Who stole the chevdo from the naasto jar? Sanjana stole the chevdo from the naasto jar.
Our naasto (snack) jar is the equivalent of a cookie jar — one minute it’s full and the next only a few crumbs remain at the bottom. It’s most often filled with chakri (savoury rice sticks), gathia (spiced chickpea flour noodles) and chevdo (the spicy-sweet-sour mix of dreams). The moment when you sit down to masala chai and ‘naasto’ is when troubles fizzle away. The soothing, milky masala tea erases the furrows in your brow and the crunchy, savoury, sweet and spicy snacks are a welcome cuddle from the inside. It’s the kind of home comfort that becomes an occasion without even trying. Flawless.
Of course, there is no naasto time without chevdo.
Chevdo is a crunchy, savoury Indian snack in which every ingredient is fried or baked 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, roasted moong daal, corn flakes, nuts, crispy curry leaves and sultanas. You’re probably thinking that this sounds similar to that notorious bar snack, Bombay mix? Let me assure you that it’s not the same.
Bombay mix is a form of chevdo in the sense that it’s a load of sweet, spicy, salty, crunchy ingredients but traditional chevdo isn’t made up of mainly chickpea flour noodles like Bombay Mix is. The flavours aren’t as complex in Bombay Mix which usually includes salt and chilli.
I’ve created a quick, lightened up version of chevdo using a mix of unsweetened breakfast cereal and much less oil than the traditional recipe (which involves a lot of deep frying of everything). It includes all the usual spices for an explosion of flavour without all the deep frying.
The crispy curry leaves and spices are tempered in rapeseed oil and then mixed thoroughly with the cereal, nuts and potato sticks. My recipe makes 1.5kg — it sounds like a lot but in our home, it’s traditional to bag it up and share with friends and family, especially during special occasions.
Serve with masala chai or a cold beer for snacking that goes above and beyond your usual bag of nuts down the pub.
A lighter take on Indian trail mix with a surprising ingredient... breakfast cereal! Add a mix of nuts, spices, chilli and crispy curry leaves for a snack you simply can't stop eating.
- 375 g unsweetened cereal loops (such as Cheerios)
- 375 g unsweetened cornflakes
- 500 g unsalted baked potato sticks or crisps
- 150 g whole or halved cashews
- 85 g whole almonds
- 85 g whole peanuts
- 70 ml rapeseed oil
- 12 g curry leaves (approx. 50 leaves)
- 5 green chillies, chopped
- 50 g sesame seeds
- 30 g unsweetened desiccated coconut
- 25 g raisins or sultanas
- 30 g coriander leaves
- 20 g whole fennel seeds
- 10 g cinnamon (approx. 1 stick, broken)
- 2 g cloves (approx. 15 cloves)
- 6 g turmeric (approx. 2 tsp)
- 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (optional)
- 5 g citric acid
- 12 g fine salt
- 20 g sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Place the nuts on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
In a very large container (I used a big storage container), combine the cereals, potato sticks and cooled nuts.
Heat the oil in a medium-sized pan. Add the curry leaves and coriander leaves. Sauté until crispy (about 3 minutes) and remove with a slotted spoon. Allow to cool on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Once cold and crispy, rub between your palms to crush into small flakes.
To the remaining oil, add the green chillies, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves (be careful - these can pop), raisins, coconut and turmeric. Sauté everything, stirring all the time. Cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat until everything is well combined and toasted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Add the seed and spice mix, the crispy curry leaves and coriander, salt, sugar and citric acid to the cereal and nut mixture. Use a large spoon (or clean hands) to mix everything together very well. Take your time over this to ensure everything gets well coated. I spent a good 15 minutes mixing.
Cover the chevdo with a lid and allow to sit for 24 hours. You can give it a mix now and again to ensure all the cereal and spices mix well and infuse.
- Don't substitute lemon/lime juice in place of citric acid as they will add moisture and affect the shelf life of the chevdo.
- You can also add toasted moong daal to the chevdo - I prefer it without though.
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