Monday, October 4, 2010

Crispy Chivda

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Come October - November and we begin planning talking about Diwali and about Diwali "faral"(sweets and snacks). Aai (mom in marathi) always talked to us about what and how she will be making the faral . "This time I will try out xxx recipe for chakali.." she would say. It did not mean much to me back then..However today those words resonate clearly in my ears.
Aai makes most of the traditional items on menu - ladu,chakli and the crispiest chivda in the neighbourhood. In fact its still the most-wanted item by many of the guests at our place.

Why this sudden talk about her ? Because she celebrates her birthday this week. I did wish her on phone but nothing beats that warm hug. So I spent the weekend reminiscing about her and making some crispy chivda.

Here's how I make it : -

6C of flattened thin poha (available in Indian grocery stores)
1C of puffed rice (murmura)

For the tempering :
4 green chillies chopped ( add more for a spicier version)
1 heaped tbsp ginger-garlic paste ( fresh is the best )
10  curry leaves
2 tbsp powdered sugar ( can be omitted, but I like my chivda to be sweet n spicy so I add it)
2 tsp chivda masala ( available in Indian store. Replace with a mix of 1 tbsp coriander powder + 1tbsp jeera powder)
6 tbsp dalia
6 tbsp or more of peanuts or cashewnuts
1/2 an onion cut into thin strips
1tsp fennel seeds
hing - a pinch
3 tsp  mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste and 1/2 C vegetable or canola oil to fry

1. Add the poha and the puffed rice to a heavy bottomed pan and roast on low flame stirring every once in a while. Make sure the pohe does not burn else reduce the heat even further. We want the pohe to be warm and loose its moisture to get the desired level of crispiness. Keep warm till we make the tadka.
I have heard friends doing this in the oven but I prefer doing it on the stove top since its easier to manage the heat.  Also I do not need to open and close the oven every time I need to check on it.

2.  After about 15-20mins taste some of the above mixture. If it still feels a little chewy continue it for 10 more minutes. Stir gently so as not break the pohe. After about 30-40 min the mixture will taste crunchy. Keep warm.

3. In another pan heat oil to make a tadka. Add mustard seeds. When these splutter add the onions and ginger-garlic paste. Deep fry till brown. Now add the curry leaves and hing. Watch for spluttering again. Add the dalia, peanuts,green chillies and fry for about 2-3 min.

4. Now add the spice powders - turmeric,chivda masala, fennel seeds and fry for about 1 min and then switch off the stove. Let the masalas continue cooking for 1-2 minutes till they lose their raw smell.

 5. To the pohe and puffed rice mixture add the salt and sugar and mix gently.Add the tadka and again mix gently so that the pohe are covered with the tadka. Taste and adjust salt and sugar levels. Do not overmix, since it might break the pohe.

A crispy chiwda is ready to be savored. The above measurements here are approximate. Feel free to adjust them to your spice level. I would not recommend using olive oil here since it tends to imparts a fake stale smell to the fresh chivda. If the chivda seems dry add some more tadka this time with some turmeric only. Do not cover until completely cooled though.

My favorite way to have it is with some store-bought farsan or sev, with some finely chopped onion.tomato,lots of fresh cilantro and squeeze of lime. Store in air-tight container.Keeps for about 15-20 days.

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