Masala Trail Mix

I’m on the road a lot in the fall. That’s because it’s hunting season, and where I go is a considerable distance from my home in East Grand Forks.

This fall, I’m heading out on my third elk hunting trip to Colorado in as many years as well as at least three forays into eastern Montana and northwestern North Dakota to chase pheasants, grouse and Hungarian partridge with my dogs.

One of the things about traveling such long distances is that you have a lot of time on your hands, and it’s always nice to have some snacks to pass the time. One of my hunting companions on the excursion to Colorado always brings along an ice-cream bucket full of a mix that contains nuts and M&Ms, among other things. Needless to say, it’s long gone before the trip back home.

On my trips to Westby, Mont., I usually pick up a bag of chips on the way, usually some spicy ones such as mesquite or jalapeno, as well as bringing some sourdough pretzels from home.

This fall, I’m going to try my luck making a trail mix from a recipe by Hari Nayak, author of “Spice: Flavors and Recipes from Around the World.” I saw the recipe at a website that was referred to in an e-mail from New Asian Cuisine. The mix contains a lot of nuts, which I love, and numerous spices. But the kicker is the wasabi nuts, which ought to give it a little bite, which I’ve come to appreciate in snacks. I can’t wait to try it.

Masala Trail Mix
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, dry roasted and coarsely ground
3 teaspoons chat masala
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black salt
1 cup canola oil
1 cup almonds
1 cup pistachios
1 cup cashew nuts
1 cup peanuts
1 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds
1 cup wasabi peas
1 teaspoon dried mint
Mix together the cumin seeds, chat masala, chili powder and black salt in a small bowl. Heat the oil in a medium-size sauce pan over medium heat and fry the nuts until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Drain the oil as much as possible using a slotted spatula. (Do not drain them on a paper towel, or the spices will not adhere.)
Transfer the nuts into a medium bowl, quickly add the spice mixture and toss well, making sure that the nuts are well coated. In the same pan, stir-fry the seeds over medium-low heat until the seeds are fragrant and golden, about 1 minute. Add the spiced nuts and toss together. Add mint and wasabi peas and adjust the seasoning to taste. Cool completely and serve or transfer to an airtight container. Note: This can be stored up to 3 to 4 weeks.
Yield: 6 cups.

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