By DK on Nov 27, 2012
Many of you probably make excuses to eat Chocolate or something sweet. I do that for savories. My cravings are 99.99% for salty, sour, spicy dishes and they unravel in fast succession during cold/rainy climates. I am not scared of frying ( I believe its all in the technique of frying) and hence enjoy them on and off. Oh by the way - to all those photography enthusiasts - would you believe that the above picture has NOT been processed to provide a black and white background to these goodies (I wouldn't know how to even if I wanted to!)? A late evening setting and a gray vessel + counter top combo did the trick :) The effect though makes me feel like a true photographer!
Kara Sev, where "Kara" denotes "heat /spicy" in Tamil and "Sev" is referred to fried noodles made from chickpea flour. The heat in this dish is from Pepper which is the star ingredient. Made during festivals, these can also be enjoyed any time your palate gets into the craving mode. Like mine :). To my knowledge there are two main variations for these - very crispy and crunchy ones that's my favorite like these. And the other that's soft and almost melts in your mouth - OK not literally but in the sense that there's hardly any biting action needed.
My mom's version is what I make (like so many other traditional dishes) and love. They have such a satisfying crunch and the peppery bite makes it perfect for my heat loving palate. I make them occasionally during the year and especially during cold/rainy months. Overcast skies and windy days are a perfect backdrop for a tea time with some hot Ginger tea and crispy Kara Sev. Uncomplicated with just few ingredients, these are tailor made for snack lovers.
Prep Time: Under 15 min
Cook Time: Under 15 min
Serves: 4 people
Yield: Makes around 200 grams
- 1 cup Besan (Chickpea flour)
- 1 cup Rice Flour
- 1/8 tsp Baking Soda (optional), see Tips
- 1 tsp whole Peppercorns
- 1 tbsp Ghee, see Tips
- Salt to taste
Tips1. Baking Soda : My mom's recipe notes mentions 1/2 tsp(!) of Baking soda, but I usually use a generous pinch instead, with satisfying results. At times, when I have skipped it altogether, they still turn out pretty well. To my knowledge, my mother never used the Baking soda herself inspite of her cooking notes mentioning it. In fact, I have never seen my mother use Baking soda for anything....!
2. Ghee: To make it Vegan, you can instead add some hot oil from the deep fryer.
Sift the flours well into a large bowl.
The amount of pepper totally depends on how much of it you can take ;). I usually do a coarse chop with a large knife (or use a mortar and pestle if you have it). The itsy bitsy pieces that you taste while you bite into the finished goodies is what makes it perfect, in my opinion.
But if you have people with a sensitive palate or if you are making it for teeny little ones who might not appreciate the large pieces, you can give a quick whirl in your coffee grinder to make it more coarser. To make your life even simpler, try the pepper mill. But coarser bits is recommended for that authentic taste. Keep in mind that the more powdery the pepper, more profound the pepper taste in your Kara sev.
Now add that along with flour and other seasoning.
Mix well to combine.
Add the Ghee. Now add in water - 1 tbsp at a time
until you can make a smooth
and semi-tight dough.
Traditionally a Kara Sev handle is used - a ladle with large perforated holes - like the one shown below. The norm is to place a small ball of the dough
and apply some pressure to smear/rub the dough on top of the ladle.
The idea is to press out some of the dough through the holes so that it forms into noodles.
You have to do this on top of the oil thats heated for deep frying.
These noodles will drop in the oil (if they are stuck just shake the ladle a bit or run a knife through them! Mostly it shouldn't stick that much. It means the dough is too tight and you can add in couple of tbsp of water to get to the desired consistency).
These noodles are fried until golden and drained on paper towels.
If you don't have the Kara sev ladle, you can use any perforated ladle you have and see if it does the trick. If you have a hand grater, use the large holes to do the same. Do not use the box grater that I show in the image below (I had only that and used it to show the large holes) that's not ideal for this purpose.
As you can see, its indeed some work to sit around smearing the dough on top of these ladles. If you do not have time/energy for this kind of physical activity, use a Murukku/Chakli Press and use the plate with the 3 holes in it. Squeeze a little at a time to make the Kara sev.
These are extremely crispy with the occasional peppery bite that I find perfect not only during festivals but also during winter/rainy weather. These keep well for weeks in an air tight container at room temperature.
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