Wash peanuts in several changes of water to get rid of residual dirt. Add peanuts to 3 quart saucepan with enough water to barely cover. Add soy sauce, sugar, salt, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and dried chili.
Place pot over high heat and bring to boil. Lower heat to steady but not rolling boil and cook for 3 to 5 hours, depending on how tender you like your peanuts. Check on pot every hour to make sure liquid doesn't dry out. Refill with water, if needed, so that level of liquid just covers peanuts. Alternatively, place water, peanuts, and seasonings in a slow cooker and cook overnight.
With slotted spoon, retrieve peanuts from braising liquid and serve warm or tepid. Store leftover peanuts in their stewing liquid in the refrigerator.