It’s the 15th of the month so that means it’s time to share another adventure courtesy of the Indian Cooking Challenge! This month we made Kara Sev, another snack food and another round with the fryer. Unlike last month’s Pani Puri which turned into a several-hour ordeal with mixed results, this month was easy as fry–
2.5 cups Gram Flour
*Gram flour is ground chick peas, you should be able to find it in your local organic foods section or you can make your own by drying out canned chick peas and processing in a blender or food processor until smooth
*I increased the chili powder x4 and could have actually gone up more, feel free to spice it up a little more
*I doubled the amount of ghee and could probably use moreÃ¢â‚¬â€you want a breadcrumb-type consistency and for that you need more fat to rub-in
If you’re not familiar with ghee, perhaps you’ve heard of clarified butter? They’re the same thing and if you’ve got unsalted butter, a saucepan and a ladle you’ve no need to hunt it down in a specialty food shop.
Over low heat, slowly melt the butter (for this recipe you’ll need about a stick) until it’s completely liquid. You’ll see a bit of white stuff come to the surface–those are the milk solids and you want to skim those off. The water has sunk to the bottom (in small quantities you have to be careful not to disturb that bottom layer, too) and the pure butter sits in the middle. Ladle off the clarified butter, leaving the water behind, and use as directed.
Now, onto the Sev!
1 ) Sift together the dry ingredients. I like to put half the flour(s) into the large sifter, add the seasonings, the finish off with the rest of the flour so that when I sift them together they get more evenly distributed.
2 ) Make a well in the center of the sifted dry ingredients and add the minced garlic and the ghee. Mix together the moist and dry (fingers really work best for this) until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Clumpy ones, sure, but bread crumbs just the same.
3 ) Sprinkle water over the mixture until a dough starts to form. In truth, it was more like shallow handfuls at first, just to get things to hold together, then it tapered off to sprinkles until the dough was fairly solid and no longer sticky.
Let me tell you, at this point the dough smelled fantabulous–the bean flour and the chili powder were activated by the water and if the finished sev smelled this good we were going to be very happy.
4 ) Divide the dough into 4 balls. This is just to keep it manageable.
5 ) Heat canola oil to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
6 ) Push the dough through a sev ladle or maker into the hot oil.
Okay, here’s where we reach a bit of a cultural divide–what in the world is a sev maker? Turns out it’s a perforated ladle that you use as a die to create little strings of dough for frying. Not having one of those around I found some pictures of what a sev-maker looked like and they look an awful lot like my potato ricer (that’s it on the left). This is what I used for most of the kara sev (press out strings about 2 inches long then cut off with a knife into the oil–watch for splashing!).
Someone else suggested usingÃ‚Â a cookie press and I thought that was an inspired idea. Unfortunately, in the handful of moves since I last used mine, only the tree-die remained with the press. Still, I gave it a shot.
7 ) Fry until just barely colored. The first batch I fried until it was a golden brown and it didn’t have a lot of flavor. Each batch afterwards I fried a little less and the flavor increased. Turns out it only takes a moment or two in the oil for them to cook through so get ’em in, let ’em bubble and get ’em out!
8 ) Drain the finished sticks on a piece of paper toweling.
The batch I tried through the cookie press (don’t forget to spray it with something to prevent sticking!) turned out fine, too, in wider strips, but I only did the one batch of those–the ricer worked best.
Todd really enjoyed snacking on these crunchy strings, I would prefer a little more flavor in the finished product so more salt and more chili powder would not go amiss.
Store the drained sev in an airtight container or plastic bag.
I’m still looking for the perfect dip that goes with these (maybe hummus?) since I’m not a huge fan of a lot of dry snacks but these are pretty addicting once you get started on them.