Wednesday, December 1, 2010


This tasty snack is quite famous in India. You will find this as a staple in nearly every house. Whenever we went to visit relatives or friends or even attended marriages, this would always be one of the snacks served.

In marriages they would make huge quantities of this and pack them along with some ladoos in small packets to give as small favors to to all the relatives and friends attending the marriage.

I remember my grandmother would call over a pandit ( there are two kinds of pandits, one who conducts prayers and one who cooks food. In this case I mean the latter one ) during festival season to make all kinds of sweets and savoury snacks. He would set up some firewood in the backyard and a make shift kitchen and fry up all the various dishes under the watchful eye of my grandma and aunts.

My Auntie Dolly would have the pandit fry up some sun dried onions to add to this chivda, taking the taste of the chivda to another level. I phoned Dolly Auntie to ask her about this recipe and she said I was to dry sliced onions under the hot sun till all the moisture is evaporated and then store in an air tight container. When I want to add it to the chivda, I should just fry a cupful of it in hot oil and mix it in the prepared chivda. Since it is getting cold here, drying it under the hot sun is out, I thought about drying it in the hot oven. However, the lowest temp on my oven is 170 degrees F and that is too hot as I need about 100 degrees F. So I made my chivda without the onion part. Come summer I will make it her way. She is another great cook in our family and her recipes are always delicious.

I got this recipe from my mom. The addition of raisins provide a nice contrast in taste. One can eat this chivda as is or dress it up with some fresh chopped onions, tomatoes and cilantro. Mix these in the chivda and maybe a squirt of some lemon juice and enjoy it as a tasty snack.

Fill in about two 40 oz plastic jars ( jars formerly that housed some mixed nuts ).


14 oz / 400 gm very thin poha ( nylon poha )
1 cup peanuts, unsalted and not roasted ( if using salted adjust the salt later on )
1/2 cup cashew pieces
1/2 cup dark raisins
1 cup dalia
1- 2 cup dried coconut slices ( available at the indian grocery stores )
1/4 cup + 1 tsp +1 tsp +1 tsp cooking oil
8-10  thai green chilies, remove stalk and slit in the middle, or chop into big pieces
2 stalks of curry leaves, remove the leaves from the stalk, wash and pat dry
1/2 tbsp mustard seeds / rai
1 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
1 tsp coriander seeds / dhaniya
1/8 tsp asafoetida / hing
1/2 tbsp sesame seeds / til
1/2 tbsp fennel seeds / saunf
1 tsp turmeric powder / haldi
1 1/2 - 2 tsp red chili powder ( cayenne )
1 1/4 tsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp ( 1/2 tbsp ) amchur powder ( dried mango powder -  available at the Indian grocery store )
salt, to taste

  • In a large saucepan or wok dry roast the poha on medium low heat for about 5-10 minutes. The poha will feel crispy to the touch when done. Remove from the wok and set aside. ( I did this in four batches ).
  • Heat 1 tsp of oil in the wok and roast the peanuts, the cashews and the dark raisins for a minute or so till it is all lightly toasted. Remove from the wok and set aside
  • Do the same with the dalia, heat 1 tsp oil and roast till lightly browned in color. Remove from the wok and set aside
  • Again, heat 1 tsp of oil in the wok and roast the coconut slices till lightly browned too. Remove from the wok and set aside.
  • Wipe the wok with a paper towel and add the 1/4 cup of oil to it . Keep the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, green chilies, curry leaves and asafoetida ready.
  • When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let it start crackling then add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, green chilies, curry leaves and hing. Let it all sizzle for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add the sesame seeds and fennel seeds, turmeric and red chili powder to the hot oil. Stir it all together and pour this mixture over the toasted poha.
  • Add the coconut, nuts and raisins and dalia and mix all together trying to get the spiced oil to coat the poha. Add some salt, the sugar and amchur powder, mix it all in. Taste and check for seasonings, adjust accordingly.
  • Store in an air tight container at room temperature. It stays this way for a long time.


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