Chivda (pronounced “chew-da”) is a traditional spicy Indian snack mix commonly eaten throughout India. Chivdas can be made from a myriad of different ingredients such as various dals, nuts, raisins, puffed rice, pressed rice… all tossed together with delicious spices. There are many varieties of chivdas & they range from very mild to super spicy. But it’s not only their delicious taste that makes chivdas very addictive; it’s also their crispy crunchy texture as well. Although most Indian grocery stores & markets are well stocked with literally hundreds of chivda varieties, my home made version beats them all easily hands down.
Personally, my favorite type of chivda is Corn Chivda. This type of chivda is made using “corn poha” or literally Indian cornflakes. Corn poha are readily available at any Indian grocery store but you can easily use unsweetened cornflakes (yes, the cereal) in a pinch! It’s a huge time saver & also a healthier option. I’ve done it many times & it’s absolutely delicious!
In India, chivdas are served as a snack along with tea. My family even adds them to chaats, upma, poha & sabudana chi khichidi (tapioca pilaf). But fair warning, chivdas are highly addictive!
CORN CHIVDA (Spiced Indian Cornflakes Snack Mix)
4-5 cups corn poha (or corn flakes)
1˝ tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
5-6 dried red chilies, to taste
8-10 fresh curry leaves
˝ tsp turmeric (haldi)
1 tsp red chili powder, to taste
1 tsp ground coriander powder
˝ tbsp amchur powder (dried mango powder)
salt, to taste
1 cup toasted unsalted peanuts
˝ cup toasted unsalted cashew pieces
˝ cup golden raisins
˝ cup putane or dalia (roasted chana dal), optional
juice of ˝ lemon
˝ tsp sugar, to taste
oil as needed (vegetable or canola)
If you are making the chivda using Indian corn poha, they need to be deep fried first. So fry up the corn poha in batches & drain well. Set aside until needed. If you making the chivda with ready to use cornflakes, then you are all set & this step can be skipped.
In a large deep skillet or wok on medium high heat, add 2 tbsp of the oil. When hot, add the cumin seeds & allow them to sizzle. Then add the fennel seeds, dried red chilies & curry leaves. Then add the spices to the hot oil (turmeric, red chili powder, ground coriander powder, amchur powder & salt). Stir & add in the peanuts along with the cashew pieces, raisins & chana dal. Mix well, reduce the heat to low & then start adding in the corn poha (or cornflakes) in batches. Make sure that all of the corn poha/cornflakes are well coated with the spices. Lastly, add the lemon juice, sugar & toss well to combine all the ingredients. Let cook for a few minutes & then remove the pan completely off the heat. Let cool & store in an airtight container.
You can use this same basic recipe for any chivda, so experiment with various ingredients – such as unsweetened rice krispies, crispix, various chex cereals….