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Recipes for Indian snacks to go with your evening tea.

Poha with Peas, Carrots and Spring Onions

3 Apr

From my mom’s kitchen, a colorful, vegetable-laden poha for a superhealthy kickstart to the day.


Boiled Moong Bean Salad

13 Nov

Green moong dal, when boiled, retains its shape unlike dals like masoor (red lentil) and toor (yellow lentil). One can put boiled moong dal to good use in a salad.


Red Chura Bhuja: Crispy Red Poha with Peas

8 Aug

A spin-off on the snack Chura Bhuja with Mattar, this dish uses the healthier red poha (flattened rice) instead of white.

The method of making crispy red poha is exactly the same as for white poha – the only difference with red poha is that it is a little less easy to figure out when the grains are cooked enough. With white poha, the color change to golden is a sure indicator. With red poha, the color is already dark when you start so you need to be more watchful. Red poha turns crisp and ready to eat in about 5-6 minutes. Take a little nibble to make sure.


Soya Cutlets

19 May

Snack time – want something chatpata to go with your steaming hot Indian tea? Here’s a protein-rich idea – soya cutlets.

You Need:

  • Soya bean granules – 1 cup
  • Potato – 1
  • Bread slices – 2
  • Onion – 1, finely chopped
  • Green chilies – 2, finely chopped
  • Ginger – 1 teaspoon, grated
  • Coriander leaves – 2 tablespoons, finely chopped
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – for shallow frying


Spring Rolls

10 May

This recipe has been contributed by a dear friend from college, for days when you want to allow yourself a little snack-time indulgence.

These mouth-watering pan-fried spring rolls go very well with coriander chutney.


Chura Bhuja Mattar: Crispy Flattened Rice and Peas

14 Feb

The quintessential Bihari snack – chura bhuja.

What is chura, did you ask? Chura is the Bihari word for flattened rice, called chiwra elsewhere in north India. The more common way of preparing chiwra is in its moistened form as poha but this tasty dish uses chura dry.

What is bhuja, did you ask? That is another Bihari word, for a dry roasted snack.

Chura bhuja can be had on its own but it tastes best when accompanied with a mattar (peas) dish – here is a simple recipe. If you have the time and inclination you could prepare it as a full-fledged ghughni with onions and tomatoes.


French Fries Without Deep Frying

15 Dec

If you love French fries but avoid them for health’s sake, here’s a way to prepare them without deep frying. The result is spectacular!

French Fries without Deep-Frying

You Need:

  • Potatoes – 3 or so: don’t take too many, else what’s the use if you’re cutting down on fat but loading up on the carbs?
  • Pot for boiling – 1
  • Colander – 1: you can do without this, if you know the art of draining out water from boiled solids without using a strainer
  • Wide non-stick pan – 1: you cannot do without this, a regular kadhai won’t work
  • Oil  -  the tiniest bit
For the seasoning (vary as you wish):
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Red chili flakes – 1
  • Black pepper corns – 6
  • Lime juice – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – to taste

How To:

Wash the potatoes clean. You can leave them unpeeled if you like (I peel the potatoes if the skin is thick, else let the skin remain).

Cut raw potatoes into fingers or wedges. 

How to cut a potato into wedges? Slice the potato in half vertically. With each potato-half flat side down, use the knife at angles to make radial cuts down towards the center.

From a potato-half 3 inches long and 1.5 inch high at its center, you’d get 5-6 wedges.

Potato Peeled

Boil potato wedges in salted water till 3/4th done (when pricked, the knife should go through but not too smoothly). Turn the boiled potato wedges over in a colander. Run cold water over them, then drain completely.

Potato Wedges, Boiled

In a non-stick pan, heat as little oil as you want. Remember at this stage the Thumb Rule of Cooking: the lesser the oil, the longer the cooking time, the greater the chances of food getting burnt, therefore the more the attention you need to pay to the dish.

Put in the potato wedges and toss so that they are coated with oil. Spread the wedges around the pan in a single layer. Keep the heat medium-low and cook for 5 minutes undisturbed. For the next 5 minutes, toss the pan occasionally. By this point the potatoes would have started to turn golden – it is time to keep a watchful eye on the side facing heat-wards. You need to make sure that the potato wedges roast evenly and there’s no charring. Move the wedges around the pan so that the fat ones sit near the source of the heat longer than the thinner ones. Check that all sides are cooked, use tongs or a spatula to gently turn the wedges over.

Potato Wedges, Roasting

After about 20 minutes, our healthy French "fries" would be crisp and golden – as good as deep fried without the deep frying!

Now for the seasoning. I’m sharing here my favorite – you can vary it as you like.

Spice it up!

Dry-Roasted Spices[Prepare the seasoning while or before the French fries are getting cooked, not after. The seasoning should be ready to sprinkle on the fries when they are right off the fire.]

On a tava or skillet, dry roast cumin seeds and black pepper corns on low heat till the cumin seeds turn a shade darker and give out aromatic fumes – this would take about 2mins. Keep stirring regularly so that the cumin seeds do not burn.

Add red chili flakes next and continue to dry roast for another minute.

Take the roasted spices off the fire, let cool slightly and then using a mortar and pestle (or a rolling pin and a flat surface), crush the spices into a coarse powder.

Sprinkle salt, freshly roasted and crushed spices over the crisp French fries, squeeze some lime juice and toss.

Potato Wedges, Seasoned

Snack time: healthy French "fries" with a hot cup of chai.

Healthy French Fries


  1. Keep yourself occupied with something else when you’re making no-deep-fry fries or you might run out of patience. The roasting needs almost-nil effort from you but it does need alertness and time. Pair making this with a chat with a friend, or cooking a second dish alongside.
  2. Baking is said to be another good alternative for French fries, which I haven’t tried. Have you?