When Cyrilla Suwarsa’s husband asked her to marry him, he also invited her to move into his apartment, with one condition: her cashews would have to stay outside the house. That’s when Suwarsa’s business, Nuts + Nuts, relocated from her living room to a cubicle-sized office in DUMBO.
Importing cashews from small farms in Java, Indonesia, her family seasons the nuts with garlic, palm sugar, coconut milk, Thai chilies and other Southeast Asian flavors. Once each batch is roasted, the cashews are either mailed to customers in an air-tight package or sold locally—at the New Amsterdam Market or at the entrance to the Nuts + Nuts office. While the size of the business is as small as one can imagine, its reach extends across the globe, setting its roots in a small farming community on the other side.
Spicy Cashew Dip With Roasted Lime Leaves
Makes 1 Cup of dip
1 cup unsalted roasted cashews
1 1/2 Red Holland chili peppers (or your choice of red chili)
2 cloves garlic
12 kaffir lime leaves
1/4 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash of pepper
1 cup coconut milk, boiling
1. Slice garlic and shallots into strips.
2. De-seed and chop chilies.
3. Clean lime leaves and pat dry with a paper towel. Brush both sides of each leaf with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and lay them flat on a baking sheet. Heat at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, or until crisp.
4. Sautée shallots in 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium heat for 4 minutes, or until translucent. Set shallots aside.
5. Sautée garlic and chilies in 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove from heat before garlic browns.
6. Add sautéed garlic and chilies, roasted lime leaves, 1 tablespoon sautéed shallots, cashews, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and boiling coconut milk (or water) in a food processor. Purée until smooth.
7. Add remaining shallots to mixture and serve with warm pita bread, warm noodles, steamed vegetables, or grilled meats. Splash with Sriracha chili sauce for an extra kick.