30 September, 2015

Khara Kaddi or Spicy Sev Recipe | How to Make Kharada Kaddi

Learn how to make Khara Kaddi or Spicy Sev ~ Deep fried spicy chickpea or gram flour sticks flavoured with cumin, carom seeds and asafoetida

It’s been over a fortnight since Lil Dumpling started his big school and finally, I feel I can pen down the whole experience without my heart shattering into thousand pieces or shedding truck load of tears. There was no surprise when LD started school it wasn't him who cried. It was me! The sight of that small person vanishing with unfamiliar faces into an unknown classroom was terribly painful. I couldn't understand the pain I was feeling.

Spicy Sev or Kharada Kaddi

For weeks, I had prepared LD to start his new school in a new town. I was so immersed in preparing LD for his first day in school, making the school sound like a fun place, I completely forgot to prepare myself for the day when I had to let go of him and place his small hands into the capable hands of his class teacher. I kept my mind busy making sure that the transition will be as smooth and as painless as possible. By doing so, I kept pushing every worry and thoughts of my own feelings in the back-burner. It was a lethal combination, LD’s pride, joy and excitement mixed with my whole range of worries, apprehensions and anxieties! I never imagined in million years that it would be one of the most painful experiences of my life.

 It’s been 5 months since we moved to this town, with no family or friends in 300 miles radius. We couldn’t apply to the schools until we got a permanent address and it took us over a month to find the right house close to the school which we liked the most. By the time we settled down and applied for the school, we weren’t even sure if we will find a place for LD in our preferred school. And sadly, that’s exactly what happened and LD was allocated a place in a school which was not only in the list of our top 3 schools we wanted, but was also further away from home. We decided to appeal to admission board by presenting a very strong case and also put LD’s name in a waiting list for the school we wanted. Then we waited and waited and waited until we were informed that the appeal will take two weeks after the schools re-opened for this academic year! Yeah, right!!!

Half-heartedly we brought new uniforms, school bag, shoes and everything that the school asked us to buy and prepared LD for the D-day. We even drove around the school area to be familiar with the area and show LD his new school. LD got all excited when he saw the big school playground and play area with colourful swings and slides. And then the first day of school arrived…bit too early for my own comfort!

I had a very disturbing sleep and woke up at 4 in the morning. Last time I remember having such a troubled night was the day before I got married! I just lay on the bed, watching LD sleep with a soft smile playing on his lips making me wonder what he must be dreaming about! I lay there, for hours, thinking, and wondering and getting anxious, tensed and nervous with every ticking minute. If only I could stop the time there and freeze our lives… ~sigh~

After morning rituals, breakfast and getting ready for the school, which is a hazy and blurred image, we three were finally on our way to the school. Through the rear view mirror I could see LD popped on his car seat and he was nervous. I could tell because he was tapping his pouted lips with fingers, an action he is unaware of whenever he is anxious or nervous, and was fiddling with the coat zip. He caught my eye in the mirror and gave a nervous smile which brought a big lump in my throat. I reassured him that it is going be fun, meeting new teachers, making new friends, playing in a large playground, and listening to stories. His eyes brightened in excitement and my eyes with unshed tears.

As we walked across the parking lot, hand in hand, I became aware of the little boy looking around with curiosity. With a large back pack with a Green Turtle print that he himself had picked overpowering his tiny frame, he looked too small to be anywhere else other than by my side! His grip was unusually tight and his shoulder straight, as if silently signalling us to give him more strength and confidence. I looked at my husband, holding LD’s other hand, looking equally nervous as I.

Since it was his first day at new school, they let us stay with him for a while. The head mistress came to greet LD and asked him what he likes most about the school. His reply ‘going back home’ made me laugh and cry at the same time! I felt the hot tears brimming, ready to flood my cheeks, and I wiped them quickly with my jacket sleeves, cursing myself for forgetting to get tissues, before my boy who needed my strength and confidence noticed. As we walked into his class room, LD looked little confused and excited at the same time. He stayed close to me, making sure some part of his body was touching mine all the time. I tried to look calm and relaxed and smiled until my jaws hurt.

The friendly class teacher took us around the large class room, full of colourful pictures, books and toys, and showed LD where he should hang his coat and bag every morning. She allowed him to pick any toy of his choice, and my little boy happily chose to play with a microwave, pretending to make tea for us as we talked to the teacher about our concerns and worries. The teacher seemed to understand our anxiety and assured us that LD is in safe hand and he will thoroughly enjoy his days in school. The ever worrying mother in me didn’t want to get convinced although she knew in her heart that the class teacher is really kind and will look after LD’s best interests.

It was the time to go back home, leaving LD in the capable hands of his teacher. LD looked confused as we waved good byes and said I will be back in the evening to take him back home. I rushed out of the class room before he could say anything, his bewildered eyes imprinted in my mind. I hadn't anticipated the feelings of grief that swept over me during those moments. My laidback husband who doesn’t express much walked with me holding my hands, his nose unusually pink and eyes moist. “This is so hard”, he whispered as we walked back to the car parking lot. We sat there, for a minute or two, with silence and tears for a company. Why didn’t we prepare ourselves for this day!

The day might not have stretched really long and felt empty for my husband as he left for work after dropping me at home. He had many meetings to attend and people to meet, keeping him busy from worries. As for me, I didn’t fair well… With no little busy body to keep me on my toes, I found myself looking at the clock every few minute. The time seemed to stretch to infinity before it showed some mercy.

