Indian Bar Snacks

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We British have always had a love affair with Indian food. This admiration has resulted in some strange and delicious hybrids though – from Tikka Masala to Vindaloo, we are forever usurping cuisines and adapting them to our palates. But while they may not be found in India, some of our collaborations have come out quite well.

One such treat is Bombay Mix. We have been nibbling away at these nuts for so long the city they are named after has changed names (Bombay became Mumbai in 1995). But what is Bombay Mix?

It is usually made up of a – you guessed it – mix of nuts, fried chickpea flour noodles, lentils, peanuts and peas with a  spicy coating. You can also eat them with raisins, coconuts and seeds.

However, if you asked for Bombay Mix at a bar in India you would be met with perplexed blank stares. This is not to say your craving for a quick snack will never be stated – quite the opposite in fact. India has no end its collection of tasty concoctions. Read on and you will be reaching for the nearest takeaway menu rather than the bar snacks…

Chanachur

This crispy snack is common in Eastern India and is a particular favourite in Kolkata. Simple but delightful, it is made up of a combination of spiced chickpea noodles that are fried till they curl up and crisp, then mixed with salted and sautéed peanuts.

For that decadent spiced taste, chickpea flour is mixed with chilli powder, cumin, garlic paste and turmeric until it makes a lovely golden dough.

SevMamra

SevMamra is a snack munched on allacrossIndia. It is a light snack, but eat too many as an aperitif and you may not have room for your dinner. You can make your own using savoury chickpea noodles (which constitutes the ‘sev’) with puffed rice (mamra). If you are feeling adventurous, you can even add rice noodles or peanuts.

Similar to Chanachur, SevMamra is made using chickpea flour and spices. If you want really thin slices of Sev, simply use a tool similar to a pasta maker to create vermicelli-thin strips. Cook in hot oil and combine with puffed rice, before rolling it in turmeric.

BikaneriBhujia

another well-loved grub is this doughy dish from Bikaner in Rajasthan. Using a variety of different doughs, thin noodles are made using gram flour, mung bean powder or even mash potato. The options are endless!

To flavour your dough delight, you can use succulent spices like cardamom and black pepper. If you prefer beans to chickpeas, you can utilise bean-based flours to give the noodles a luscious golden brown colour and a twig-like appearance. Use potatoes in your noodles or Aloo Bhujia and you can create a BikaneriaBhujia that has a soft buttery texture.

You can also try PohaChivda and Poha, the latter being an even spicier alternative to Bombay Mix. So there you have it – a whole new cupboard of culinary treats to try next time you visit one of London’s best Indian brasseries.

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