We could argue all day about the best beer snacks, but the consensus is it comes down to two elements: salt and crunch. Whether you’re knocking back a lager, fruity ale or a rich porter, nothing goes better with a beer.
Bar snacks is serious business for Melbourne's Cookie, which stocks more than 200 beers. Head chef Karen Batson says customers are starting to expand their idea of what a bar snack is, but the most popular item by far is the restaurant’s (relatively) traditional honey cashews with roasted coconut and chilli.
“Something fried and salty with beer is a marriage made in heaven,” Batson says. “I often associate it with the hot and humid weather of Thailand, where the salt comes in, but the beer quenches your thirst without touching your sides.”
We asked Batson to share Cookie’s easy recipe for honey-roasted cashews.
Cookie’s honey cashews with roasted coconut and dry-roasted chilli
Toasted coconut flakes
Deep-fry the cashews in the wok until they’re nice and golden, then drain the oil with absorbent paper. Alternatively, you can roast the cashews.
In a separate saucepan, heat up the caster sugar with the honey and bring that to the boil. Depending on the amount of cashews you want to coat, the ratio should be one-part sugar to three-parts honey. Bring this to the boil, then add dry-roasted chillis to your taste. Add a dash of coconut cream.
Take the syrup off the heat, then throw in the cashews. Coat them well and add in the coconut flakes to your taste. After this, coat the nuts with a pinch of salt.