The Sensitive Kitchen

Friday, November 01, 2013

Chiwda (Bombay Mixture)

Bombay chiwda is the original Kettle corn: a bit spicy, a bit sweet, a bit salty, and thoroughly wonderful. Since poha consumes a lot of oil when fried, this dish falls firmly in the category of "special occasion food." But do make it anyway; you won't be sorry. If your household includes no homesick Indians, you can easily halve the recipe and it will turn out just the same.

2 tsp cayenne
2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
2 c thick poha (beaten rice; available at Indian markets)1 c golden raisins
1 c whole skinned peanuts
1/2 c whole or halved cashews
3/4 c curry leaves, halved if large
1/2 c large-flake unsweetened coconut, broken into pieces if large
1 c rice bran or other oil for frying

Mix together cayenne, sugar, turmeric and salt; set aside. Measure all ingredients; set aside. Have ready a 5-quart stainless steel bowl and two heatproof silicone spatulas.

In a large stainless steel skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil. When it shimmers, scatter a small handful of poha over the top. It will immediately puff. Toss in skillet with a clean spatula until evenly puffed and browned, then remove to stainless bowl. Put another Tbsp of oil in skillet to heat. Using the second spatula, toss puffed poha with a bit of spice mixture until evenly coated. Repeat until all of poha is puffed and all of spice mixture is used.

Fry peanuts and cashews in a very little bit of oil until beginning to brown; add to bowl. Crisp curry leaves in batches in a bit of oil; add to bowl. Toast coconut, using up any remaining oil in skillet. Toss thoroughly. When cool, store in an airtight container. Makes 4 quarts.

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