Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mexican Japanese Peanuts


My duty as a blooger, requires that I tell you about Mexican Japanese peanuts, despite my ennui.
The first thing you need to know is that if you ever want to buy Mexican Japanese peanuts, there is only one brand that does the trick, and no other.The original Nishikawa brand, in the cellophane bag with blue lettering and the bust of a Geisha that hasn't changed since the sixties (except for the nutritional info label). The others just don't cut the mustard.
Now, Mexican Japanese peanuts are a mystery to me. Apparently there were Japanese and Chinese inmigrants to Mexico in the early 20th century that brought some stuff with them that has become a Mexican snack staple. One is the peanuts and the other is Chamoy, which is the Mexican version of preserved plums.
The peanuts are simply coated with a hard crunchy coat of wheat flour and soy. Mexican kids open the bag, sprinkle some chili powder or sauce and then smother them with squeezed lime juice. Shake the bag and eat. When you finish the peanuts, you suck the remaining lime and chili juice out of the bag, then you lick the inner part of the bag. Yes.


Chamoy, now also known as Miguelito, comes in two main varieties, wet and dry. Also in little plastic pouches. Wet it is made of dried, preserved apricot or plum with salt, sugar and citric acid and it's very red and people other than Mexicans find it unfathomable. Dry, it is the powder I described above, which you pour into the palm of your hand and you lick, or pour directly into your mouth, or pour on top of everything that goes well with lime and chili, such as potato chips, jicama or other cut fruits and vegetables (carrots, cucumbers,mango, pineapple).
Together with the shipment of the peanuts I got, from the Estimable Ruth Munguia (gracias, mana!) a big bottle (new packaging!) of powdered Miguelito, which alas, has egregious spelling errors both in English and Spanish.
Consider this community service on my part. Even though I rotated the images in my photo application, for some stubborn reason they will not rotate when I upload them, but it's just as well. It's the nature of the beast.

6 comments:

  1. nitnelav@hotmail.com11:52 AM

    I agree that Nishikawa peanuts are the best. However, in Chicago, from the south side, we have san miguel peanuts which come really close to being as good.

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  2. The Nishikawa peanuts are classic and good, I've tried the Sabritas ones and wasn't particulary impressed, they're OK but nothing to get excited about, same for the Barcel ones. The ones that are however quite good are the Mafer ones seen here: http://www.mymexicanpantry.com/japanese-peanuts-with-lime--cacahuate-japones-con-limon--mafer.html , particularly the Lemon Crusted ones, would the creator of these peanuts envision them coated in lemon powder? probably not.. he'd probably turn in his grave, however, I think lime adds a very Mexican touch !

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  3. Anonymous7:24 PM

    Nishikawa are by far the best of the best. Everytime I hit Mexican ground I run to any corner store and stock up. Any ideas where to find them state side? I seriously think I go through withdrawls when I don't have them. I would love to know how to make them myself. I am really glad to hear as well that someone else licks the bowl/bag/container clean after they are done with the peanuts. :)

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  4. Dear anonymous:
    I really hope you are not serious about attempting to recreate Mexican Japanese peanuts at home. I think they make them at a nuclear fusion facility.
    Now, where to get them in NY, I have no idea. Matamoros grocery in Williamsburg used to carry them but it closed.
    You must also know that of all the topics I cover in these here blog, Mexican Japanese peanuts is by far the most popular.
    Greetings and thanks for reading!

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  5. Anonymous8:15 PM

    de la rosa japanese peanuts are the best(red bag)... BTW thats chili powder not "chamoy". chamoy is a SAUCE not DRY! you will ONLY find it labeled as "chamoy" if its in sauce form.

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  6. Hector Thr Blancas6:14 PM

    I think the way of eating them depends on which part of Mexico you are, In Mexico City people just pour lime juice and Salsa Valentina (a red hot sauce very popular for spice up a lot of snacks and foods. The yellow label is for wimps, the black label is for the pros. The brand is also known as Tamazula).

    This kind of peanuts are very popular, they are sold on buses, streets, subway and every store in Mexico City. I'm eating some right now (but whitout the salsa).

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