Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Crispy Chiwda - Teatime snack

One of those things where familiarity breeds contempt. 

Crisp, sweet and savory Chiwda was a staple growing up.In the days when not much packaged products were available or used, my mom would make large amounts of this snack to munch on. Especially during the summer vacation, whether it was as I watched TV, or read, or because my dolls needed a snack on a lazy summer afternoon while mom took a nap!

In the past few years, I have started making it more frequently as well. And slowly, my daughters have begun to like it. They still aren't as crazy about the Chiwda snack as I was at their age....but then, they have so many more options to choose from. Anya likes it more than Baby P; and just like me, she sneaks up a bowl to munch on while watching TV or reading.I usually make a small portion of it every other week on a weekend...and think nothing about it at all.

Which is why, I was hugely surprised when a dear old friend who is a pretty adventurous soul in the kitchen asked me how I make it. I remembered that and made it for her one evening with chai. At that, she surprised me further by admitting that she has never tried to make it herself. If it wasn't for this conversation between us, I would have never ever considered this particular "recipe" to put on MLS platform. But again, considering that I am hoping that my daughters would someday look upon this space to come back to for memories of their home - it seems like a good little recipe to come back to after an unintended hiatus.

Chiwda/Poha (beaten rice flakes) uncooked 3/4cup
Maize Poha (uncooked corn flakes) 1/2Cup
Shelled unsalted peanuts About 2-4 Tbsp
Oil 1TbSp + 1 1/2 TbSp
Curry leaves 4-6
Turmeric a small pinch

Season to taste with:
Amchoor (dried mango powder)
Chaat masala

  1. Heat 1Tbsp oil in a saute pan. Add the pinch of turmeric. Turn the stove on low to medium-low and then add curry leaves.
  2. After the leaves stop spluttering, add the rice poha to it.Continuously stir, until cooked and crisp- about 5 min. 
  3. Remove in a bowl. The poha absorbs all the oil as it cooks, so the pan will be clean.
  4. In the same saute pan, heat the remaining 1 and 1/2 Tbsp of oil.
  5. Add the peanuts. Stir till they brown slightly. With a slotted spoon, remove on top of the poha.
  6. In the same pan, add the maize poha in small batches. As it puffs up, remove carefully on a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat until all the flakes are fried.
  7. I tend to use the same saute pan for mixing. If there is any oil left in the pan, drain it out. Put everything back in the pan.
  8. Add the seasoning. Cover the pan and give it a good shake to mix and coat.
  9. Let cool. Enjoy!
  10. Can be stored in airtight containers for extended periods.
My two cents: It really is a good snack. And pretty easy to make ahead in large batches. There are umpteen versions of it- you can add any other nuts and seeds you like, cashews, almonds, toasted corn nuts, sunflower, melon or watermelon seeds - I like them all. I also like to mix in raisins or dried cranberries. Needless to say, my first-born picky eater chooses to favor this particular basic version. If you try, I'd encourage you to go ahead and get creative. 

The possibilities here are endless!