Chudwa, sometimes called chevda, is for South Indians what trail-mix is for us. It’s a blend of nuts, dried fruit, puffed rice and various typical Indian spices.
It’s very easy to make, but like eggrolls, it’s time-consuming. It’s a big production. One of my sisters-in-law is in charge of assembling the ingredients. My mother-in-law is the one frying the puffed rice flakes. One other sister’s job is to sprinkle the spices as soon as the ingredients are out of the oil. My job is to toss the whole thing and, last but not least, the other 2 younger sisters’ job is to taste. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.
1. Info for South Indian Spicy Nut and Puffed Rice Snack (Chudwa)
- Cook Time: 8 min
- Total Time: 15 min
- Servings: 20
- Calories: 113 kcal
2. Ingredients for South Indian Spicy Nut and Puffed Rice Snack (Chudwa)
- 2 cups fresh curry leaves, cut in thirds with shears
- 25 green chiles, stemmed and sliced
- 2 whole red Thai bird chiles, stemmed
- 1 pound peanuts, blanched
- 1 pound cashew nuts
- 1 pound almonds, blanched and halved
- 1-1/2 pounds golden raisins
- sugar, to taste
- salt, to taste
- citric acid, to taste
- turmeric powder, to taste
- red chili powder, to taste
- 160 fluid ounces canola oil
- 2 (2-lb) packages parched rice (see tips)
- Line 6 (19.5″ x 14.5″ x 2.75″) aluminum foil pans with super-absorbent paper towels.
- Heat about 1/3 cup of oil in a small saucepan. When the oil is hot and bubbly, add the curry leaves, whole red Thai chiles and the chopped green chiles. As soon as the curry leaves and chiles are nicely coated with oil, lower the heat to medium-low. Cook for 10 minutes, until the green chiles are brown (not black, don’t burn them!). Set aside.
- Heat about 4 cups of oil in a medium-sized saucepan. When the oil is hot and bubbly, put the peanuts into a strainer and place the strainer in the oil. Cook until the peanuts are slightly brown for about 4 minutes. Remove as much oil as possible. Transfer to one aluminum foil pan. Immediately add the raisins and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of citric acid and 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt. Toss well.
- Dry roast the almonds until they are nicely golden. Transfer to the same aluminum foil pan used for the peanuts. Immediately add the cashew nuts and sprinkle about 1/4 cup of sugar, 1-1/2 teaspoon of citric acid, 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric powder and 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Toss well and set aside.
- Using the same oil, wait until the oil is hot and bubbly and put one cup of parched rice into the strainer. Place the strainer in the oil and fry the rice over high heat. It’ll become puffed rice instantly (about 3-5 seconds). Remove the strainer from the oil. Drain as much oil as possible. Transfer to another aluminum foil pan. Immediately sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar, 3/4 teaspoon of citric acid, 1/8 teaspoon red chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder.
- At this point, it becomes very repetitive. Fry one cup of parched rice at a time. Season with the same spices (2 tablespoons sugar, 3/4 teaspoon of citric acid, 1/8 teaspoon red chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder).
- When everything is ready, combine the puffed rice, nuts and raisins into 3 new aluminum foil pans. Add the chiles and curry leaves mix with as little oil as you can. Toss well using two large spatulas. Taste. You want to make sure the mix is properly seasoned (sweet, sour, slightly salted and a bit of heat at the end).This recipe yields 2-1/2 (19.5″ x 14.5″ x 2.75″) aluminum foil pans. It’s perfect for serving large groups.
- Serve with a cup of masala chai.
- Time to turn on the TV, call all your family and friends and watch an Indian movie like the Bollywood musical Bride and Prejudice, with Aishwarya Rai!