When one talks about feasting during Diwali, the rich sweets and desserts are the first things that come to mind. However, Diwali has a lot to offer in the other food categories too.
Take savory snacks for instance. There is a special repertoire of snacks, that can be enjoyed any time, but are especially popular during Diwali. Chakli or its south-Indian cousin Murukku, Sev in all its shapes and sizes, Ribbon Pakoda, and of course Chivda.
Diwali cannot be considered complete unless you have had a bowlful of Chivda: a zingy, Indian version of trail mix, that bursts with flavor. It is made with flattened rice or Poha and is salty, spicy, sour and sweet, really an explosion of tastes in your mouth!
It is also low-fat and only uses a little oil to prepare the tempering. So it makes a nice change from all the sugary, ghee-laden sweets that are the norm during Diwali.
There are other variations of the chivda, which call for deep-frying the poha, but I like this version as it is so much faster, easier and healthier and yet does not compromise on the taste.
Crunchy poha, interspersed with peanuts and raisins, all smothered with the spiciness of green chillies, and the aroma of curry leaves, fennel seeds and turmeric. Yum!
Try making some Chivda today and keep the Diwali snack attack at bay! The ingredients can be found quite easily at any Indian grocery store.
Here is the recipe.
3 cups Thin Poha (flattened Rice)
2 tablespoons Cooking Oil
1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
1 sprig Curry Leaves
2 Green Chillis, finely chopped (adjust as per level of heat desired)
3 tablespoons Roasted Chana Dal (Daaliya)
A handful of Whole Raw Peanuts
1 tablespoon Golden Raisins
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds (Saunf)
1/4 teaspoon Citric Acid crystals
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon Sugar
Dry roast the poha in a saucepan till it begins to curl and crisp up. Alternatively, heat the poha in a microwave-safe bowl for 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute.
Grind the salt and the citric acid to a fine powder.
Grind the sugar to a fine powder separately.
Dry roast the peanuts and the daaliya, separately, till crisp.
In a non-stick pan, heat the oil at medium temperature.
Once the oil is hot, add in the mustard seeds and allow them to pop.
Add in the chopped green chillis and the curry Leaves and cook for a minute. Add fennel seeds.
Add in the Golden Raisins and cook for 30 seconds. Add the roasted daaliya and peanuts.
Add in the Turmeric Powder and the salt & citric acid Powder. Mix well.
Add the Poha and mix very well till all the Poha is yellow and no white is visible.
Once it is mixed well, turn off the stove and allow it to cool for just 1-2 minutes.
Sprinkle the powdered sugar and mix well.
Allow the Chivda to cool down to room temperature before you store it.
The chivda keeps well in an air tight container for up to a week.