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I believe you are familiar with roasted peanuts, but have you ever tried boiled peanuts? It's a popular snack in many Asian countries, Western Africa and Southern U.S., especially in South Carolina. In this post, I'll introduce you to this hearty vegetarian snack.

Peanuts are also known as groundnuts and earthnuts, as they grow in the soil. Other names are monkey nuts, goober peas and pindars. The peanut pods grow from the roots of the small peanut bush. The pods are beige and normally have 1-4 seeds.

Boiled Peanuts In Thai

A general term for nuts, peas and legumes in Thai is tua while tom means to boil, so boiled peanuts is called tua tom. The peanuts are boiled up to 3 hours. When it starts to boil, some salt is added to enhance the flavor. Although Thais call it tua tom, some vendors actually steam the peanuts.

Peanut Varieties

Boiled peanuts is a popular snack in Thailand.

There are a few varieties of peanuts that are used for boiling, but it can be somewhat difficult to pick up on the subtle differences. However, it's easy to tell the breeds with small pods, which are more common, from the breeds with large pods. The pods of the small peanuts have roundish edges, while the large peanuts have thicker pods with sharper edges.

In Thailand, large peanut pods are less common than small pods.

The texture of the small and large peanuts are quite similar, yet it changes with maturity and cooking times. The mature peanuts are big and have darker colors, often dark purple, while the young peanuts are small and off-white. The longer the peanuts are boiled, the more tender they get. If the meat is crunchy, it means that the peanuts are undercooked.

There is not much difference in taste. However, some people say that the breeds with small pods taste a bit sweeter, while the breeds with large pods have a richer flavor.

Health Benefits

Boiled peanuts are full of nutrients such as protein, vitamin B-complex, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. More importantly, it is low in saturated fat, high in monounsaturated fat and water soluble fiber. In addition, it's rich in antioxidants.

Where To Buy

A street vendor who sells peanuts in Thailand.

You are most likely to find freshly boiled peanuts at night markets and weekly markets. The night markets are open daily from about 5-9 p.m., while the weekly markets are open in the afternoons. A lot of times, peanut vendors also sell other boiled vegetables such as corn and sweet potato. If you are not going to the market, you may find vendors who sell boiled peanuts on the sidewalk or at gas stations.

At touristy places, peanut vendors often sell boiled eggs or quail eggs as well. The quail eggs are just one-fifth of the size of a chicken egg.

The peanuts are sold in plastic bags for about 10-20 baht each.

Suggested Reading:   Weekly Local Markets   Thai Night Market

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