Lehsuni sev is a must for my Diwali celebrations so it’s about this time I dust off my sev maker and start getting the ingredients together. The most notable of those ingredients is an obscene amount of garlic. Come to think of it, this recipe can also come in handy for Halloween to ward off any bloodthirsty vampires.
If you’re not a vampire though you are in for a treat should you choose to try this recipe. This may just be the most lip-smackingly savoury snack in my repertoire. Please don’t be put off by the garlic levels, as its pungency is tempered by the frying process and spice blend. Just give it a try, it’ll be love at first crunch.
Of course, you can buy mass-produced sev but it’s really not so hard to make your own and it tastes so much better. I don’t make it every week but for a special occasion, I cannot resist.
Lehsuni Sev / Garlic SevCourse: snackCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Medium
- For the batter:
400g (4 cups) besan (gram flour or chickpea flour)
4 tbsp rice flour
1½ tbsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp asafoetida
4 tbsp sunflower oil (for ‘mohan’)
1 tbsp salt or to taste
Oil for deep frying
- For the masala:
25 garlic cloves (peeled)
1½ tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp carom seeds (ova or ajwain)
60ml (¼ cup) water
- In a coffee grinder, first, make a fine powder of the cumin and carom seeds.
- Then, add the garlic cloves along with the water and grind to a wet masala. Set aside.
- Sift the besan (gram flour) into a mixing bowl. Spoon in the rice flour, turmeric and chilli powder, asafoetida and salt. Mix everything well.
- Make a ‘mohan’ i.e. heat the oil in a large ladle or a small pan until very hot and pour it over the besan (gram flour) mixture in the mixing bowl. Mix well with a spoon or whisk.
- Now pass the ground wet masala (from step 2) through a sieve into the besan mixture. Press the masala down in the sieve using a tablespoon to squeeze out all the garlicky juices into the mixing bowl.
- Get stuck in with your hands and start binding the dough by adding water a little at a time. Then either ‘whisk’ the batter vigorously with your hand (or a hand whisk if you prefer) to get a sticky consistency that falls away from the fingers (or whisk) in thick strands.
- Heat the oil in a wide flat flat-bottomed pan over a medium flame for deep frying.
- Transfer the batter into a greased extruder with a medium-sized sev or vermicelli die.
- Swirl the extruder around over the hot oil in the pan, as you turn the handle, to form a disc-shaped mesh of sev. Fry until the oil stops bubbling. This could take up to 30-45 seconds.
- Turn the sev using a pair of tongs to fry the other side for another 15-30 seconds. Remove the sev from the pan once the oil bubbles disappear completely.
- Repeat steps 8 through 10 until the besan batter is finished. Stack the sev ‘meshes’ on a deep plate. Allow to cool completely
- Crush the sev stack in a deep bowl or plate and transfer to a dry air-tight jar.
- 1. Either whisk the batter with your hand or a hand whisk to get a sticky consistency.
- 2. The batter should be neither too thick nor too runny. Always add water a little at a time.
- 3. The rough side of the sev die should be facing outwards when placed in the extruder.
- 4. The deep frying oil should be maintained at an optimum temperature. Too hot and it will burn the sev immediately and not hot enough and it will become too greasy. Always drop a tiny blob of batter in the hot oil before deep frying to test.
- 5. Top-tip: Operating the extruder over hot oil is a risky business. The hot steam released when deep frying sev can scald your hands. Wear a pair of cloth gloves or better still, use heat-proof gloves whilst holding the extruder over the hot oil.
- 6. Allow the excess oil from the freshly deep fried sev to drip back into the karahi or pan before setting aside to cool.
- 7. Always store the sev in an airtight, moisture free and ideally sterilised jar. The sev will stay fresh at room temperature for up to 6 weeks.