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Posted on Sat, Dec 12, 2009 : 7 a.m.

Eating Indian snacks on the 2nd night of Chanukkah

By Mary Bilyeu

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I absolutely adore Indian food! I love it so much that I chose to eat at Temptations for my birthday a few days ago. And a few days before that I shared a “bon voyage” Indian meal with a beloved friend who went snowbirding to New Mexico this week, just in time before the bitter cold blew in. (Hi, Jayne!)

Chivra (Indian Snack Mix).JPG

Chivra (Indian Snack Mix), a new tradition for Chanukkah.

Mary Bilyeu Contributor

And so it only seemed logical, as I seek new twists on Chanukkah culinary traditions (which generally feature oil in celebration of the miracle of 1 day's worth of consecrated oil lasting for 8 days), that I should find my way to chivra

Chivra, according to my admittedly minimal research, seems to simply mean “Indian snack mix.” And when I go into Indian markets, I am astounded by the variety of chivras available! All sorts of cereals and nuts and crispy and spicy items are combined to make delicious things to nibble on. But what, exactly, might this have to do with Chanukkah, you ask???

Oil. Whatever dry ingredients you feel like tossing together are coated with spiced oil before being baked briefly to crisp the mix. And so, even in eating this very non-stereotypically-Jewish food, the miracle of the oil is being celebrated!

I took a little bit of what I had on hand and a little bit of what I picked up during my last trip to the grocery store, and stirred it all together to make my own chivra. This will become a tradition in my home (frankly, it will become a regular treat!). It is absolutely addictive!

Chivra (Indian Snack Mix)

3 cups Rice Krispies 2 cups chow mein noodles 1 cup honey roasted peanuts 1/2 cup vermicelli (very thin, small pieces of pasta) 1/2 cup oil 1 teaspoon hot curry powder 1 teaspoon garam masala 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt 1/4 teaspoon Cajun seasoning pinch of saffron (buy a machine-processed version at Middle Eastern markets: $4.99 for about a cup)

Preheat oven to 400° F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine Rice Krispies, chow mein noodles, peanuts and vermicelli.

In a small skillet, heat the oil and all of the spices, swirling the pan to combine everything, for 1 minute. Pour spice mixture over the cereal mixture and stir to mix well. Pour mixture onto a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool, then serve.

Mary Bilyeu has won or placed in more than 60 cooking contests and writes about her adventures as she tries to win prizes, feeds hungry teenagers and other loved ones, and generally just has fun in the kitchen. The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured next to the blog's title) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15, and is a wish for all her readers as they cook along with her ... may you always be happy here!

You can contact Mary at



Sat, Dec 12, 2009 : 11:08 a.m.

Mary- you can also buy pre-made Indian snacks in the Indian grocery stores. They have a wide variety of snacks, reflection many of the different ethnicities amongst Indians. And thus they all taste different. :)

Peggy Lampman

Sat, Dec 12, 2009 : 10:21 a.m.

This would be a great party snack food for entertaining. I love the way you mix up cultural foods--it makes it fun and interesting. Happy Chanukkah, Mary! One of my favorite recipes is knishes! I can't wait to see what other goodies you're making.