So I really love nuts, in case you haven't noticed. I eat nuts everyday, but only a small handful at a time. I always loved nuts, but only truly came to appreciate this food when I began to roast them.
When I was younger, before I was devoted to Ayurveda I used to experiment with a few different systems of health, including raw food. My conclusion on raw food is that it's certainly no good for Vata, with Kapha and Pita tolerating it better. It can be useful for particular conditions, or for short term detox or weight loss. But it doesn't work for me.
One of the ideas behind eating food raw is that when you cook it you lose a lot of the enzymes. I have since read, in one of my trillions of Ayurvedic books (sorry I forgot which so I can't credit it!), that when the body digests food these enzymes break down in the body anyway. You may as well let a stove do the work instead of your body.
Besides all of this, nuts taste SO good when they are cooked. And if Ayurveda is all about taste, then cook my nuts I will!
So, how to cook them. I always skin my almonds first, but other nuts are fine as is. I like to do a batch at the begginning of the week so I can take them to work for snacks or add them to stirfries or porridge. Don't make too many, the fresher the better.
There are basically two ways, on the stove or in the oven. For the latter preheat your oven to 200' and then spread you nuts out on a tray and leave them in there for just a few minutes. Watch them carefully. The advantage of the oven is they are more evenly roasted, but it can be a waste of electricity to heat up the whole oven for just a handful of nuts, so do a bigger batch, or cook them before or after your using the oven for something else anyway. It isn't a good idea to ut nuts in at the same time as other food as the moisture might stop them going crunchy.
The stove top method requires constant stirring, but you are less likely to burn them cause you can't walk away and forget about them. You can do a small amount too, just a handful to eat in front of a movie for example. Heat a heavy bottom pan on a medium heat and throw you nuts in. Give them a good shake and stir until they are gently browned. It's hard to get them even on the stove. Some nuts will pop and dance.
Let your nuts cool down before eating them, because this is when they get all crunchy. Here's a few ideas for what to do with your nuts...