May 30, 2010

Spice Crispies

Adapted from a recipe that appeared in the February 2010 issue of Food & Wine, this Indian snack mix is a spicy, complex blend of salty & sweet. Put out a bowl with cocktails or serve instead of popcorn for movie night. It also makes a great traveling or hiking snack with a mix of salt, carbohydrates, sugar, protein and fat to keep you going.

MAKE IT: Spice Crispies

What you need:
4 cups puffed basmati rice*
1 cup cashew pieces
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened is fine)
2 cups fried chickpea fritters or lentils*
6 TB vegetable oil
1 TB mustard seeds
2 tea cumin seeds
1 tea ground coriander
1 tea mild or medium curry powder
.5 tea red chili flakes (or more)
2 tea salt
1 TB amchoor (dried mango) powder*
6 TB light corn syrup
salt (optional)

How you make it:
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Heat oil and mustard seeds in a medium non-stick saucepan over medium heat until seeds begin to pop. Reduce heat a bit and add next six ingredients, stirring to combine. Cook until cumin seeds begin to darken, add corn syrup and stir well. When corn syrup begins to bubble vigorously, remove pan from heat and pour spice syrup over contents in bowl. Mix gently until everything is coated in syrup, spread into even layers on two baking sheets lined in parchment paper, sprinkle with a little salt, and bake at 300 degrees until rice is crispy and cashews are turning golden, 20-30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove from oven and let mixture cool on pans for a few minutes before breaking up into bite size clusters. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

*Available at Indian markets or on-line. You can certainly use a puffed rice cereal like Rice Krispies in place of the puffed basmati but no substitutions will really come close to the fried chickpea bits or tangy, tart mango powder so it’s worth the extra effort to get your hands on the real thing(s). Of course, while you’re at the Indian market you could just as easily grab a bag of ready-made snack mix, called chevda, but that’s not really in the spirit of things, is it?

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