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Please welcome Bhadang, the puffed up cousin of the Pohyacha Chivda! The process for both these “chivda” recipes is similar – toast the puffed or paper-thin flattened rice, fry up some salty goodies, make a tempering, toss everything together – but they have distinct flavor profiles. You might say that Pohyacha Chivda is the milder, well-behaved, buttoned-up cousin with a great balance of flavors, and Bhadang is wilder, spicier (uses red chili powder instead of chopped green chillies), bolder (fried garlic!) and more rustic.
The version shown here is mild, since I am making it for a crowd, but back in India I have seen Bhadang that is fiery red and irresistable!
Bhadang employs puffed rice, or murmura, or churmura, as opposed to the flattened rice flakes used in Pohyacha Chivda. Murmura is typically the base in Bhel Puri, a popular Indian street food item! This recipe also calls for Metkut, a very special, Maharashtrian roasted-lentil and spice mixture, which may be difficult to track down in the US, and in the worst case, can be skipped. Please do not substitute with Garam masala or Chaat masala, though!
Toast the murmura on a low flame until its slightly fragrant (do not let the color change). Set side.
Next up, a la Chivda, we’ll fry up the peanuts till they darken slightly.
Fried Popaddam is something my mom adds to Bhadang that I just can’t live without. It’s one of her special touches, that you don’t find in most store-bought versions.
Once we have everything rounded up…
…it’s time to work on the tempering! Fry up the garlic and curry leaves, and then add all of the spices.
Toss in the peanuts into the tempering to coat evenly.
Then, mix everything with the toasted murmura and adjust the salt/spice while warm!
Store in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks! Great evening snack and so perfect with chai, you have to try it to believe it!
• Recipe •
Makes about 5 cups of Bhadang
4 cups murmura (puffed rice, packaged as “churmure” or “murmure” sometimes)
3/4 cup peanuts, skin-on
10-15 curry leaves, whole
4-5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground red chilli powder or cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 teaspoon metkut (mild indian spice mix)
1/2 teaspoon asafetida
1 teaspoon crystalized sugar
1 teaspoon (or to taste) table salt
3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
In a large, heavy-bottom pan, dry roast the murmura on low flame. You are not looking for a change of color, just removing the moisture content and toasting ever so slightly. Stir the murmura by shaking the pan around or gently with a spatula. Set aside, keep warm.
In a small saucepan, heat the 3/4 cup of oil on low-medium heat until shimmering. Fry the peanuts for 2-3 minutes until they take on a slight color, and remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set onto a paper-towel lined plate. Then fry the popaddam, and once done, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set onto a paper-towel lined plate. When cool enough to handle, crush the fried popaddam with your hands into bite size shards.
You may choose to strain the remaining oil for the next step (but if it has too many burnt bits of peanut skins, do not use it as it may lend a bitter taste).
Wipe out the saucepan and add 1 1/2 tablespoon, and heat until shimmering. Add the curry leaves, garlic, turmeric, red chilli powder, metkut, asafetida, sugar and salt, and stir well until the curry leaves and garlic take on a slight color and the mixture is sizzling. Cooking everything together ensures that nothing burns.
Return the pan with murmura to a low flame and pour the tempering along with the mixture of fried peanuts and popaddam, onto the toasted murmura and gently combine everything using 2 wooden spoons. Adjust salt levels while still warm.
Store in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.