Documenting the recipe (one of my top 10 favorites!) for the making of Khara Shevai finally after 10 years of starting the blog.. Khara Shevai (not Sevai nor Sev) is how we call it at home. It is one of those deep fried savory eats that brings with it a hundred emotions and memories all at once along with the urge to salivate at the very thought of it. Khara means spicy in Kannada.
In our household, Khara Shevai has had the distinction to make a mandatory appearance on all birthdays, on all major festivals, DeepavaLi in particular being the highlight. Without making Khara Shevai, it feels like the celebration lacks something or Sambhrama (kannada) – zeal, flurry and festitude.
Which type of chakli press to use
At home, we’ve always used traditional brass chakli Oralu /press to make Khara Shevai
Personally, I find the pressing type Oralu to be hard to use, when making a big batch. I prefer using the turning type Chakli Oralu or Sevai Nazhi. It is much more convenient to handle when pressing directly over hot oil as it won’t result in aching wrists a day later.
Keep in mind when buying the Chakli press that the turning type is North Indian style and may not come with discs for Mucchore (3 spiked holes at triangles) and Thengol (3 round holes at triangles)
If you are into making those also, it is better to find a press which has all the discs needed than to go searching for spare discs to fit the chakli press.
Tips to keep in mind
Besan flour Quality and taste of the Khara Shevai directly depends on the quality of the besan flour and how fine it is milled. In my grand dad’s house, freshly milled besan flour was always used for making any sweets or savories calling for besan flour. And the difference it makes is hugely obvious in the result.
If using store bought Besan flour, make sure that the packed date is the latest. Besan flour tends to become bitter over time and when not fresh.
Always sieve the flour first to get rid of lumps, which is quite common in Besan flour, whether store bought or freshly milled.
Foaming Peanut Oil
Filtered Peanut oil is the oil of my choice for deep frying foods.
If you use filtered peanut oil to deep fry, know that it is normal for the oil to froth after a period. If it begins to froth and rise up in the kadai while frying, drop a small piece of tamarind to the oil and continue. This should help in arresting the rising froth. I have seen my Amma do this when I was little.
Also, ensure that the hot oil does not idle or smoke in between frying.
Rice flour is optional. Rice flour isn’t used in our family recipe. But it definitely helps in making the dough easier to handle as Besan flour can otherwise be quite sticky.
Chakli/Murukku Press to use If you use a brass chakli press like I do, make sure to wash it thoroughly with a mix of tamarind and salt first, towel dry well and then use. Make sure there are no green spots caused by oxidation.
DeepavaLi (meaning a row of clay lamps or deepas) is our most looked forward to festivals.
Celebrations begin on the Trayodashi (13th tithi of Karthika month, waning phase of the moon), the day before the first day of DeepavaLi i.e, Naraka Chaturdashi with great fervor as “Neeru Thumbuva Habba”. Literally translating to “Filling the water”, it is a symbolic of the preparation for the cleansing bath to be taken at the pre-dawn hours on the next morning of Naraka Chaturdashi
Bathrooms enjoy all the attention on this day and are cleaned to a sparkle. In the olden days, during my childhood, huge cauldrons of copper heated with wood fire, meant for heating water (called Handa, now only to be found in ancestral homes like my Taatha’s (maternal grand dad)) were filled with water to the brim, decorated with rangoli drawn in front of them and bedecked with turmeric and kumkuma for auspice.
Trayodashi is also celebrated as Dhanvantari Jayanthi, the birth of Dhanvantari (an avatar of Vishnu), the God of Health and wellness as he emerged out of the ocean of milk during the celestial churning with a kalasha of Amrita in his hands.
DeepavaLi spans aross 4-5 days depending upon the region. For us, it starts with the Neeru Thumbuva Habba/Dhanvantari Jayanthi (also known as Dhanteras), progresses with Naraka Chaturdashi and culminates on Bali Padyami
Traditional sweets and savories like Khara Shevai are typically prepared on Trayodashi day and I like to continue the tradition.
You might also want to check out these lovely recipes Rave Unde
Deep fried spicy crisp besan flour noodles of different thickness
makes about 800g totally
650g plain khara Shevai
140g fried peanuts, cashews and curry leaves
- 1/2 kg Besan flour or chickpea flour kadale hittu
- 2 tbsp rice flour
- 3-1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp fine hing/asafetida
- 1/3 cup hot peanut oil for the dough saati
- about 2 cups water for binding the dough
- salt to taste
- peanut oil for deep frying
- 1 cup peanuts
- 1/4 cup cashew nuts
- 12 sprigs or one big handful of curry leaves washed and towel dried
Wash and dry the chakli press thoroughly. wash with tamarind and salt in case of a brass chakli press. Keep aside.
Sift the besan and rice flours into a large mixing bowl to get rid of lumps. Do not skip this step. If the tiny lumps remain, they'll get stuck inside the chakli press while pressing.
Sprinkle hing, red chilli powder, salt and mix well. Traditionally, solid hing was first mixed in water and then that hing water was mixed into the flour.
heat 1/3 cup oil in a deep wok or kadai on medium heat. when the oil is very hot, pour it over the flour. Test the hotness of the oil by dropping a few drops of oil on the flour. Oil is ready when it sizzles as soon as it touches the flour. This step is important to get crisp Khara Shevai
This process is called "Saati" in Kannada and is common in many deep fried recipes
Mix well with a spoon to distribute the hot oil and then with your hands to incorporate the oil into the flour till crumbly. Be careful to not touch the hot oil directly. Hold the dough tightly in your fist and let go. If it holds shape, the flour is ready for binding.
Set the kadai with oil for deep frying over medium heat
While the oil heats up, Divide the flour into two sections. Make a portion with about a cup of flour. Adding water little at a time, bind into a not too stiff dough. If the dough is too stiff, Khara Shevai will break in the kadai (also will be difficult to press) and if it is too wet, it will not turn out crisp after frying.
If the dough is too stiff, wet your palm gently and mix well to make the dough softer and smoother.
Slightly grease the insides of the Chakli press with oil.
Check if the oil is hot enough by dropping a bit of the dough. it is ready when the dough rises immediately.
Keep it on medium heat.
Fill the dough into the chakli press, shut it close and twist or press the dough into the oil in circular motion.
Flip once when it raises up in the kadai using a slotted spoon. When frothing reduces and it turns golden brown, strain it with a slotted ladle and remove on to large bowl lined with paper tissue.
Repeat with the remaining dough working with small portions at a time until done.
Lastly, for the tempering, in the remaining oil, fry peanuts, cashews and curry leaves until cashews are golden brown and peanuts split up and take out onto the tissue paper.
Toss them all together with the Khara Shevai.
Pour the sev into a dry airtight container once cooled.
Serve as a side or snack as is. Guaranteed to not last too long 🙂
Besan/chickpea flour must be very fine
If you so like it, you can make only one thickness of Shevai instead of using 3 types - very fine, medium and ribbon discs
Use a good quality Hing to offset the gassy after effects of Besan flour
keep a bowl of water and towel next to the flour bowl to dip and wash hands and work quickly after filling the dough in the press
More notes in the text section above