Little did I know, boiled peanut are also very popular in the South and throughout China.
What Are Hawaiian Boiled Peanuts*
Hawaiian boiled peanuts are unique in the way they're seasoned. We use Hawaiian sea salt, lots of sliced ginger, star anise, and black peppercorns. Our boiled peanuts are tender and sweet, so aromatic. They are pretty tasty devoured at room temperature, but so onolicious when hot.
*We touched on the difference between Hawaiian and Hawaii-style here. Our boiled peanuts are technically Hawaii-style, but because people often refer to this snack as Hawaiian Boiled Peanuts (and not Hawaii-style Boiled Peanuts), we'll use the phrase Hawaiian Boiled Peanuts in this post.
About Hawaiian Sea Salt
Hawaiian Sea Salt is an essential ingredient in any Hawaii kitchen. It's also one of the key ingredients in this recipe. The grains of Hawaiian sea salt are much larger than typical table salt, and it's also less salty tasting.
Hawaiian Sea Salt is a key ingredient for many Hawaii dishes including Lau Lau and Beef Stew. Large grains and a not-as-salty flavor is what makes this Hawaiian sea salt distinct.
Kosher salt will work in a pinch, but please try your best to seek out Hawaiian sea salt...it will make a big difference in the final recipe.
When And How Do You Eat Boiled Peanuts
Here in Hawaii, you'll find boiled peanuts everywhere. We take them to the beach and on hikes in little containers for snack, we bring them for after school treats. They make frequent appearances at potluck parties and family get-togethers. Picture a group of friends sitting around a table, cracking open and snacking on boiled peanuts (hopefully with beer on the side), and catching up on life. It's good times ^_^
They're great at all temperatures (chilled from the fridge, room temperature, and hot from the pot), and make a fun, interactive snack. Boiled peanuts have a texture of a just-cooked bean and you can taste hints of all the spices, plus a touch of natural sweetness.
We often eat boiled peanuts at home instead of popcorn (unless it's Hurricane Popcorn!) when watching movies.
You can buy boiled peanuts from many local food shops in Hawaii. I like to get them from Yama's Fish Market, Fort Ruger Market, Ono Seafood, Foodland, and Alicia's Market (fyi, all of these places also have great poke).
Or better yet, make your own boiled peanuts!
How To Make Hawaiian Boiled Peanuts
First you need to buy raw peanuts in the shell. They're typically sold in 1-pound bags. We get them in Honolulu's Chinatown though you can also order raw peanuts online.
Then you go home and rinse the peanuts. Rinse them well and pick out any debris or funny looking pieces.
My mom just got an Instant Pot, so we're making these peanuts in the Instant Pot 🙂 (For instructions on how to make it on the stove, scroll down to the "notes" part of the recipe.)
Note: We had red and white Hawaiian sea salt at home, so I used a mix of both. I like to use 1/4 cup Hawaiian sea salt for 1 pound of raw peanuts, but feel free to increase the Hawaiian sea salt to 1/3 cup if you prefer it more salty.
The measurements for the star anise, ginger, and black peppercorns are also flexible. I suggest making it first with my measurements (recipe below), and then increase or decrease any of the spices to your liking.
Add the 10 cups of water to the pot - this should be just enough to cover the peanuts. You'll notice that the peanuts float to the top, but you want them to be submerged.
The solution? Place something heavier on top to keep the peanuts from floating. We used a heatproof plate and put it upside down, but I've seen many different contraptions. (A popular one is placing a metal trivet on top of the peanuts and then topping the trivet with an upside-down glass ramekin.) Anything that can keep the peanuts submerged is fair game. You must keep the plate/contraption in the Instant Pot while cooking.
Using the manual setting, cook the peanuts on high pressure for 45-minutes, followed by a natural pressure release.
Once the peanuts are cool enough to handle, drain the liquid and remove the spices. You are ready to share and snack.
So easy and super onolicious! Hawaiian Boiled Peanuts recipe below ^_^
Rinse the raw peanuts and pick out any debris. Place the raw peanuts in a large pot.
Top with the sea salt, star anise, ginger, and black peppercorns. Cover with water.
If cooking with the Instant Pot/pressure cooker, use the manual setting, and cook on high pressure for 45 minutes.
If you are cooking on the stove (as opposed to Instant Pot/pressure cooker), soak the raw peanuts in water overnight before cooking. Add the sea salt, star anise, ginger, and black peppercorns to the pot the next morning. Bring to a boil and then simmer over low heat for 1-2 hours. Stir every 15 minutes and check for doneness after 1-hour.
My grandmother was Teru Isomura, the “Sears Peanut Lady” if you’re old enough to remember the original Sears on Beretania and Kalakaua and was allowed as the first vendor for the Ala Moana Shopping Center. I never got to meet her as she passed a few weeks before I was born, and never got her recipe from my family!
I am thankful that there are many versions of Hawaiian/Hawaii-Style recipes on the internet and yours is the best; just the way I like it with texture and flavor.
Friday 18th of June 2021
Aloha Toni - Thank you so much for sharing this story...this is amazing!! I just read both articles you linked to, what a wonderful grandmother and such special history. Thank you also for the kind words, you made my day ^_^
Friday 26th of March 2021
So good. I finally found some raw peanuts and made these in my instant pot. Ended up under pressure for about 90 minutes (45 min, then 15, then another 15) to get the texture I wanted. Worth it. Thanks so much for the recipe.
Friday 26th of March 2021
Aloha Emily! Thanks for the feedback, so happy you enjoyed the recipe! ^_^
Saturday 19th of December 2020
Do you know anywhere to get boiled peanuts near Kona?
Wednesday 29th of July 2020
I been craving these for SO LONG! These came out perfect! Tastes just like home. The only thing I did different was at the end.i turned off the heat, and I let them soak in the brine for an additional 2hrs. Mahalo nui for this recipe 🤙
Thursday 30th of July 2020
So happy you enjoyed the recipe! I love the idea of letting it soak in the brine for longer, will try that next time for sure ^_^
Sunday 5th of April 2020
Aloha Kathy, And for those of us with
no instapot how long do you suggest boiling? constant boil or what?
Tuesday 7th of April 2020
Aloha Barbie! I recommend:
1) Soaking the peanuts overnight (put a plate on top to keep them from floating up)
2) Rinsing the peanuts in a few changes of water (you want the water to run clean).
3) Boiling the peanuts in the fresh water for 30-60 minutes (start testing/tasting a peanut after 30 minutes to see if it's ready). I'd keep it at light boil (medium-low heat).
Hope this is helpful :)