I skimmed through the wall of nuts in front of me. The selection was staggering.

Pecans and pistachios. Macadamia nuts.

Whole walnuts and halved walnuts.

Cashews of every size. Large, extra-large, and large ones crushed into tiny million pieces.

Almonds of every kind. Sliced and slivered. Salted and unsalted. Raw and roasted. Dry roasted and honey roasted. Milk chocolate covered and dark chocolate covered. Even cinnamon toffee almonds that sounded pretty darn tasty.

The choices were overwhelming but I couldn’t find what I was looking for. Out of the blue, I had a deep pining for cold beer and fried peanuts — pritong mani [preeh-tong mah-]. The kind with the red skins unscathed that’s fried in oil, tossed with fried garlic, and flecked with salt. The kind that’s peddled in the streets back home, next to jeepney and bus stops, in churchyards and schoolyards. The kind that’s measured by the glass and wrapped in brown paper bags. For a fiddling sum of money, you can buy happiness. Salty, greasy, and garlicky happiness.

I quickly browsed through the shelves again and spotted a jar of blister fried peanuts, the closest to what I was looking for. “The boiling time, cooking time, oil temperature, and salting process are all precisely maintained according to our own recipe, thus guaranteeing you the best tasting peanut you’ve ever had,” the label proudly declared. I so wanted to cry out, I’ve had better!

Before I lost my mind, I grabbed a bag of unshelled peanuts, paid what I owed, and stormed out the door. I wasn’t going home defeated. I was going to make it from scratch.

 

M-Glossary

 

Pritong Mani Recipe, makes four servings

1 cup canola oil
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups raw peanuts, shelled but skins intact
salt to taste

Pour canola oil in a deep wok or kawali enough to reach a depth of two inches. Fry garlic over high heat until fragrant and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer fried garlic to a plate using a skimmer and set aside. Reduce heat to low. Fry peanuts over low heat, turning frequently with a skimmer, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer fried peanuts to a meshed sieve fitted on top of a bowl and drain excess oil. Sprinkle with fried garlic and salt. Serve with cold beer.

 

Mani

 

Mani

 

Learn the alphabet of Filipino food through our glossary. So much is lost in translation, I know, but I hope this glossary will help those unfamiliar with Filipino food become more informed.

A is for Achuete
B is for Barako Coffee
C is for Camarón
D is for Dinuguan
E is for Ensaimada
F is for Fish Balls
G is for Gata
H is for Himagas
I is for Itlog na Maalat
J is for Jackfruit
K is for Kamayan
L is for Longganisa
M is for Mani

  • Anonymous

    Hi Jun,

    Nice memory again.  I love fried garlic and peanuts as I remember it in the Philippines but I always think of it being cooked in a big wok and yes served in brown bags after school or at the market.  I always went for the garlic..yum!  Keep the great blog going and eventually I look forward to the rest of the alphabet.  

  • Kelly

    What a great blog, thank you! Our sons are Filipino and I’m looking for little ways to integrate Filipino foods into our lives. This will be a great resource. Thanks again!

  • http://samanthafoodgeek.com Samantha

    This article made me smile! Thanks for the lesson and reminding of this tasty snack. Perfect for the holiday party!

  • http://www.happyjackeats.com Jacqui

    oh my gosh, I had completely forgotten about this favorite snack until I saw your post! I can taste them just looking at those photos! So good.

  • http://wokwithray.net wok with ray

    Mani and cold San Miguel beer — great combination.  I can imagine the aroma of the semi-golden-brown color of those garlic and of course its salty-bitter flavor.  I am shaking my head as I type this comment, Jun.   I am salivating thinking about these peanuts.  Wow, yummy!  Thanks Jun and have a great weekend! :)

  • http://psychosomaticaddictinsane.wordpress.com Iyassantos

    ok rin yung sinangag na mani na may siling labuyo! :)

  • Tina(PinayInTexas)

    Beautiful post, Jun! It reminded me of how I loved fried peanuts with cold beer or coke when I was in college and how my male friends used to say that love  is like adobong mani, kapag nasimulan mo ng kainin ang hirap ng tigilan. (“,)

  • http://www.asianinamericamag.com Betty Ann @Mango_Queen

    Thanks for another classic, Jun! Pritong mani is such a favorite! I don’t know why but this reminds me of the “pritong mani” we used to buy at Burnham Park/Baguio…from the street vendor, in a little brown bag and I’d dive deep for the salt inside! Thanks for sharing this!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/nancy.hardin1 Nancy Hardin

    One of my favorite Philippine memories is going to San Fernando to get “garlic peanuts”…always sold in rolled banana leaves in the market; that was back in the mid-1950′s. We ate them from other places, but San Fernando had our hearts. When I returned to the Philippines to visit dear friends in 2007, they had them ready for me. OH! SO GOOD!…peanuts and golden mangoes! I brought back 3 pound of them and have kept them in my freezer. But, alas, today I ate the last of them. Now, I can’t wait to try this recipe, Jun. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you for writing, Nancy. Garlic peanuts and golden mangoes make delicious memories!

  • Anonymous

    Ha! Nancy I wish I could have seen San Fernando in the 50′s but have same memories starting in 80′s. We could have crossed paths doing the same, revisiting in 2007 and again since. Great memories.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Jun, going to make this for my two children who’s younger years where spent going up outside Clark and love this still today when we can get them.

  • Anonymous

    Yep the little brown bags from the “cart wok”. Made me smile.

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  • http://blog.junbelen.com/ Jun Belen

    Thank you, for writing and for sharing your memories of home! Best to you and your family.

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  • Reynaldo Pescante Son

    ANGEL’S PEANUT PRODUCTS……..

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