in the hopes that you will share this delightful treat and continue this tradition of good cheer.  This recipe makes 3 pounds of nuts, or 12 portions of ¼ pound “gifts,” but of course, you can adjust the recipe to suit your needs.


dig in!

dig in!


Sri Lankan Spiced Nuts

Yield: 3 pounds, portion: .25 pounds, # of portions: 12


2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup water

1.5  tablespoons ground cardamom

1.5 tablespoons ground coriander

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1/2 tablespoon cayenne

1/2 tablespoon turmeric

1/2  tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground clove

1 tsp ground allspice

1 tsp five spice powder

1 lb cashews

1 lb pecans*

1/2 lb whole blanched hazelnuts

1/2 lb whole blanched almonds

*Soak pecans in boiling hot water for 15 minutes before roasting



Preheat oven to 325 degrees F

1) Make a syrup with brown sugar and water: in a non-reactive pot over medium heat fully dissolve brown sugar in water. Set aside.

2) Combine all spices, mix thoroughly and set aside.

3) Lightly roast nuts  by spreading nuts evenly on cookie sheet(s) and roasting for about 12-15 minutes.

4) Remove from oven and immediately toss nuts with syrup in a large bowl, adding spice mixture as you toss.

5) Cool nuts on baking sheets lines with parchment paper, separating any nuts that may clump together. Let totally dry on a shelf, or even in the oven for a day or two, then portion into jars.



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