At first, I thought this might be it; the moment I’d officially lost the plot. I was ready to bring two of my favourite things closer than they’ve ever been. Turns out I haven’t gone insane. It worked.
So, I united chevdo and chocolate chip cookies and their baby turned out to be a goddamn champion.
Imagine this – the perfect balance of sweet, salty, spicy, crunchy and chewy in one little disc of happiness. The edges are slightly crisp, while the middle is soft, chewy and studded with chocolate chips, peanuts, potato chips, corn flakes, puffed rice and crispy lentils. If you love salted caramel or chocolate with chilli or sea salt, you’re going to go doolally for these egg-free cookies.
The moment when you sit down to masala chai and ‘naasto’ (snacks) is the instant your troubles and stresses fizzle away. The soothing, milky masala tea erases the furrows in your brow and the crunchy, savoury, sweet and spicy snacks fill you with the feeling of home comforts. It’s a simple pursuit that inadvertently becomes an occasion without even trying. Flawless.
Of course, there is no naasto time without chevdo. A crunchy, savoury Indian snack in which every ingredient is fried to golden perfection before being tumbled together with salt, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, sugar and chilli. The ingredients vary from recipe to recipe but the essentials include: potato sticks, whole mung beans, corn flakes, puffed rice, chana daal, peanuts, curry leaves and sultanas.
So you’re probably thinking that this sounds similar to that notorious bar snack, Bombay mix? Yeah, well it’s definitely not the same as that.
However, Bombay mix is a derivative/form of chevdo in the sense that it’s a whole load of sweet, spicy, salty, crunchy ingredients fried and combined for a snack sensation that’ll set your taste buds alight.
Chevdo can come in a variety of forms. My favourite is the mild kind with a decent ratio of crunchy ingredients to nuts and spices to sultanas. Perfectly balanced chevdo is a tough thing to come by but once you find your brand, you’ll always be able to count on it.
You can buy it from the supermarket in the Indian snacks section, from speciality shops that are probably still using the family recipe, perfected over decades or order it online.
For my recipe, I went for a mild corn flake chevdo mix but you Kenya chevdo (mild and not spicy in the slightest) is also a delicious option. The only thing I’d say is steer clear of commercial Bombay mix packets or really spicy chevdo mixes. They will overpower your cookies and the balance of sweet, salty and spicy will be all out of kilter.
These cookies are bonkers-awesome and you should definitely make them. Your friends and family will welcome the surprise of flavours and let me tell you now, they are the most addictive things that will ever come our of your oven.
Sweet and Salty Chevdo Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 18-20 cookies
225g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g caster sugar
80g soft light brown sugar
150g milk chocolate chips
130g unsalted butter, room temperature
100g mild chevdo mix (regular or Kenya chevdo)
30g dehydrated potato powder
40g liquid from a can of chickpeas (aquafaba)
½ tsp vanilla extract
Melted dark chocolate, for dipping (optional)
More chevdo for decorating (optional)
1. Whip the butter in a stand mixer until light, fluffy and pale. You can also do this by hand or use a hand-held electric mixer.
2. Add the caster sugar and brown sugar and whip for 3-4 minutes until super light.
3, Add in the dehydrated potato powder and chickpea liquids (this is the egg replacer and will make your cookies super soft, chewy and delicious – you won’t taste them in the finished cookies). Add the vanilla extract and beat for a few minutes.
4. Combine the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Gradually add this in to the butter mix in two stages. Do this slowly so you don’t overwork the mixture.
5. Fold in the chocolate chips and chevdo and use your hands to bring the cookie dough together. It should be soft, not sticky.
6. Pre-heat the oven to 160C. Line three large baking trays with non-stick baking paper and roll the dough into ping-pong ball sized rounds using your hands.
7. Space each cookie dough ball onto the trays, leaving space around each one – they will spread in the oven. Place the trays in the fridge for 10 minutes.
8. Bake the cookies for 7 minutes, remove them from the oven and use the back of a teaspoon to press them down gently. I find this results in a chewier middle. Return to the oven and bake for a further 7-8 minutes until golden. If you prefer your cookies cakey, skip the flattening step and bake for 14-15 minutes.
9. Remove the cookies from the oven – they will be super soft and delicate so leave them to cook on the trays for 10 minutes.
10. Gently lift the cookies onto a wire rack using a spatula and allow to cool completely.
Once cooled, you can serve them as they are but if you want to be fancy, dip each one in melted dark chocolate and sprinkle with more chevdo. Chill until the chocolate sets.
Store the cookies in an air-tight container at room temperature. They are best eaten fresh but will keep for 3-4 days.
I doubt they’ll last that long.