Mixture is a quintessential South Indian Snack, and it is exactly what its name implies: A mixture of little bits of everything : nuts, puffed rice, raisins, green chillies, curry leaves : Sugar and spice and all thats nice. Salty sweet with a hint of fennel, so unhealthy and yet so irresistable. Making it at home though is a Frying Marathon. My mom usually makes this every Diwali, but H. likes it so much I make it atleast once a month. The price of love i guess. Now, it is available at stores, but if you have the patience, try this recipe.Not only are the results infinitely better, it is endlessly customizable.
Some ingredients I buy readymade, but even then this recipe is basically a BIG assembly job and one where going through the instructions is worth it.
Store Bought Ingredients:
1 14 oz bag Masala Boondi
1 14 oz bag Sev
2oz Fennel Sweet: Basically a cake sprinkle type candy with a fennel seed inside.
11/2 cups Thin Poha
1/2 cup Peanuts
1/2 cup Cashew Nuts
1/2 cup Raisins
Diamond Cut : Little pieces of flavored fried dough that melt in your mouth
Ingredients:1/2 cup Maida,1 tsp Black Pepper Powder, 1 tbsp Crisco
10-15 Curry Leaves
3-5 cut green chillies
Red Chilli Powder
Equipment: I set up a frying station to do this. Look at the picture to the left. A deep pan and a completely stainless steel meshed strainer ( large) are ideal. If you have a strainer with a plastic rim like me, you will have to be very careful that the rim does not ever touch the hot oil.
I first mix the dough for the Diamond cut. Take the 1/2 cup of maida , rub the shortening into the dough. You can do this with your fingers. Add pepper powder and salt to taste. Now add cold water slowly to the dough and add as little water as possible to make a soft dough.(Think pastry dough). Cover with cling film and Referigerate.
Now back to the strainer oil set up. Keep the following ingredients ready on the side while the oil heats up, the thin poha, curry leaves, green chillies, raisins.
For the puffed rice: Once the oil is hot, put some ( about a couple of tablespoons) thin poha into the strainer and dip it into the hot oil. Within 1 or two seconds you will see the poha puff up AND the sizzling of the oil will stop. Shake the strainer to remove excess oil and put the poha on to bounty sheets or paper to drain the oil. Donot overcrowd your strainer with poha or your rice wont puff up. Other thing is the oil has to be really hot or the rice doesnt puff up. Dont worry if if your first batch doesnt puff up, it tastes quite good.
Once the rice is done, put in the curry leaves in the strainer, Dip into the hot oil. Once fried , reserve on paper.
Next come the Green chillies. Deep fry them too.
Last are the Raisins. Deep fry the raisins and reserve.
Peanuts: Toast the peanuts in 1 tbsp oil over low heat until golden and just browning. Season with salt and red chilli powder , reserve.
Cashew: Toast the cashewnuts in 1 tbsp oil over low heat until golden and just browning. Season with salt and red chilli powder, reserve.
At this point you might want to change the oil in the pan.
Last thing to make is the Diamond cut. Divide the diamond cut dough into four parts. Roll out one part dough with a rolling pin ( belan) like you would a roti. Cut it with a pastry wheel or a knife with a sharp edge into little diamonds. You could also do any other shape you like. Deep fry.
Assemble all the ingredients, the boondi, the sev,the fennel sweet, the diamond cut, the fried poha, the cashews, the raisins, the peanuts, the green chillies and the curry leaves. Take 1 tbsp oil in a pan, when hot add the turmeric and red chilli powder. When the turmeric and red chilli powder are no longer raw, in about a minute, pour this oil on the assembled ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Taste for salt and adjust.
Customizations: You can sub unpuffed corn flakes for the poha, adjust the green and red chilli powder according to your heat level. Its easier to begin with lower levels of heat and salt , because you can always add them.
I would recommend making a huge batch, because of the assembly involved the size of the batch is not a problem. You can even skip a few ingredients like the diamond cut, the boondi or sev or even the cashews - depending on what you have on hand and how much time you are willing to spend. Dont skip the seasonings though.