Poha chivda is a traditional Indian dry snack mix made of flattened rice, peanuts, fried gram, dry fruits, dried coconut and spices.
This recipe is easy to make, completely pan-roasted, low on oil, and gets done in less than 20 minutes.
Vegan, gluten-free and made with basic Indian pantry staples.
I absolutely love crunchy savory snacks like this, although it is not an everyday affair at ours.
The typical Indian tea-time snacks happen over the weekends mostly, although I would not mind munching on healthy snacks like this along with my fruits.
What is Poha Chivda
Poha is flattened rice/ rice flakes and chivda is a savory Indian trail mix made of flattened rice, spices and other crunchies.
Chivda by default is made using flattened rice, which is a very traditional snack recipe more popular in Maharashtra and north Karnataka.
However, many more varieties of chivda are also made using corn flakes, oats, makhana.
A basic Indian tempering is made using oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, green chilies, asafoetida, curry leaves, and turmeric.
I also like to add fennel seeds in the tempering for the burst of freshness and flavor they add.
This is then followed by roasting peanuts, sliced dry coconut, raisins, roasted gram dal, and seasoned with salt and sugar.
Lastly, the thin poha is mixed in well, roasted carefully for a few minutes, the mixture is then let to cool and stored away in an airtight container.
You will need thin poha (rice flakes) in this. Do not use thick or medium-sized poha, they don’t work well.
Thin poha should be available at all Indian stores if you are living outside India.
Make sure the poha is not broken, especially if it is in a packet.
I used groundnut (peanut) oil in this as it works well for Maharashtrian/Karnataka dishes.
However, you can use any other oil of your choice- coconut oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, rice bran oil, mustard oil, avocado oil.
Avoid olive oil as its flavor will not go well in this.
We do not have to deep fry any of the ingredients, but roast them all in a couple of tablespoons of oil.
Whole Spices and Spice Powders-
Mustard Seeds: use black or brown mustard seeds.
Fennel Seeds: typically they are not used in chivda, but I love adding them for their flavor and highly recommend using them.
Turmeric powder: the ingredient that gives poha its lovely yellow color. You definitely would not want to skip it.
Black pepper powder: it is not mandatory, but is required to enhance the bioavailability of curcumin in turmeric into the bloodstream, in any food for that matter.
Asafoetida: No Indian tempering is complete without asafoetida, isn’t it? Use organic gluten-free asafoetida in case you are particular about it.
Green chilies and fresh curry leaves are added in for heat and flavor, respectively.
While you can choose to skip green chilies and add in red chili powder, the chilies do turn crispy and their heat is also reduced, and are definitely fun to eat.
You can use dried red chilies in place of green chilies, they also work.
Fresh curry leaves are the best, and when turned crispy on roasting, taste amazing in chivda.
In case you have no access to the fresh ones, you can use dried curry leaves.
Sliced dried coconut (copra) is an important ingredient, that turns crispy on roasting. The roasted slices taste delicious and are nutritious too.
I cut the halved kernels into smaller pieces and then sliced them into thin long pieces.
You can, however, go for an easier option of buying the toasted slices (toasted coconut flakes) directly from the store.
Nuts/Lentil and Dried Fruits–
Peanuts with skin are a must in chivda. However, you can skip them if you are allergic.
They are typically roasted until light brown. You can also directly add in roasted deskinned peanuts if you like to, without roasting them.
Cashews, almonds or any other nut of choice can also be added in.
Almonds and walnuts can be fairly chopped and toasted separately and then added in.
I like adding in raisins for the hint of sweetness they add in.
Other dried fruits like apricot, fig, dates can be finely chopped and added in too.
Roasted gram dal, also known as roasted chana dal, daria, is also used. They also add some crunch and nutrition as well.
Lastly, salt, of course and sugar. Sugar balances the flavors, however, you can skip if you wish to.
You can use powdered sugar or regular sugar (granulated).
While the list might look long at the first glance, once you have all the ingredients pulled out from the pantry or the refrigerator, it definitely is a breeze to put them all together.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Poha Chivda Vegan and Gluten-free?
Yes, Poha Chivda is vegan. It is also gluten-free if organic gluten-free asafoetida is used.
How long can the Chivda be stored?
When stored in an airtight container, it stays well upto a month.
