Don’t worry if your favorite dinner becomes unfashionable.

At least you’d have one square meal.

While I was studying in New Zealand, I had an Indian roommate. Through him, I was introduced to all sorts of wonderful snacks and spice combinations, which only enhanced my love of Indian food. One of the first snacks he introduced me to was Chevda, or Poha Chudva, which is like an Indian trail mix. It’s freakin’ delicious. It has puffed rice, toasted coconut, cashews, raisins, and this sweet spicy coating which ties it all together. It’s salty, sweet, spicy, crunchy, and chewy. It is wonderful. It is addictive. It is one of my guilty pleasures.

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Since moving back to CT, I have not found it. Granted, I haven’t checked out many Indian markets, or scoured stores very hard looking for it. I was of the mentality that if I found it, awesome, but if not, then it’s a good NZ memory. I also figured I could get some when I eventually went to India, and until then it would just be a Holy Grail treat.

A few weeks ago, Providence intervened. I was looking at a recipe book from the library, and BEHOLD! What do I flip open to? A recipe for what the chef had termed “Spice Crispies”. I looked at the picture and though, that looks familiar. And then I read through the ingredients. Joy of JOYS, I can make one of my favorite treats at home! I checked the book out, took it home, grabbed my ingredients, and set to work.

This recipe was fairly easy. It got a little hairy with the toasting of the spices in the extremely hot oil, but it turned out fine. They also browned a bit faster in the oven than I intended, so my photos (which are already not the best) look a little darker than they should be. I’ve adjusted the recipe time accordingly. The recipe also called for Corn Syrup, an ingredient I am definitely against. So, I substituted honey. Same consistency, but better for you, since it’s a real food.

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The book I found this glorious gem of a recipe in is Chef Recipes Made Easy: Over 100 of America’s Favorite Restaurant Dishes Edited by Dana Cowin, and put out by Food & Wine. It is a fabulous book and has some delicious recipes. I’ve made about 3 or 4 of them so far. They will most likely be in other posts.

Now I bring to you…

Spice Crispies, or Chevda
adapted from Chef Recipes Made Easy

Ingredients

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2 cups puffed rice cereal
1/4 cup each
salted cashews
salted peanuts
wide coconut flakes
raisins
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 large bay leaves
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss the puffed rice with the cashews, peanuts, coconut, and raisins.
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  2. In a small saucepan, heat the oil until simmering. (This is where things get a little dangerous. Working with hot oil comes with the risk of splashback and burns. BE CAREFUL). Add the mustard seeds and cook over moderately high heat until they begin to pop, about 1 minute. Add the fennel and cumin seeds, crushed red pepper, and bay leaves and toast, stirring, until fragrant–about 1 minute.
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  3. Carefully add the honey, lemon juice, and salt. Bring to a boil. Drizzle the hot syrup over the cereal and nuts and toss with a spoon until evenly coated.
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  4. Spread the mixture on the baking sheet and bake, stirring once or twice, until the nuts are golden–about 15-20minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on it, as it turns fast.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool. Discard the bay leaves. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

The Spice Crispies keep for about a week, when stored in an airtight container. However, I doubt they’ll last that long. Enjoy!

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