One of the things I loved growing up in India was the variety of Namkeens (dry snack mixes) that were available. Apart from the delicious namkeem my Mom made at home, the stores always stacked so many crispy and crunchy snacks!! In Mumbai especially, namkeens catering to all needs and communities are available - south and north Indian style namkeens are available just round the corner. But lip smacking namkeens and snacks enjoyed by the Parsi community, the Gujarati community, the Jain community, the Punjabi community, the Bengali community can be found in areas dominated by such populations.
Even to this day I am amazed at the range the taste and diet spectrum that such stores cater to. On a recent trip to India, I found namkeens that were diet friendly, diabetic friendly, vegan, gluten free, spice free, you name it!! Indian stores here carry namkeens, but the range is more limited. And over the last couple of years we have stopped purchasing namkeens from the stores. I try to make one namkeen or mixture every weekend. Its work, but the comfort is in knowing that it is not coming out of a bag and that each and every ingredient that goes into the recipe was selected by me. It also means I can adjust the spice, heat, salt, and sugar levels as per our taste.
Sev is one of the most common and popular namkeens found across India. It is a very simple namkeen made with chickpea flour. Spices and flavours can be added as needed. Sev also forms the base of many mixtures and snacks - its a great namkeen to have handy when sprinkling of pohe, making bhel puri or sev puri, or any kind of chaat.
21/2 cups besan (gram flour | chickpea flour)
1/2 cup besan (gram flour | chickpea flour), as needed
1/2 tsp lal mirch powder (cayenne pepper)
1/2 tsp haldi (turmeric power)
Pinch hing (asafoetida)
2 tbsp canola oil
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp lime juice
3/4 cup water (2 tbsp extra, if needed)
Oil for deep frying
- Sift all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Pour thone tablespoon of the oil into the water. Stir, the add to the dry ingredients.
- Add the lime juice. Mix to a thick paste.
- Add the extra besan as needed by the tablespoonful.
- The paste should be thick but not sticky.
- Pour in the remaining tablespoon of oil to bring the paste together.
- Take a 1/4 of the paste and put into a murukku press with the appropriate disc.
- Heat the oil in a kadai or heavy bottomed wok, then reduce to medium.
- Hold the press carefully over the kadai, and press to form noodle discs.
- Allow one to fry evenly on both sides.
- Remove from the oil once golden brown and drain on a kitchen towel.
- Repeat until all the paste has been used.
- Cool the sev completely, then enjoy.
Good to Know
- Sev can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks. It will remain crisp and tasty.
- If you do not have a Murukku Press, you can use a potato ricer for making the Sev. Press the paste such that strings of noodles fall into the hot oil. Make sure that they do not fall on top of one another.
- Do not add any granular spices or herbs into this paste. It will clog the holes of the Murukku press. It could also cause the paste to fall in splashes into the hot oil endangering you.
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