Most vegetables don't seem to have much depth, especially peas. Simmered in soups, slow-cooked in stews or chilled in a fresh salad, the pea pretty much stays the same. Fried peas, on the other hand, are like regular peas' wild-and-crazy alter ego. Fried green peas have a crispy texture that lets you know straight away they aren't your typical side dish, and an addictive crunch that keeps you reaching for more. A popular Thai snack, fried green peas explode with flavor when you add wasabi and chili flakes, but do just as well when you keep it simple with kosher salt.
Shell the peas and blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute to brighten their color. Remove the peas with a slotted spoon and plunge them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
If using frozen peas, thaw them at room temperature. If using dried peas, soak them in water for about 8 hours.
Spread the peas out on a kitchen towel and gently pat them dry with paper towels. Place the peas in a bowl. If you want to season the peas with dried spices, coat them very lightly with oil first.
Asian fried peas usually have a bit of cumin, wasabi, chili flakes and coriander, but you can use any spice you like.
Pour a few tablespoons of frying oil in a saute pan or wok and set it on the stove. Peanut oil is commonly used in Asian versions, but sunflower and canola oil work just as well.
Heat the frying oil over medium-high heat for about 2 or 3 minutes. Add the peas to the pan. Only add enough peas to cover the bottom. If you add too many peas, they steam instead of fry and don't crisp up.
Fry the peas until crispy, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, stirring or tossing occasionally. Transfer the fried peas to a mixing bowl lined with a few layers of paper towels and shake them back and forth to remove the excess oil.
Remove the paper towels from the bowl. Season the peas to taste with kosher salt and serve immediately.
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- Add green peas to stir-fries in the least 2 minutes of cooking.
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.
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