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Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, and Spicy Chivda Is Just the Most Perfect Snack

Food & Wine logo Food & Wine 10/18/2021 Yamini Joshi
Photo by Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver © Provided by Food & Wine Photo by Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

Diwali, one of the biggest festivals of the Hindu calendar year, celebrates the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. Over five days, we light many small oil lamps called diyas as we celebrate and worship the goddess Lakshmi, asking her to bring us good fortune and blessings in the new year.

Food is a very important part of Diwali. Everyone makes sweets and snacks, and we visit each other's homes, sharing food and drink with family and friends. I grew up in Mumbai, but my family is originally from Rajasthan. At home, we cooked mostly Rajasthani food, but we had many neighbors and friends who were Maharashtrian, Gujarati, and Punjabi, so I learned to cook from all of them.

The Diwali favorite is packed with flavor, crunch, and pure snacking pleasure—and you can make it at home. © Photo by Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver The Diwali favorite is packed with flavor, crunch, and pure snacking pleasure—and you can make it at home.

RELATED: Diwali Is a Festival of Sweet Delights

One of my favorite snacks to make and share during Diwali is chivda. I learned this particular recipe from my maternal grandmother. It's kind of like a trail mix of poha (crispy rice flakes), roasted chickpeas, shredded coconut, seeds and spices, and more that you can keep in a jar and serve whenever anyone stops by. It always has five tastes—sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and bitter. The keys to making chivda are to cook each ingredient separately over low heat and not to rush. It's also important to use a big pan so that you have plenty of room to move the ingredients around as they cook, especially the poha. Everything takes a different amount of time to toast. For instance, peanuts take more time, and cashews toast very quickly. Your full focus needs to be on the chivda—you don't want to be running here and there, or you will burn it. Know that your attention will be well rewarded. Chivda is a snack that once you start eating, you want to eat more—you can't stop.

Photo by Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver © Provided by Food & Wine Photo by Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Thom Driver View Recipe: Chivda

Cook with Yamini Joshi from The League of Kitchens

Yamini Joshi teaches Indian cooking through the League of Kitchens, a culturally immersive culinary experience where immigrant women teach cooking classes from their home kitchens. Offered online and in person, each class provides opportunities for connection, instruction, and cultural engagement. ($60 per session, leagueofkitchens.com)

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