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This recipe comes to us from Natalie Keng’s debut cookbook, Egg Rolls & Sweet Tea: Asian Inspired, Southern Style!

person in red floral apron holding a bowl of boiled peanuts

Chinese-y Surprise Dirt Beans

Natalie Keng
This twist on Southern boiled peanuts features a delicious flavor rendition— an infusion of cinnamon and muscovado sugar.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Asian, Southern
Servings 4 people
Calories 200 kcal


1 pound unshelled raw peanuts

    1⁄4 cup naturally brewed soy sauce

      4 tablespoons muscovado sugar or 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar

        1 tablespoon salt (optional)

          2 cinnamon sticks or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

            1 teaspoon minced shallot or 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed

              2 or 3 pods of star anise pods


                In a large pot or bowl of water, soak the peanuts for 15 minutes to remove dirt. Rinse until the water runs clear and drain well. Dispose of any grit that has settled to the bottom of the pot.

                  If you would like to help the peanuts absorb more flavor in a shorter amount of cooking time, gently crack the tip of each peanut.

                    In a slow cooker, combine the peanuts, soy sauce, sugar, salt (if using), cinnamon sticks, shallot, and star anise pods. Add enough water to cover the peanuts. Put a heatproof plate on top to keep them from floating up during cooking. Cover and cook on high for about 6 hours, or to the desired tenderness. (We prefer the peanuts al dente rather than super soft. They’re easier to remove from the shell that way, too.)

                      Let the cooked peanuts cool in the pot with the seasoned liquid. Remove the peanuts from the pot with a slotted spoon. Crack open the shell and gently squeeze the peanuts out. Eat directly from the shell while slurping the liquid. Keep a hanky or towel handy and roll up your sleeves in case of dripping. (Discard the shells in the garden or a compost pile. Crushed peanut shells make a great mulch.) Cover any leftover peanuts with some of the seasoned liquid and store in the refrigerator. Consume within a week or freeze up to a month.


                        Note: To cook on the stovetop, mix all the ingredients in a large pot and pour in enough water to cover the peanuts. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 3 hours. Stir every half hour to allow the flavors to penetrate evenly. Add 1⁄2 cup more water if needed to prevent drying out.
                        To cook in a pressure cooker, combine all the ingredients in the pot and add enough water to cover. Cook on high for 1 hour. Allow the pressure to release naturally and let the cooked peanuts rest for about 30 minutes in the seasoned liquid.
                        Recipes from Egg Rolls & Sweet Tea: Asian Inspired, Southern Style by Natalie Keng. Published by Gibbs Smith. All images by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn


                        Serving: 1cupCalories: 200kcal
                        Keyword Boiled, Peanuts
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                        Anne Henley Walker
                        About the Author
                        Anne Henley Walker

                        Anne Henley is Blueprint.Inc's Content Marketing Assistant. She is a University of Georgia graduate, (Go Dawgs!) and is always on the hunt for her new favorite restaurant.