Cheedai: Crunchy Savory Edible Pebbles

Are you trying to guess what these pebbles are in the picture? Well, they are crunchy edible, savory nibbles called ‘cheedai’. It’s a very time consuming recipe which requires a lot of skill. You need to make sure that the rice flour and urad dal flour is very fine or else it’ll split when you fry it. So this time when I visited my Mother and demanded she make them for me, she in turn demanded that I try it out myself instead of  just eating it. Finally after making it, I realized it was worth the effort. Its part of the ‘bakshanam’ (snacks & sweets made for festivals) made for Krishna Janmashtami, the Birthday of Lord Krishna in the Hindu pantheon of Gods.   My best memory of cheedai is, sitting with my brother, when we were kids, with a bowl of freshly made cheedai, and relishing the crunch and taste of the snack while watching the Janmashtami celebrations from our home balcony.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups raw rice
  • 1/4 Cup urad dal
  • 2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp Pepper powder
  • 1/4 Cup butter
  • A pinch asafetida
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Soak rice in water for an hour and drain it.
  • Allow it to dry by spreading it on a piece of cloth or paper for 3-4 hours
  • After it dries grind it into a superfine powder
  • Roast the rice flour till it becomes brown
  • Sieve the flour to make sure there are no lumps
  • In a pan, roast the urad dal till it becomes brown
  • Grind it into a fine powder
  • Sieve the flour to remove lumps
  • Mix it with the rice flour
  • Add butter, asafetida, cumin seeds, pepper powder and salt
  • Add water and knead to make a stiff dough
  • Make small balls of it as shown in the picture
  • Do not make very hard and tight balls or else the air trapped in them will cause it to burst while frying it
  • Spread the balls on a wet towel so that it doesn’t dry up
  • Heat oil in a pan and fry the cheedais till they are golden brown

Preparation time: 1 hour

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