In case it gets a little soggy in between, you can simply roast it on low-medium heat for a few minutes.
Once it cools down, it will turn more crispier and ready to be stored back in the airtight container.
Some Points to Note
1. Make sure you are roasting all the ingredients on low-medium flame. They can get burned easily, so avoid the temptation of increasing the heat.
2. Add the turmeric, pepper, and salt just before mixing in the poha so that they are not exposed to heat for long, which can otherwise burn them all.
3. Mix the poha gently and carefully as they can break easily.
4. If you are using the store-bought thin coconut flakes, toast them up just before adding the poha, for a few minutes. They will brown really quickly.
5. The poha absorbs the salt and spice better on cooling, so be careful with the amount of salt you use in the first go, although it might seem less salty when warm.
How to make Poha Chivda: Step by Step
In a wide pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. I used groundnut (peanut) oil.
Add in 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds, them them crackle, followed by a teaspoon cumin seeds and let them sizzle.
Add in 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds and let them sizzle too.
Next, add in 2 to 3 sprigs of curry leaves, followed by 4 to 5 green chilies fairly chopped.
Also add in a generous pinch of asafoetida.
Saute for a few minutes until curry leaves start crisping up and the green chilies have white spots on them.
Make sure to keep the heat in low-medium.
Add in 3 to 4 tablespoons of peanuts frying them until their skin starts peeling off, and they start turning slightly brown.
Next, add in 4 tablespoons of roasted gram dal followed by 1/2 cup of sliced dry coconuts.
As the coconut slices start turning brown in color, stir in 2 tablespoons of raisins (preferably green, any other variety is also okay).
The raisins will swell up a bit, start shrinking slightly, and would turn a little brown. Look out for this.
Do not burn any of the ingredients, I almost burned the raisins! So, just be quick at this stage.
The heat should be low before you quickly add in 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder, 1 to 1.5 teaspoon salt (adjust as per taste), and 1 teaspoon sugar.
Mix everything and toss in the thin poha.
Using two spatulas, gently mix the poha well with the roasted ingredients making sure the flakes do not break.
Keep the heat on low and let the mixture sit for a couple of minutes.
The thin poha crisps up quickly, so you do not have to roast it for too long.
Take the pan off the heat, and let the mixture cool completely before storing it in an airtight container.
To make a deep-fried version of the poha chivda, you can simply deep fry all the ingredients- poha, peanuts, roasted gram dal, sliced coconut, raisins, curry leaves separately.
Transfer them all to a large mixing bowl, do the tempering with oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, turmeric powder, green chilies, asafoetida and add it to the bowl.
Season with salt, sugar and mix it all well using hands once the ingredients have cooled down a bit.
You can use thick or medium poha in this instead of the thin variety.
Oven or Air-Fried Chivda:
To decrease the amount of oil (except for the tempering), you can oven roast or air-fry all the non tempering ingredients.
I have not personally tried this method, so I cannot tell the exact settings and timings that work here. But, you can give it a try, which I am sure will work.
It could be a little time consuming as you have to roast the ingredients separately as their cooking times would vary.
In place of poha or along with it, you can use oats, popped quinoa, quinoa flakes, corn flakes, makhana, chana jor garam (pressed brown chickpeas), millet flakes, red rice flakes, or puffed rice.
Oats, red rice flakes, millet flakes, quinoa flakes and makhana have to be roasted (either in a pan, an oven, or an air-fryer) just like the method followed for poha.
Oats and makhana take a little longer to roast until they are crispy and crunchy.
Corn flakes, puffed rice, popped quinoa, and chana jor garam would already be roasted or deep-fried, so you need not have to roast them again.
It could also happen that the popped quinoa and the puffed rice might be a little soggy, which will then have to be roasted.
Once the main ingredient is ready, you can continue to roast the rest of the ingredients followed by tempering and mixing them all together.
The traditional recipe does not include garlic in the tempering, so I have not included it in the recipe too.
However, if you like the flavor of garlic, you can crush a few whole cloves of garlic adding them to the tempering.
Let them turn brown slightly, and then continue with the other ingredients.
More snack recipes you might like
I hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy it as much as I enjoyed preparing it and writing it down for you all. 🙂
If you have any questions about the recipe, kindly post them below under comments.
I would love to see your recipe recreations. 🙂