It's crunchy. It's spicy. It's horribly addictive. It's laced, I suspect, with our old friend, Mr Monosodium Glutamate. It comes in those little bags from the local corner shop. It's Bombay Mix. The Queen's a fan. Apparently she draws lines in felt-tip across her porcelain snack bowls. She discovered that quantities of the stuff were mysteriously vanishing. The Royal Protection Squad were the main suspects.
I've currently got a 'thing' about Bombay Mix too, finding it works beautifully for some reason, with a decent Gin & Tonic (Portobello Gin mixed properly, Fever Tree tonic, ice cubes and a wedge of lime). The rather appealing Bombay Mix in the picture above comes from the admirably named Ludlow Nut Company.
Mrs Aitch asked me what was in it. I'm ashamed to admit I couldn't tell her straight off. Nuts? Noodles? Raisins? I wasn't even sure if it was genuinely Indian either. Could it be one of those strange Anglo-Indian concotions conjured up in the 1970's?
Actually it is Indian (chiwda, chevdo, bhuso, chevda (चिवडा) or chivdo (चिवडो), Chanāchura, chanachur (চানাচুর) and chuda) a traditional snack which is enjoyed by millions right across the globe. Ingredients can include: peanuts, fried lentils, chickpeas, flaked rice, fried onion, noodles and curry leaves, flavoured with salt, pepper, coriander and mustard seed.
There are various recipes out there on the net. Every Indian family has their favourite mix, there doesn't seem to be any major rules. I like Ms Marmite Lover's version, which includes aromatic fennel, green chilis, sunflower seeds, red lentils and almonds.
Courtesans, Company Style, Northern India, 1800-1825.