For the ultimate savoury snack, experience the total flavour bomb that is Kenya Chevdo. This shortcut recipe is a mixed bag of potato crisps, nuts, puffed rice and spices. The hot and sour flavours are addictive.
100gchanna daalsoaked in hot water for 3 hours, then thoroughly drained and patted dry with kitchen towel
100gmoong daalsoaked in hot water for 3 hours, then thoroughly drained and patted dry with kitchen towel
45gcurry leaveswashed and thoroughly dried
1tbsp chilli powder
2tspcitric acid (don’t substitute lemon/lime juice as they will add moisture and affect the shelf life of the chevdo)coarsely pounded in a pestle and mortar
2tspsaltcoarsely pounded in a pestle and mortar
100gsugarcoarsely pounded in a pestle and mortar
1Loil for deep frying
Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based pan like a kadai or wok. The temperature of the oil should be approximately 180°C/355°F and set over a moderate heat.
1 L oil for deep frying
Fry the channa daal for 3-4 minutes until it's crispy all over but not browned. Repeat for the moong daal. Since the moong daal is smaller, they will take just 2 minutes to become crispy. Set aside on a plate lined with absorbent kitchen towel.
100 g moong daal, 100 g channa daal
Next, fry the peanuts and for a minute or so, until they are very lightly browned. Repeat for the cashews, which will take only 30-40 seconds. Set aside on a plate lined with absorbent kitchen towel. Alternatively, you can roast the nuts in the oven until lightly golden brown.
125 g peanuts, 50 g cashews
Fry the poha. They will take just 10-12 seconds to puff up at this temperature. Set aside on a plate lined with absorbent kitchen towel.
250 g poha
The last thing to fry are the curry leaves. Fry for 40-60 seconds or until translucent and brittle. Do not let them brown too much. Set aside on a plate lined with absorbent kitchen towel.
45 g curry leaves
In a bowl, mix together the chilli powder, turmeric, citric acid, salt and sugar. Stir well.
1 tbsp chilli powder, 2 tsp citric acid (don’t substitute lemon/lime juice as they will add moisture and affect the shelf life of the chevdo), 2 tsp salt, 100 g sugar, 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
Grab a very large container or basin. Add the unsalted potato sticks and sprinkle over a dessertspoon full of the seasoning. Next add the crisps, and scatter more of the seasoning. Tip in the poha and top with more seasoning. The next step is to crush some of the curry leaves between your palms and add it to the mixture.
375 g unsalted potato sticks, 250 g ready salted crisps
Add in the sultanas, channa daal, moong daal and peanuts. Finish with the rest of the seasoning and then, with clean hands, toss everything together so all the ingredients are coated. Crush some of the crisps up so everything is of a similar size. Pack into airtight containers and store in a cool, dark place for up to 8 weeks. Shake the containers regularly to distribute the seasoning and coat everything evenly.
65 g sultanas
Pre-fried moong daal, channa daal and puffed rice are all available in shops and can be used in this recipe. However, many contain a great deal of added spices and seasonings which are rather strong in flavour and not particularly common in Kenya Chevdo (such as chaat masala). If you like these, feel free to use them.
If you want to keep frying to a minimum, you can buy everything pre-roasted in packs. Check your local Indian or East African food shop.
The curry leaves are essential to this recipe and must be fried to extract as much flavour as possible. If you do not fry the curry leaves and dry roast them, the flavour will not be as potent as it should be.