Bombay To Buckingham: Nobody Can Say No To Namkeen
Image Credit: Chivda is truly the chameleon of the snack world

Growing up in India, Chivda is a fundamental part of life. Long before there were crisps or fast food chivda was the saviour for all sudden hunger pangs. But did you know that its popularity isn’t limited to India? In Britain, Bombay Mix is a go-to snack and bar munchie, it’s even made itself at home in the royal family as a favourite of Queen Elizabeth. In Australia, it goes by the name Bhuja Mix and in South Africa it's Slangetjies. Even within India, it's known as farsan, namkeen, chevdo, chanachur, churmura, chiwda…the list is neverending. It's truly the chameleon of the snack world. 

The secret behind its universal appeal is its total adaptability. You could combine 100 different items in infinite different permutations and create an endless stream of original Chivdas. The most common base items are sev, poha, flattened rice, moong dal, cornflakes, puffed rice and gathiya. After this, additional items like dry fruits, nuts, chopped curry leaves, batter coated peanuts, dried peas, fried lentils, chickpeas and flaked rice can be added for different flavours. Today every state has its own local mix which is seasoned with a specific range of spices. But they all have the core appeal of being a crunchy and delicious snack for all times of the day.

Though it began in Gujarat, it has since spread its wings and taken off across the world. There’s so much to try, but the best news is that you don’t have to comply with someone else’s recipe, because making your own is an absolute breeze. Go wild and add your favourite potato chips or tailor it to your spice preference, there are no rules when it comes to the perfect chivda.


  • ¼ cup split yellow gram (channa dal)
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda or baking soda
  • ½ cup sultanas or raisins
  • 2 -3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 15 curry leaves
  • 2 – 3 fresh green chillies (or more)
  • 1 small raw mango (optional)
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 - 3 1-inch cinnamon sticks
  • 1 heaped tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 heaped tsp white sesame seeds
  • ½ cup  groundnuts/peanuts
  • ¼ cup cashew nut halves
  • ½ heaped tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cup sev
  • 1 cup gathiya
  • 2 cups puffed rice
  • 2 heaped tsp granulated sugar
  • Salt to taste


  • Soak the yellow gram in a bowl of water with the baking soda for about 30 minutes, strain and rinse, and keep aside.
  • Soak the sultanas in a bowl of water for 15 minutes to re-hydrate, drain and rinse, and keep aside.
  • Roughly chop the chillies;  peel and finely dice the mango; lightly dry heat the peanuts and cashew nut halves, cool and keep aside.
  • Put the oil in a large pan or wok or frying pan and heat over a medium heat until just beginning to smoke.
  • Throw in the mustard seeds, and as soon as they start popping, add  the curry leaves and the daal stirring and frying for 2 minutes until it is coated with oil, and there is a slight change in colour.
  • Lower the heat, add chillies, mango pieces, cloves, cinnamon sticks,  fennel seeds, sesame seeds, chilli powder, and ½ tsp salt, and toss the contents well for 2 minutes.
  • Add the peanuts and cashew nuts, stir and fry for another minute.,
  • Add the sultanas until they just start swelling and add the puffed rice, gathiya, sev, turmeric powder and sugar, tossing the mixture over and over until it has all mixed well.
  • Serve with hot tea on a rainy day.