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Spiced Crispies (Chivda) Recipe

I went on vacation to Seattle last month. While there, I indulged in my favorite hobby: eating all the food. Seattle is a great food city especially focused on "farm to table" style cooking and the seafood was the freshest, most reasonably priced seafood I've had anywhere. My favorite restaurant that I went to was Poppy. This restaurant had a great plating concept, which they called the "thali." Basically, guests chose a main entree, which is served artist palette style alongside 6 or 7 small sides (plus naan bread) whose flavors compliment each other. The food is New American but with a heavy focus on spices, especially spices from India and North Africa.

My foodie friend who lives in Seattle raved about an appetizer at Poppy called "Spiced Crispies" - basically a bar snack consisting of puffed rice, dried fruit, nuts and spices. We ordered it and OMG, it was so incredibly addictive! I wrote down the identifiable ingredients in order to attempt to recreate it at home. I described the dish to a coworker, who is Indian, and he said "Spiced Crispies" is an Indian cereal mix snack called chivda. There's a whole bunch of different styles of chivda recipes from my google search. The recipe below attempts to recreate the "Spiced Crispies" bar snack I had at Poppy, and is not necessarily authentic chivda.  

Its a great snack, one hell of a flavor explosion, crispy because of the puffed rice, sweet from the sugary syrup and raisins, nutty, and so exciting on the palate as the all the spices (cumin, mustard, fennel, poppy, red pepper) burst and pop on your tongue. You should make this with whole spices rather than ground as part of the allure is how distinctive the flavors are as they dance around your mouth. Concept wise, it reminds me of the "sensational gum" whose flavor would change in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the gum that was the undoing of Violet Beauregarde). This would be great for any occasion (TV watching, beer drinking, parties) where you crave snacks.

I made a big batch of it today to send to my friend for Xmas. Here's a picture and the recipe.


Spiced Crispies

6 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
3 teaspoons mustard seed
1.5 teaspoons fennel seed
1.5 teaspoons poppy seed
1.5 teaspoons cumin seed
0.5 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more if you like it spicy)
1.5 teaspoons tart mango powder aka amchur (or a quarter of a lemon, juiced or sumac powder)**
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons corn syrup

4 cups puffed rice cereal (Rice Krispies)
1 cup nuts (I like cashews and peanuts)
0.5 cup pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup golden raisins

** I found tart mango powder (aka amchur) in my local Indian grocery store. It tastes exactly as you would expect, like dried sour mango ground up. If you don't have time to source it, lemon juice or sumac would be fine as a substitute.

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with either a silpat mat or parchment paper.
2. Heat oil on medium high in deep 12-inch pan or dutch oven until it shimmers.
3. Add spices, saute for about a minute until spices are lightly toasted. Add tart mango powder, salt and corn syrup. Cook until corn syrup is bubbly, about 2 mins.
4. Add in remaining ingredients. Stir until coated. Place on cookie sheet and bake 20 mins, tossing occasionally, until nuts are toasted. 


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 17th, 2012 12:31 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked Seattle and all it's good eats! Poppy is a delish place as well.

I went to a Indian wedding where I tried something very similar that I couldn't pronounce-sweetened puffed rice! It made me think of sweetened cereal with no milk. I bet it was very fun to make at home!

Dec. 17th, 2012 01:25 am (UTC)
I can't wait to try this!
Dec. 17th, 2012 09:58 pm (UTC)
Do let me know what you think if you do.
Dec. 17th, 2012 11:32 pm (UTC)
I will! I think I will try it this week or next!
Dec. 18th, 2012 06:02 am (UTC)


Thank you all the recipes you've shared btw. Im new here but can see its a great comm of people who love to cook (and eat!)
Dec. 29th, 2012 02:15 am (UTC)
LOVED loved loved the recipe! I burned it the first time (oops) but made a few adjustments and tried again to great success! Here's mine:

Thanks so much for sharing!!
Dec. 17th, 2012 09:57 pm (UTC)
I bet it was very fun to make at home!

It was! It tastes best hot out of the oven at which point it transcends good and becomes irresistible.
Dec. 17th, 2012 08:57 am (UTC)
I love chivda its one of my fav snacks............I dont use lemone juice or corn syrup, i add sugar into the oil after the seeds have popped.
To try a variation try using a fresh green chilli (sauted till crispy before adding the seeds)or dried red chillies instead of the paprika. you can also add in garlic..............yumm yumm havent made this in ages have being buying ready to eat packs from the indian store...........will make this over the holidays.............
Dec. 17th, 2012 09:59 pm (UTC)
Ohh, good tip. People were telling me they wanted it spicier. I should saute some dried chilies while I'm blooming the seeds.

buying ready to eat packs from the indian store
Any brand recs? I have a local Indian grocery store near by.
Dec. 18th, 2012 12:06 am (UTC)
If you mean recs for those dried snacks (murukku, sev etc.) Haldiram's is good - at least, it's very popular. For packed meals (which I seriously don't recommend if you eat Indian food frequently - make them yourself, they taste much better!), MTR is decent. And I use that term loosely.
Dec. 18th, 2012 05:59 am (UTC)
Thanks for the protips, much appreciated!
Dec. 19th, 2012 09:13 am (UTC)
yeah I buy the same brand as mentioned in the comment below - Haldirams.

If you want to try a variation you can also use beaten rice (I buy it from the indian or chinese stores - for some reason the cambodian ones are dyed green!!) and crisp them up in the oven on low heat. you get 2 kinds, I get the more thinner ones made with red rice.
Dec. 17th, 2012 11:30 am (UTC)
I'm so happy to see chivda here! Also, a thali is actually a very popular Indian dish (sorry, don't know the origin or translation of the word), not an invention of that restaurant you went to. I've never heard of chivda with amchur before - thanks for sharing!

Edited at 2012-12-17 11:32 am (UTC)
Dec. 17th, 2012 10:03 pm (UTC)
Haha, I was told thali just means plate. Basically its an indian word to describe the a plate of food surrounded by small dishes. Oh well, the restaurant was very good even if they lure people in with a dose of pretension.

I've never heard of chivda with amchur before It gets lost in the sugar so I don't really notice the mango taste in the end result. I think its just there for balance. I found it in some online recipes so included it.
Dec. 18th, 2012 12:01 am (UTC)
Oh, of course. Plate would make sense. :) *shrug* More mango never hurt anyone Maybe more amchur wouldn't go amiss? ;)
Dec. 17th, 2012 12:25 pm (UTC)
That looks & sounds so GOOD!
Dec. 17th, 2012 10:04 pm (UTC)
Let me know if you make it!
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )


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