ASIAN-STYLE CHEX MIX
I can remember eating Chex Mix by the handful as a kid. Seems like wherever there was a birthday party there was bound to be a bowl of the stuff lying around, just waiting to get picked over by the ravenous scores of children in attendance. I mean, the mix was usually devoured within moments of being put out on the table, which meant that by the time I had a chance to do my own digging, the only things left were those dehydrated, brown croutons and a few broken pretzel pieces lying at the bottom of the bowl — certainly not anyone’s favorite components, but damn good, salty snacking nonetheless.
These days, I’m not being invited to as many five-year-old’s birthday parties as I once was, and by default, haven’t been eating as much party mix. However, after coming across a recipe for an updated, Asian riff on the classic snack mix in a recent Food & Wine Magazine, I decided it was time to get back in touch with my inner child and get down 0n s0me party mix.
This stuff is as addictive as the mix sold in bags at the grocery store, only with a whole lot more of the items you’ve always wished you’d find inside of them. Cashews, almonds, pistachios, pretzels, sesame sticks, Asian rice crackers and Chex cereal all get coated in a mix of pure maple syrup, soy sauce and fragrant Thai curry paste for spicy, salty-sweet flavor combination that will leave you craving a refreshing beverage to wash it all down with. The perfect compliment to a nice, tall glass of homemade lemonade and an even better match to a frosty-cold beer, you’ll find few snacks as enjoyable to munch on while watching the big game as this uniquely delicious party mix.
ASIAN-STYLE CHEX MIX
Adapted from Grace Parisi, Food & Wine Magazine
There’s really not much to this recipe, but a few good techniques will keep you from producing overly soggy or burnt crackers in the end. Here, you’re looking to slowly toast/dry the mix using low heat — if you smell anything burning, lower the oven temperature and stir the mix immediately to distribute the heat. Keep a watchful eye on the mix without opening the oven door too often or you’ll experience heat loss that can lengthen the cooking time significantly. When it comes time to season the mix, remind yourself that this is a salty party mix and should be highly seasoned to avoid bland, cardboard-like flavor. Even though the nuts, soy sauce, pretzels and sesame sticks all have salt, a few healthy pinches of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper with take the mix to the next level — trust me. Finally, a couple of large rimmed baking sheets and a big spatula will make this recipe so much easier to deal with, as you won’t have to worry about picking cereal, crackers and nuts off of your kitchen floor when it comes time to stir the stuff.
- 6 cups Rice Chex cereal (6 ounces)
- 1 cup roasted, salted cashews
- 1 cup roasted, salted pistachio nuts
- 1 cup roasted, salted almond
- 1 1/2 cups Asian rice cracker mix (I used Hapi Snacks Tokyo Mix)
- 1 1/2 cups sesame sticks (4 ounces)
- 1 1/2 cups mini pretzels
- 3/4 cup Arare Iso Maki (optional)
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup grade B pure maple syrup
- 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste or sambal olek
- Sriracha hot sauce to taste (optional)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 275° F.
- In a large bowl combine the cereal with the nuts, rice cracker mix, sesame sticks and pretzels,
- In a small saucepan, combine the butter, maple syrup, soy sauce, curry paste/sambal olek and optional sriracha and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking until everything is dissolved.
- Pour the mixture over the snack mix and toss/fold gently to coat completely.
- Season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper and spread the mix out on 2 to 3 large baking sheets.
- Bake for 35 minutes, stirring 2 to 3 times and rotating/shifting the sheets, until nearly dry and toasted.
- Let cool completely, stirring occasionally. Serve in a large bowl along with plenty of cold beverages.
Makes 13 cups, enough for 10 people