Origins of ‘Chiwda’

When it comes to some tangy and tasty snack item to gorge on to, there are several snack food items that an Indian will never say no to. Indian subcontinent is famous for the rich flavours, colourful spices and variegated food items that are trademark to particular regions or states. One such item is namkeen that translates into salty or savoury snack. What makes it so popular among kids, youngsters, adults and seniors alike is its crunchiness and wonderful taste.

Known as Bombay Mix, Chiwda or Chiwada is a mixture of different ingredients that are snacks themselves and therefore, gives you an all-in-one option to try. The snack was first introduced in Gujarat and thanks to its mixture of different delectable munchies, it has become widely accepted in all other states of India. It is neither hot nor a cool snack i.e. served in the room temperature, thereby, you do not have to warm it up or freeze it before and after eating.

Often served as side dish with sev, poha, flattened rice, moong daal, bhel and gathiya¸ Chiwda can be consumed in a handful of quantity or in a small to medium sized bowl as per your choice. The main ingredients in Chiwda have not changed over the years, however, according to the palettes of different people, new ingredients are often used for some variance.

In earlier days, the gathiyas and sevs were prepared from gram flour and were fried in vegetable oil to add that crunchiness. Afterwards, chopped curry leaves, fried or baked peanuts, fried lentils, chickpeas and flaked rice were added, tossed properly and mixed well so that the vegetable oil could soak well.

As time pass snacks, chiwda contains various dried and spicy ingredients now namely sev made of chickpea flour, fried corn, fried chilli, fried curry leaves, fried onion and chips. While most of these ingredients can be consumed separately as snacks, you will find them tastier in a mixture where an amalgamation of taste is obtained. These ingredients are now seasoned with salt, pepper and some authentic spices like pepper, coriander, mustard, cardamom and clove are used as flavouring agents.

As day-time snacks or evening starters, the chiwdas have different mouthful names in different states such as in West Bengal, people like to call it ‘Chanachur’ while in Odisha, it is slightly altered as ‘Chanachura’. Although sourced from the northern and central regions of India, Chiwda is very much popular in the shops and streets of South India. You can visit any local shop or roadside stall or even any regional restaurant of Kerala and Tamil Nadu to enjoy their Chiwda which bear the name of ‘mixture’. Although savoury like gathiya or bhel, Chiwda is sold in bakeries and sweet shops too.

The south Indian version of Chiwda is quite different from the conventional one and it contains fried peanuts, thenkuzhal (a tangled version of round shaped sev), kara boondhi (fried chickpeas), kara sev (thicker sevs), oma podi (thinner sevs), roasted chana daal, small broken pieces of murukku and pakoda. If you think, Chiwda is only famous in India, you are wrong as Singapore and Malaysia supermarkets sell it in the name of ‘kacang putih’, which the local Indians call as ‘mixture’.

To make sure you get the taste of different chiwda variants from different regions, Yoho Snacks have brought to you the five variants with different ingredients. While Saboodana Chiwada contains fried saboodana balls with fried peanuts and sev, Pravasi Chiwda has everyrthing from gathiya, thin sevs, dried coconut strips, dried cashew nuts, fried lentils, curry leaves and more. Corn Chiwada can be great morning snacks with fried cornflakes and Falahari Chiwda has abundance of sevs with some fried groundnuts. Those who are health conscious, can try the Lite Chiwada from Yoho products that has flaked rice and some nuts.