Friday, November 9, 2012

Quick Poha Chivda (Flattened Rice Snack)

With Diwali around the corner, the "faraal" (festive snacks) making has started at my home. The easiest and  most common snack prepared is "Poha Chivda". The recipe which I am sharing with you is a regular at Maharashtrian homes during Diwali.

Before we get to the recipe, I would like to mention that a lot of tips have been provided below the recipe to change the flavoring of the chivda to your liking. Do go through them to tweak the chivda as per your preference.

Let me also go through certain important tips before we start cooking:
When it comes to flattened rice, your supermarket may carry 3 different varieties: Thick Poha, Thin Poha and Nylon Poha. For this chivda recipe I would recommend the thin variety of poha.

I generally make my chivda with less oil. My measure is :
4 cups of flattened rice needs 2 tblsp oil. 

The most common problem new cooks face while making chivda is guessing the salt content. Though this is a personal preference for everyone, I have a fixed measure for that too.
4 cups of flattened rice needs 3/4 tsp ground salt. 
Do keep in mind that this is our personal preference. You can work around this figure to get your flavors right where you want.
You noticed I mentioned 'Ground' salt? It is nothing fancy! I just put some salt in a mortal pestle and grind it till it is powdered down well. This prevents the salt from settling to the bottom of your pan or the box where you store this chivda. Also, powdered salt perfectly coats the flattened rice and there is no residue at the bottom that makes your last batch of chivda too salty to consume.

I generally dry roast the nuts before adding them to the chivda when I make it at my home just as a regular snack. But when it is prepared during Diwali time, the nuts are shallow fried in oil.
Afterall Diwali is about (over) indulging. Isin't it!

And last but not the least, like most of the snack recipes, you will need to have all ingredients prepped and ready before you get to making the chivda.

Moving to the recipe..

Level: Easy
Serves: 8 heaped cups of chivda

(Chivda with onions, cilantro and a squeeze of lime)

8 cups of thin poha/flattened rice
3/4 cup raw peanuts
1/2 cup roasted chana dal
12 garlic pods, thinly sliced
4 tblsp oil + oil for shallow frying nuts and garlic
1 tsp mustard seeds
3/4 tsp asafoetida/hing
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
15 green chillies, wiped dry and finely chopped
15 -18 curry leaves, wiped dry
Salt to taste, powdered in a mortar and pestle

Step 1 - In a small pot, heat 4 tblsp oil. When the oil is hot, add the raw peanuts and fry till they turn light brown. Drain onto a paper towel. Next add the roasted chana dal and fry till they turn light brown too. Drain these onto the paper towel. In the same oil, add the garlic and fry it on a high flame till they turn brown. Drain these onto the paper towel too. Keep aside. Discard remaining oil.

Step 2 - Let us roast the flattened rice. Take 4 cups of flattened rice in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave cook on high power for 1 minute. Take out the bowl, stir the flattened rice around with a spoon and microwave cook again for 1 more minute. Keep aside. Repeat the steps with the next 4 cups of rice. You will notice that the puffed rice curls up a little, looks brittle and is crisp when it cools down.

Step 3 - In a huge pot, heat 4 tblsp oil. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the asafoetida and curry leaves. Stir for a couple of seconds. Add the green chillies and saute them for a minute or two till the chillies turn brown.

Step 4 - Add the turmeric powder and immediately add all the fried nuts and garlic from step 1. Stir for a few seconds. Add the ground salt and mix well. Immediately add the roasted flattened rice and saute well till the oil coats each and every ingredient. Roast for 4 to 5 mins on medium heat.

The chivda will be crisp as soon as it cools down. Store it in an air tight container and indulge!

Unlike my folks at home, a lot of Indians enjoy their chivda a little sweet. 2 ingredients can help you with this. Raisins and Sugar. If you plan to add some raisins, make sure you fry them well in Step 1. If you plan to use sugar, you will have to powder it in a mortal pestle like we did for the salt and add it right at the end after your chivda cools down a little. If you add sugar when the chivda is hot, the sugar will caramelize and you will not get your desired texture and taste.

You can add dry coconut flakes in this chivda too. Like raisins, you will have to fry them till they are light brown in Step 1.

You need to remember that whenever you are using garlic in your chivda, it is the last ingredient that you will fry. While frying, as we are using less oil, garlic tends to cling to your spoon and become sticky. You may not be able to fry anything else after you fry garlic.

If you do not own a microwave oven, you can roast the flattened rice in a flat pan on medium to low heat stirring continuously. This process would take upto 12 - 15 mins. Do not rush.

A lot of Indian stores have 'Chivda Masala' available. You can substitute this spice mix instead of turmeric in this recipe.

If you are not comfortable adding green chillies into the chivda, you can substitute it with red chilly powder. Just add it immediately after the turmeric. Make sure you do not let it burn.

Roasted chana dal is readily available in the market. If you do not have it, just skip it. Do not roast the regular chana dal you have at home. It does not mimic the store bought version.

We enjoy this chivda with some chopped onions, lots of cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Perfect with our evening tea or coffee.

If you have any further questions or if I have missed any points, please feel free to drop me your queries in the comment box below. I will try my best to answer them.



  1. Yippiee Yee.. Diwali time.. Faral Time.. and CHivdaaaaa timee!!!

  2. I have added a lill extra to set it right