Strange-Flavor Mixed Nuts

Named after the famous Sichuan flavor profile, this simple snack brings together sweet, salty, fiery, and tingly notes.

  • Serves


  • Prep

    1 hour

  • Cook

    20 minutes


By Jing Gao

Published on January 31, 2024

A famous Sichuan snack that Jing Gao, founder of chili crisp brand Fly By Jing, grew up eating is guaiwei (literally, “strange flavor”) fava beans. The crispy, crunchy beans—fried and coated in a sugary, spicy, salty, and tingly coating—are usually served alongside afternoon tea, or as a bar snack. Since fava beans can be harder to find as readily in the United States, Gao often substitutes them with an assortment of mixed nuts. (For a different flavor profile that’s just as enticing, you can also substitute the chile-and-Sichuan-peppercorn mixture with about a tablespoon of mala spice mix.)

Adapted with permission from The Book of Sichuan Chili Crisp: Spicy Recipes and Stories from Fly By Jing’s Kitchen by Jing Gao, copyright © 2023. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Featured in “A New Kind of Asian Grocer Has Arrived,” by Megan Zhang.


  • 1½ tsp. Sichuan red chile powder
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground roasted Sichuan peppercorn
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1½ cups assorted nuts, such as cashews, peanuts, almonds, and pecans


Step 1

In a small bowl, whisk together the chile powder, salt, and Sichuan peppercorn.

Step 2

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. To a large wok or skillet set over high heat, add the sugar and ⅓ cup of water. Using a spatula, stir continuously until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble and reads 250°F on a candy thermometer, 8–12 minutes. Working very quickly, remove the wok from the heat and add the nuts and salt mixture; toss well to coat. Spread the nuts into a flat layer on the baking sheet and separate them into small bite-size clusters, then set aside to cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks at room temperature.

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