Poha Chivda (Indian Flattened Rice Snack) Recipe

This crunchy snack mix is salty, sweet, and packed with fragrant, spicy flavors.

A small round wooden bowl holding poha chivda. There is a larger cream-colored ceramic bowl in the top right corner of the image.

Serious Eats / Qi Ai

Why It Works

  • Frying the spices, chiles, and curry leaves deepens their flavor while infusing the oil, which is absorbed by the poha and coats the nuts and raisins.
  • Frying whole spices first and then adding other ingredients ensures the oil is thoroughly infused without scorching any of the ingredients.

Poha is de-husked rice which is beaten into flat flakes. It's extremely light and forms an integral part of the Indian diet. Even better, poha is easy to cook with and quick to rustle up—most homes keep a ready stock of it, in case of surprise guests.

During Diwali, the Indian festival of light, it makes its appearance on the festive table as poha chivda. 'Chivda' refers to a crunchy, usually savory snack. There are plenty of variations and endless flavor combinations in this type of dish, which can be eaten on its own or with a meal. Poha chivda is usually served to neighbors, friends, and relatives, alongside a host of other traditional sweets and savories.

After Diwali, I'm always left with quite a few interesting snacks and ingredients, poha chivda being one that I can easily tuck into throughout the year. I love the salty, sweet, and fragrant spicy notes that this snack hits.

This recipe calls for a bit of oil that you might think is too much, but it works to preserve the mixture and helps infuse the diverse seasonings into every element of the dish. And besides, it'll all be drained off later. It's very easy to prepare and has a shelf life of about two months (not that it will last that long). And makes for a wonderful guilt-free(ish) nibble whenever hunger strikes.

November 2013

Recipe Facts



Cook: 15 mins
Active: 15 mins
Total: 15 mins
Serves: 8 servings
Makes: 4 cups

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  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds

  • 1 teaspoon (3g) cumin seeds

  • 1 teaspoon (3g) fennel seeds

  • 3 fresh green Thai chiles, halved lengthwise

  • 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 15 curry leaves

  • 1/2 cup (70g) roughly chopped cashews

  • 1/2 cup (75g) roasted peanuts

  • 1/2 cup (30g) toasted dried coconut slices (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons (25g) golden raisins

  • 2 cups (160g) flattened rice (also called beaten rice)

  • 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt, plus more to taste; if using table salt, use half as much by volume

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (22g) sugar


  1. In a cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. In quick succession, add mustard, cumin, and fennel seeds, standing back to avoid any splatter, and cook, stirring continuously, until fragrant and the seeds pop, about 30 seconds. Add green chiles, asafoetida, turmeric powder, and curry leaves and continue to cook, stirring continuously, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

    A two-image collage. The top image shows fennel, cumin, and mustard seeds being cooked in hot oil inside of a red enameled skillet. The seeds have popped due to the heat. The bottom image shows green chiles, asafoetida, turmeric powder, and curry leaves stirred into mustard, cumin, and fennel in the skillet

    Serious Eats / Qi Ai

  2. Reduce heat to low and add cashews, peanuts, coconut slices (if using), and raisins. Cook until cashews turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in rice, salt, and sugar and cook, stirring very gently, until rice is thoroughly coated with the flavored oil. Remove from heat, spread on a paper towel-lined plate, and allow to cool to room temperature. Season with additional salt to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve, or store in an airtight container.

    A four-image collage. The top left image shows cashews, peanuts, golden raisins, and coconut slices added to the cast-iron skillet over low heat. The top right image shows the flattened rice added to the skillet. The bottom left image shows the flattened rice thoroughly coated with flavored oil inside skillet. The bottom right image shows the golden brown flattened rice mixture spread on a paper-towel lined plate.

    Serious Eats / Qi Ai

Special Equipment

Cast iron skillet

Make-Ahead and Storage

Poha chivda can be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 months at room temperature.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
226 Calories
16g Fat
19g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 226
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 174mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 23mg 2%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 165mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)