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.
- 375 g unsweetened multigrain cereal loops
- 375 g unsweetened cornflakes
- 500 g unsalted baked potato sticks or crisps
- 150 g cashews
- 85 g almonds
- 85 g redskin peanuts
- 12 g curry leaves approx 50 leaves
- 5 green chillies
- 50 g sesame seeds
- 30 g coconut
- 25 g raisins
- 25 g coriander leaves
- 20 g fennel seeds
- 10 g cinnamon sticks 1 stick, broken
- 2 g cloves 15 cloves
- 5 g citric acid don’t substitute lemon/lime juice as they will add moisture and affect the shelf life of the chevdo
- 12 g salt
- 70 ml oil
- 6 g turmeric 2 tsp
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
- Place the cereal on a large baking tray and bake for 6-8 minutes until golden and toasted. Allow to cool.
- Place the nuts on a large baking tray and bake for 6-8 minutes until golden and toasted. Allow to cool.
- In a large container, add the cereal, nuts and potato sticks.
- Heat the oil in a pan. Add the remaining ingredients and saute for 2 minutes until aromatic. Mix this with the cereal and nuts and toss well to coat everything well.
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