Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Shilpa asked me if I was interested in participating in the Arusuvai Friendship chain which has gained momentum in the USA. I jumped at the chance! Thank You SO MUCH Shilpa!
The Arusuvai Friendship chain was started by Latha Mami and in her own words:

“is about sending along a surprise ingredient as a gift to your friends for them
to prepare something tasty with it, share the recipe, and pass on other surprise
ingredients to more people. Arusuvai means six tastes (aru=six, suvai=taste) in
Tamizh and is used to refer for Tasty preparation with six tastes - inippu/
thithippu (sweet), orappu/ karam (hot), kassappu (bitter) , pulippu (sour),
uppu(salt), tuvarpu (tastes that one gets in raw leaves).”

Lazy, is what I can be labeled when it comes to opening the mail box.. I mean how exciting is it to view a stack of bills and other junk? But when Shilpa was going to mail me the surprise ingredient, I was thrilled and did not think twice about opening the mailbox!In due course the package arrived with its mystery ingredient. In all eagerness, I tore off the cover and pulled out the contents! The moment I opened the ziplock bag I knew I had received a WONDERFUL ingredient! The aroma of the 'mystery powder' was all over the house and was so tempting.. I wanted to try it then and there! But wait!! there was more!! a slab of Lindt chocolate and Tomato Pickle and a very sweet greeting card!! In a haste I took this picture ( and the only one I did' coz M was in a rush to eat the chocolate).. well I am no less than the husband! I opened the Tomato pickle and shamelessly dipped my finger in it and licked! those who went, "eeewwww" reading that.. let me tell you folks.. THAT is the way to enjoy pickles!! Uuummmmm!! So tasty!!!
Back to the powder.. I made M take some hearty sniffs at it and he concluded it was Goda Masala.. I too swayed to that conclusion.. but a little whisper kept on in my right ear.. it must be something Konkani!! And it was!! It was PohaPowder !! I was all for making Kalayile Pohvu , but had no fresh coconut on hand ( and I really am not a fan of frozen coconut, it - for some reason.. or maybe something I do here: forms a yucky oily , slimy layer on thawing) and so that had to wait.
And then I had a brain wave ( yeah! yeah! not being modest..) I decided to make Chivda out of it!
I have this weakness to end all weaknesses, for chivda. I can have it for any meal. Don't cringe here, but I love mixing my chivda with a generous dollop of plain yougurt and eating it! Oh YUMMMM!
To elaborate more on the brainwave part (lest you guys stick out your tongues at me!) was, I thought of me Dad.. who is also a chivda aficionado and though rather particular (or as I call, peculiar- he does not believe in eating anything but two meals : that's why peculiar ! imagine no munching!! ) about his food habits likes to have a bit of chiva with his evening tea.
So it came about that i made a big batch of this chivda and sent off a portion of it to my father, who I am sure enjoyed it!
For the chivda:
2 cups Thin Poha
3-4 tbsp Oil
1 heaped tsp Mustard seeds
1 heaped tsp Cumin seeds
1 heaped tsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp Raw Peanuts
2 tbsp Dalia
2 tbsp Dry coconut pieces
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
2 Dry Red chilies broken into pieces
15 or so Curry leaves
2 tbsp Sugar
Salt to taste (just be careful when adding salt, even a little goes a long way)
2 tbsp Poha Powder

Heat a kadhai and add about 2 fistfuls of poha and on a low flame, dry roast them till they are crunchy. Do this for the entire lot. A faster way to do it is to zap them in a microwave for one minute ( toss after 30 secs for even roasting) or line a baking tray with foil or parchment paper, preheat the oven to a 350 deg. F. and roast the entire batch of poha for about 10 mins ( that is an approx time)
Remove poha and set aside. Heat oil in the kadhai, add raw peanuts, dalia, mustard seeds and cumin. The peanuts and dalia should be well browned and crunchy. Add the sesame, dry red chilli, coconut and curry leaves. Sauté until the curry leaves are crunchy. Use a medium flame and ensure that none of the ingredients gets burnt ( or even a dark brown, which will make them bitter). Add the poha and mix thoroughly.
Add the Poha Powder , sugar and salt. Mix thoroughly and switch off the heat.
When the chivda is cool, transfer to an airtight box.
Enjoy with ur cup of tea or coffee or just about any time you feel like munching.

The Poha Powder adds a punch to the chivda and leaves you wanting more!! I have some of the powder remaining and am now looking at using it in some other way, may be in a curry!

I am extending the Arusuvai Frienship Chain and am delighted to have Trupti and Mythreyee join the growing group! Your Mystery Ingredient is on its way!! Thank You for accepting my hand of friendship!

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  1. Wow, that's good post! The poha looks lovely!

  2. Cool! Poha powder sounds yummy and so does the crispy poha you made! You are a snacker like me!:D

  3. Hey Mansi, I love this Chiwda..Chiwda looks I am waiting for my mystery ingredient..

  4. ooh!! that chewda sure looks yummy Manasi! and your dad sounds like my husband, just that my H keeps munching on snacks whole day, even after just finishing a heavy meal:) heheee

  5. Your chivda looks yummy :) Great way to use the secret ingredients :)

  6. Thanks so much for the post Manasi. Chivda looks great. We call it "phova upkari"..absolutely yummy. I haven't made it in a long time and am craving for it now.

  7. Poha powder is very new to me, you have used it in a very good way.
    You licked the chutney, thats excatly what I would have done.
    I am hungry for some chivad now.

  8. your dad has tremendous self control. thanks for the great chivda recipe.

  9. perfect snack ...nice way u've used the ingredient

  10. Nice one Mansi, I just got my Arusuvai in the mail too today...I still am figuring out what my ingredient is :D Poha looks yummy, my fav snack.

  11. Finger-in-tomato-pickle is the best way to eat it :)

    2 meals a day?! Oyy ... that's a handful less than me!

  12. Ahh! You clever you! Good use of that masala there. :)

  13. Great! Your post conveys all the fun and the eagerness that comes in that Arusvai package :). Love chivda recipe, Dear! I have to make some of that powder!

  14. mansi..that looks very tempting..nice use of the surprise ingredient

  15. Hi Mansi
    Apologies for the long gap..
    I had a great time looking at all the yummy posts I missed..the dhokla, bisi bille ...
    Didnt know that there was something called poha powder also...This needs to be tried soon !!

  16. Poha powder sounds like a wonderful ingredient. Chivda looks good.

  17. Yumm u can give me the poha and the coffee.
    I must admit the only way to enjoy pickle is to dip your finger and taste it like u did

  18. Yummy yummy one lady!!!very different

  19. that chiwda is such a twist on using the mystery powder!looks good!!

  20. poha powder? tomato pickle! why do u do this girl..especially when you said you dipped your finger for a o man waaaaaaaaaaaaaah

  21. Isnt the arusuvai chain awesome!! I just posted mine.
    I thought I was the only one to enjoy chivda with curd....glad I'm not :)

  22. That chivda makes me want to run right into the kitchen -- just too good to resist! Oh, and nothing wrong with dipping your fingers any time! :)

  23. Hi just made dudhi chi bhaaji following the recipe you posted. I never liked cooking back home but now have tried my hand at many dishes and developed some interest. I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon food blogs written by girls in the US. You are very articulate and I could identify with so many of the things you have written. Snaker, avid reader, searching for low arb high protein diets- thats me!! Morover my mom arrives tomorrow and I am meeting her after an year!! Anyway enough of my ramblings...kudos to you for the blog, keep writing and providing inspiration :)


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