Life was simple back in the days when I was growing up. Homemade chivada, bhadang, laddus were the only available after school snacks. Mom would make it fresh regularly even with her busy schedule. Potato chips, cakes, pastries was something we would get occasionally (read once a year). There was this churmurewala who sold fresh churmure(puffed rice) from canvas bag lined with 4-5 layers of plastic to keep them crispy. Mummy would buy churmure from him regularly.
Once in a while we would go to this small place where they made churmure using traditional method. The stove or the oven where they make chirmure is about 2-3 feet wide, about 2-4 feet deep, depending on amount of production. It constantly burns various types of wood, remains of a rice, jowar plants or even coal sometimes. They would put a large iron kadhai, usually half filled with fine sand, on that constantly burning heat. Like every production line, here things will be lined up to optimize use of fuel and time. To make churmure, the thick variety of rice is soaked in salt water for at least 7-8 hours. Then removed and air dried just enough for them to be damp. One person will add about a kilo or so this damp rice in heating sand in kadhai and another will constantly stirring the contents. When almost all the rice is turned into churmure they are removed using a large metal strainer which will get almost every piece of churmure out while leaving the sand in kadhai. The process is repeated until that rice batch is done. Then churmure sifted again to remove remaining sand and stored in a plastic lined bori. various types of poha, roasted chana(phutane), lahya(popped jowar), popcorn are made in the same way. Its not easy to be around high heat all the time nor is healthy for the people who work in these 'factories'. I hope things have changed for good as I have not visited it in past 10-15 years.
So lets see how to make bhadang using these freshly made chirmure -
5 cups fresh Churmure
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
6-7 curry leaves
2 cloves of garlic
2-3 green chilies (or per taste)
Salt per taste
3 tbsp oil
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
pinch of asafoetida
Spread churmure in a large plate lined with paper towel. Microwave for 20-30 seconds in two batches.
Finely chop green chilies. Crush garlic and coarsely chop.
Heat oil in a heavy bottom vessel. Add mustard and cumin seeds. Add curry leaves when the seeds start to splutter.
Add chopped chilies and garlic. Saute on medium heat. Add roasted peanuts and saute till it becomes golden brown.
Add salt, turmeric and asafoetida and mix well.
Now remove vessle from heat and add churmure and mix it well. Make sure churmure are coated with spiced oil. Now start heating the kadhai on low to medium heat. Stir constantly.
Adjust seasoning and remove from heat. Make sure you keep on stirring it even after removing from heat. Let it cool down completely before storing in airtight container.
- If you get fresh churmure like my mom, there is no need to microwave it. But the store bought churmure are not really crisp at times and microwaving it makes a difference.
- My mom makes this with red chili powder instead of green chilies.
- Some people add powdered daale(puffed chana dal) to bhadang. And some people add metkut. If you decide to add metkut do not add green chilies, add red chili powder instead.
- You can use same recipe to make bhadang out of Rice Crispies Cereal.