Chivda (Spicy Flattened-Rice Snack)

Chivda (Spicy Flattened Rice Snack)

It has been a while since I posted a recipe. This time around, I decided to cook one of the recipes that my mom taught me. It makes for not only a healthy but very tasty snack. It is so tasty that once you start eating, you can’t stop. With all the activities in India, I was somehow able to learn a few recipes from her – snack, dessert and two chutneys. We also visited quite a few excellent restaurants not only in new Mumbai but also during our travels to South India – Munnar in the state of Kerala and Madurai and Rameshwaram in the state of Tamil Nadu. Traveling in the smaller towns of India can be a challenge, especially for my wife, who is not used to eating spicy food. In Mumbai however that was not a problem. We ate at quite a few excellent restaurants both in and out of the malls.

While in Mumbai, I wanted to shoot a few photos of vegetables and fruit at the vegetable market. I got to eat a lot of fruit including papaya, cherimoya (called sitafal), guava, fig and other fruit. See the pics below of scenes from the vegetable market. I also got to go to the wholesale vegetable market but since it was incredibly busy, I could not take any photos. But if was fun to watch my mom bargain even in a wholesale market! At one of the vendors, she tried to bargain so low that the guy commented “C’mon aunty, this is a wholesale market. As it is I am giving you a low price and you want to cut the price in half! No thank you!”. Also, another interesting thing I noticed was two wholesalers bargaining by covering their hands under a cloth. This is so that other merchant do not see what price he was selling the vegetables in bulk for. Under the cloth, they use various hand signals on each other palm to indicate the price.

General scene of the vegetable market in Mumbai
New Mumbai Vegetable Market

Various fruits including my favorite cherimoya (also called sitafal in hindi) that is the leftmost fruit in the second row

The vegetable from left to right in the front row are squash (also called doodhi in hindi), egplant, ridged gourd (also called Turai in hindi) and bitter gourd (also called Karela). I love the way my mom makes the bitter gourd especially as the name indicates, it is really bitter.

And of course guava, another of my favorite fruit that I never get to eat in the US.

Now let’s get back to the recipe on hand.

Start off by frying the following nuts.
Chivda (Spicy Flattened Rice Snack)

Fried Nuts on Poha in a large baking pan
Chivda (Spicy Flattened Rice Snack)

Finished Chivda
Chivda (Spicy Flattened Rice Snack)

NOTE: I made a video and is currently being edited. I am having some software issues editing the video. Will be updating the post with the video soon. Since it is my first post with a video, it does not look as good as it should.

Chivda (Spicy Flattened-Rice Snack)

It is an awesome snack that can be eaten in lieu of popcorn or chips. I have to warn you though, once you start eating, you cannot stop.

1 lb pressed flattened rice (or poha)
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup raw peanuts
1/2 cup chana dalia
(chana dal or bengal gram lentil, husked, split and roasted)
(any Indian grocery store should have it)
1/2 dry coconut, sliced into 1 inch long thick slices
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup curry leaves
4 serrano green chilies, sliced into rounds
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 teaspoon salt

In a large baking pan, spread the poha.

Heat oil in a large kadhai (or a large wok) on medium heat. You can also use a small pan to fry the nuts but will need a large pan when you start frying the spices. Fry the nuts separately starting with coconut slices, cashews, peanuts and finally dahlia for 1-2 minutes each or until the nuts are lightly browned. With a slotted spoon, remove the nuts and add it to the poha.

Next, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafoetida. Once the mustard seeds stop popping, add the coriander powder and chili powder. Fry for 20 seconds and then add three handfuls (or 3 cups) of poha and the fried nut mixture to the wok or pan. Add the turmeric powder and salt and then stir the mixture gently with two wooden flat spoons for a minute till the mixture turns yellow in color.

Turn off the heat and transfer the mixture to the remaining poha and nut mixture in the baking pan. Turn on the oven to 350 F. Stir the mixture gently till the whole mixture turns yellow in the baking pan. Spread the mixture evenly in the baking pan.

Once the oven is heated, bake the mixture for 5 minutes. Let it cool and store them in air tight containers in a cool dry place. The chivda should last for approximately 1-2 weeks before it turns stale.

Makes enough for 6-8 people

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