I am not one for compromising on taste to keep the waistline in check. Neither am I prone to shortcuts in my cooking technique just to save time if I know that flavour will be compromised. I have always been known amongst my peers for taking a rather long-winded painful path to achieve the desired result. So when it comes to making Diwali snacks or any Indian snack for that matter, I tend to steer clear of air fryers and the like. I like to snack and get well and truly spoilt in a true ‘desi’ style…. unless there’s a pack of some healthier alternative lying at the bottom of the larder that I curiously (read: accidentally) purchased a while ago and forgot about. That is exactly how this puffed whole wheat ‘bhadang’ / भडंग came to be.
Recently, during my pre-Diwali rummage through the Indian goods stash, my hands pounced upon a pack of puffed whole wheat or wheat mamra. I had a nibble and instantly I knew I had to make it into a somewhat healthier ‘bhadang’ snack.
What is ‘bhadang’?
A speciality of the Kolhapur region of Maharashtra, bhadang is an uber spicy yet tasty snack traditionally prepared by mixing a special type of puffed rice (called ‘bhadang murmura’) with condiments such as peanut, garlic and chilli powder along with other spices. The puffed rice used to make bhadang is extra puffy and is readily available in India under the name ‘bhadang murmura’ or ‘bhadang mamra’. It can also be found across the UK in most Indian grocery stores.
How is this bhadang different to the traditional one?
In this recipe, I have used locally available Indian spices and puffed whole wheat instead of the traditional puffed rice. The same recipe is applicable to puffed rice bhadang. It has minimal spices and makes a delicious ‘bhel’.
How is puffed whole wheat bhadang made?
The key to making any bhadang is getting the spices right. The essential ingredients such as peanut, curry leaves, smashed garlic, coconut slivers, roasted chickpea or gram dal and spices are deep fried together on a low flame and poured over the puffed whole wheat. Then seasoned with salt and sugar before bunging in the oven on low for added crispiness.
Care needs to be taken to not overdo the deep frying and burn any of the ingredients while they sizzle together. So the order in which they are added to the pan is important. Other than that it’s a really easy snack that comes together in less than 30 minutes with a little pre-planning and prep.
This puffed whole wheat bhadang recipe is
- Not gluten-free
- Somewhat healthier than the traditional one due to comparatively low-calorie ingredients
- Comes together in less than 30 minutes
- Prepared using minimal spices to maximise the flavour of each ingredient
- Only requires ingredients that are easily available, even outside India
- Can also be prepared with traditional puffed rice instead of puffed whole wheat.
- Tastes uber delicious and makes a lovely tea-time ‘bhel’ snack.
How to store this bhadang?
Once the bhadang is gently roasted in the oven, allow it to cool to room temperature. Then transfer to an airtight jar. It keeps well at room temperature for up to 6 months but chances are it’ll be all gone long before then.
Puffed Whole Wheat ‘Bhadang chivda’ / भडंग चिवडाCourse: Snack, SideCuisine: MaharashtrianDifficulty: Easy
- To make bhadang:
75g (3 cups) big wheat mamra or puffed whole wheat
70g (½ cup) daria dal or dry roasted chana dal
100g (½ cup) whole peanuts with skin on
20g dry coconut slivers
7 garlic cloves (smashed)
8-10 curry leaves
4 green chillies (chopped lengthways)
60ml (¼ cup) sunflower oil
1 tsp Kashmiri or Byadagi chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp asafoetida or hing
½ tsp black salt powder
½ tsp chaat masala powder
½ tsp salt
3-4 tbsp of icing sugar or to taste
- To make bhadang bhel:
1 green mango (grated)
1½ baby cucumber (chopped)
½ an onion or one large shallot
5 cherry tomatoes (chopped)
½ a lime
10g coriander (chopped)
- To make bhadang:
- Heat the oil in a karahi or deep pan on a medium flame. Splutter the mustard followed by cumin seeds.
- Throw in the smashed garlic cloves and curry leaves. Once sizzled add the asafoetida.
- Now add the chopped green chillies. Stir for 30 seconds or until they’re par-cooked.
- Tip in the whole peanuts and stir until ever so slightly golden but not browned. Turn down the heat to low to medium.
- Next, add the slivered dry coconut. Stir for 15 seconds. Then tip in the daria dal or dry roasted chana dal. Continue stirring for another 15 seconds.
- Add the turmeric, chilli powder, chaat masala and black salt. Mix well.
- Once the peanut and coconut slivers turn golden, tip the sizzling hot ‘tadka’ over the puffed whole wheat in a bowl. Mix the seasoning well using a spatula. Continue until all the puffed whole wheat mamra is coated with seasoning spices.
- Add salt and dust the icing sugar over the bhadang. Mix everything thoroughly then transfer onto a greaseproof paper-lined baking tray. Spread evenly and roast in the oven for 10 minutes at 150C to crisp up.
- Allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to a dry airtight jar for storage.
- To make bhadang bhel
- In a wide plate or bowl, add all the bhel ingredients. Mix the puffed whole wheat or rice bhadang into the bowl as needed. Garnish with chopped coriander, finish with a generous squeeze of lime and enjoy!
- Fry all the condiments on a low to medium flame only, in the order specified in the recipe.
- Do not let the slivered coconut and peanut go brown. If they do, switch off the flame and either pour the mixture as is over the whole wheat puffs or continue cooking with the flame off.
- Always wipe the airtight storage jars dry before transferring the mixture.
- The same recipe can be used to make the traditional rice puff bhadang.