As someone who loves a good meal, cooking one, came to me as a natural passion. I belong to a family where meal times consisted of not just food, but also noisy conversation centered around the events of the day and discussing the menu for the next. (ah yes, we are a greedy lot! )

For the most part of my life so far, my contribution in the kitchen was assisting mom and my duties were limited, to chopping veggies and laying the table. Then along came the great Indian wedding, and I was suddenly the queen of my very own kingdom. My curiosity about this magical world, coupled with an enthusiastic sous-chef (my husband, Vineet), led me to take on the challenge of preparing meals on a daily basis, and not succumbing to the convenience of hiring a cook.

This blog is a product of my experiments with food (not all are life threatening :D) for my fellow culinary enthusiasts - especially the newly weds and hungry bachelors and is dedicated to the women who've inspired me in the kitchen;
Aji (s),Ma and Nigella Lawson.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Besan Laadu's & Chiwda

Diwali is one time of the year, when food related indulgence is absolutely guilt-free. Vineet's folks are here in Singapore for three weeks, so Diwali was relaxed, fun and full of great conversation and good food. Excited about our first Diwali together, my mother-in-law and I decided to make Besan laadu's and Chiwda for snacking on through the weekend.These simple traditional treats guarantee to win over the hearts of your new families.... brides-to-be, are you listening? :)


4 cups Gram flour (Besan)
2 cups powdered Sugar
1-1/4 cup Ghee (clarified butter)
1/4 Milk + 1 pinch Saffron
1/2 cup Raisins
1 tsp Cardamom powder

1.  Heat a thick-bottomed Kadhaai (wok) over a medium flame and dry roast the gram flour for about 4-5 minutes. Add the ghee (clarified butter) and continue to roast till the mixture is a golden brown with a soft paste-like consistency. (about 12-15 minutes)

2.  Turn off the heat and splash the saffron-milk - the hot mixture will sizzle and splatter. Mix well, till the milk in integrated into the mixture. Let the mixture cool slightly.

3.  Once the mixture is luke warm mix in the powdered sugar and knead well till soft. Mix in the raisins, and cardamom powder.

4.  Take a teaspoonful of the mixture and roll into small lemon sized balls. Cool slightly, to allow them to set into shape, and.... EAT!


3 cups Poha ( Rice flakes)
3 cups Murmura (Puffed Rice)
1 cup Peanuts (unsalted with skins)
1/2 cup Cashew nuts (optional)
1/2 cup Roasted Gram seeds (futaane)
3 cloves Garlic (finely sliced)
1/2 cup Dry Coconut (thinly sliced and broken into 1 to 1-1/2" long pieces)
1 cup Oil ( I used extra light olive oil, but you can use any other vegetable cooking oil)
5 tsp Mustard seeds (rai / sarson)
3-4 tsp Cumin seeds (jeera) 
1/2 tsp Asafoetida powder (hing)
3-4 Green chillies (chopped into 1/2" pieces)
10-15 Curry leaves (kadipatta)
1-1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
Salt + Sugar (as per preference)

1.  Dry roast the Poha & Murmura (seperately) in a large thick bottomed kadhai (wok) - I used a large sized pressure cooker since i do not own a large kadhaai. If not the results achieved by using a hot oven (@ 180 degrees for about 5-7 mins) are just as good.
(The idea here is ensure that the ingredients are completely dry, but not browned... So make sure not to leave this process unattended... constantly turn the contents gently to ensure even roasting and too keep them from scorching)

2.  Heat the oil and one by one, fry the Peanuts, Cashews, Roasted gram seeds and Coconut pieces till they're golden brown. Remove from oil and set aside onto a paper napkin to cool slightly. Next, fry the sliced garlic till golden brown and set aside.

3.  Next, use the same oil to make the tempering (tadka / fodni). Add the Mustard seeds + Cumin seeds + Asafoetida powder + Chopped green chillies + Curry leaves.
Reduce the flame to low and add the fried [ peanuts + cashews + gram seeds + coconut + fried garlic ] when the chillies and curry leaves stop sputtering. Gently stir and immediately add the roasted Poha and Murmura and mix gently to ensure that the spices are mixed evenly. (Make sure that the gas burner is on its lowest setting, to keep the poha and murmura from burning)

4.  Switch off the flame and add salt and sugar as per taste, and mix well. Allow the Chiwda to cool down and store it in a air-tight container.

The Chiwda by itself is pretty addictive, but adding some finely chopped onion + chopped coriander and a squirt of lime juice (right before serving / eating ofcourse!) makes it just pure sweet-salty-tangy-spicy heaven! Its the perfect snack to go along with a chilled beer !


  1. Chivda and beer go along well. next time we must try the combo.

  2. Yes Panju, they do. Been there, done that :-)

  3. hey tried ur besan ladoos recipe...awesome!