I loved everything about Diwali except the firecrackers. I hated the noisy kind. The best thing about diwali was food and the magazines. My dad would order 'Kishor', 'Kumar' and 'Amrut' for me in Diwali. These were special editions magazines printed for Diwali. Reading them as soon as they arrive used to be highlight of Diwali. I remember one year I kept all my firecrackers till the last day as I was busy reading the magazines. On the last day of diwali I started lighting my share and without any of us realizing what happened, the whole box started bursting. My dad and mom were scared and they couldn't reach me and the whole show went on for at least for 15 minutes. I still don't remember how me and my brother survived. I think that incident changed our (my brother and I) view about firecrackers. We never bought big crackers, rockets ever again.
And of course there was food and lots of it. My mom used to sew and the word got out and all of a sudden she became very popular tailor in the neighborhood. And she becoming busy gave her very little time to make diwali faral. I always helped her in kitchen but helping her before diwali was inevitable. She is a excellent cook and she would pay attention to all the details when she cooked. And she would be all the more careful when she prepared chakali, chivada, karanji, laddoos and her specialty Chirote! Every year she would at least one new sweet and she would teach me every little thing she did! I hated it sometimes as I was more interested in reading. I now realize that I must have paid attention to all those finer details. I remember things out of no where when I am cooking. Its amazing! I also realize my mom's efforts to tell me everything, make me aware of things.
My mom and I would draw big rangolis in front yard and color them. She would decide a design a day before and would not repeat any color from the day before. I used to love making garland, painting the small clay lamps, and lighting them around the porch. That was real diwali for me.
This chivda is my brother's favorite chivada. Mummy prepares this every time he comes back from ship and at least one Kg packet of this chivada goes with him when he joins the ship. But this is not exactly how she prepares. I made some changes along the way and then one of my friend Priya told me her version and I incorporated some of it. The final product is something lot of my friends enjoy and I hope you like it too.
8 cups Thin Pohe
1/4 cup cashew pieces
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup Daale (puffed chana daal)
4-5 green chilies (per taste)
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 cup curry leaves
1 tsp sugar
salt per taste
red chili powder if needed
1tsp turmeric powder
4 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
Line a 8"x8" baking dish with paper towel. Spread 2-3 cups of pohe in the baking dish. Microwave it for about 45 seconds to a minute. Spread microwaved pohe on newspaper immediately. Repeat the procedure for remaining pohe.
Chop green chilies in small pieces.
Heat oil in a large thick bottom vessel. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and sesame seeds to the oil. Let the seeds splutter.
Add chopped green chilies and curry leaves and saute for 3-4 minutes or until it changes color to light brown.
Now Add cashew halves, daale and saute for 3-4 minutes. Then add roasted peanuts and raisins and saute for few more minutes, until the cashews turn light brown.
Just before turning the heat off, add turmeric powder and mix it well. If you are using coiled stove, remove the pot off the surface as well.
Add half of pohe, salt, cumin powder, coriander powder and then add remaining pohe in the vessel. Mix it thoroughly.
Start the heat again and constantly mix the contents, making sure everything is mixed and heated evenly. Keep roasting till the pohe become crispy, up to 6-7 minutes.
Take the vessel off the heat. Add sugar after 5 minutes and mix well.
Please do not transfer it to another container until is cooled thoroughly.
- Roasting pohe in microwave is important, that take out excess moisture and makes chivda crispy.
- You can combine 6 cups of thin pohe and 2 cups of churmure/puffed rice.
- Priya adds 1/4 tsp of citric acid in the oil to give it a tangy flavor. Adding more cumin seeds is also her idea that give good flavor.
- You can add 1 tsp of ghee at the end to give it a nice flavor but then the dish will not be vegan.