At last I was united with LD who came running towards me for a quick hug before waving good bye to his classmates. I felt happy when asked him about his day and he replied ‘it was fine’, followed by ‘can I come to school tomorrow?’ :)

He was back to his happy self, his shoulders relaxed, grip firm and not too tight and his smile subtle yet present. My heart felt happier and my steps were much lighter matching his as we walked back to home.

Growing hurts. They stir a lot of emotions. And then you realise the bitter sweet truth that children don't need you less, they need you at different times!

New seasons bring new challenges and changes, but it also means new colours, new oppurtunities and new things to love and appreciate. This bitter sweet change seems to compliment one other quite nicely. And that’s exactly where we are right now, on the brink of a new phase of our lives with new memories to be made.

Just a day after starting new school, we received a letter saying LD has got a place in our preferred school... And the story of another bitter-sweet things of life continues...

With so much happening, a couple of week ago my 8 year old camera died after years of abuse in my hand. I have no other choice than rummage old food photographs till I decide whether to buy a new one or get the current camera fixed! I found these 2 years old photographs of Khara Kaddi or Spicy Sev gathering dust with other 20 odd recipes in a not-so-great-looking-photographs-for-blog. Although the photograph is mediocre and old, the recipe is very close to my heart as it is from my mother which LD loved munching when he was just over a year old baby. It probably was the first spicy food he has ever tasted and loved.

Khara Kaddi or Kharada Kaddi in Kannada literally translates to Spicy Sticks and is made using chickpea or gram flour spiced with turmeric, red chilli powder and cumin or carom seeds. It is made using Chakkuli or Murukku Press, a device designed to press savoury snacks in Indian sub-continent into hot oil. As the name suggests, these are spicy snacks and hence try not to reduce the amount of chilli powder too much as it will lose its charm and authenticity. The addition of cumin and carom gives it a distinct taste when bite into it and the hing/asafoetida not only adds punch of flavour but also helps to keep the heart burn at bay if you end up binging them! :) The result is crispy, crunchy and spicy sticks of delight which you will love to snack on. It is one of those snacks which is easy to make and easy to fall in love with. I am one of those who avoid making deep fried snacks as much as possible, but motherhood changes many things. I had to give in and make these Kharra Kaddi or Spicy Sev often these days as both LD and his dad love to snack on after school. What better way to treat my boys after a long day at school and work than fresh homemade snacks?!

Ingredients for Khara Kaddi or Spicy Sev

Khara sev press

Khara Kaddi or Spicy Sev (Deep fried spicy chickpea or gram flour sticks flavoured with cumin, carom seeds and asafoetida)
Prep Time: 10-15 mins
Cooking Time: 30-35 mins
Recipe Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Spice Level: Medium to High
Makes: About 8-10 loosely packed cups
Recipe Source: My mother
Shelf Life: 2-3 weeks in an air tight container at room temperature
Serving Suggestion: As a snack with tea or coffee

2 cups Besan or Chickpea/Gram Flour
1½ - 2 tsp Salt (Adjust as per taste)
1 tbsp Oil or Butter
Oil for greasing the Murukku Press
Oil for Deep Frying

Spices Used:
1½ - 3 tsp Chilli Powder (Adjust as per taste)
½ tsp Haldi/Turmeric Powder
¼ tsp Powdered Hing/Asafoetida
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Ajwain/Carom Seeds

Special Tool Required:
Sev Press or Murkku Press

  1. Heat oil for deep frying in a wok or kadai at medium flame.
  2. While the oil is getting hot, sift together gram flour, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, asafoetida and salt in to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Heat a tbsp. of oil or butter and add it to the sifted flour. Mix it well with a help of a spatula.
  4. Next add little water at time and mix it well to make dough of chapatti consistency. This dough will be quite sticky and difficult to handle unlike the wheat flour dough. You can grease your palm with little oil while kneading the dough to help avoiding from sticking to your palms.
  5. Divide the dough and roll it into a large lemon sized balls and then shape them into logs. Stuff the dough log into a greased murukku or sev press inserted with a disc (around 15-20 holes) for khara sev.
  6. Check if the oil is heated enough by dropping a pinch of dough into the hot oil. If it rises to the surface immediately, the oil is ready for deep frying. If the dough sinks to the bottom and stays there, wait for a couple of minutes for the oil to get heated up.
  7. Press the Khara Kaddi directly into the hot oil by making a large circle as shown in the photograph.
  8. Fry them in the medium flame till they turn golden on the one side and then gently flipping it on other side. Let it cook until it turns golden brown and the bubbles on the oil ceases showing they are cooked through.
  9. Remove it from oil with slotted spoon and place it on a plate lined with paper towel to remove excess oil. Let them cool down to room temperature before storing them in an air tight container. They remain fresh for 2-3 weeks in room temperature.
  10. Serve these Khara Kaddi or Spicy Sev as a snack with a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy!
Khara Kaddi or Spicy Sev Recipe 

Sia’s Notes:
  • As the name suggests, these are spicy snacks and hence try not to reduce the amount of chilli powder too much as it will lose its charm and authenticity. The addition of cumin and carom gives it a distinct taste when bite into it and the hing/asafoetida not only adds punch of flavour but also helps to keep the heart burn at bay if you end up binging them!
  • It is important to get the correct consistency of the dough as if it is too thin it will absorb too much of oil while deep frying.
  • If making a large batch of Khara Kaddi, make sure that the dough is covered with damp cloth to avoid from drying out.
  • Check if the oil is heated enough by dropping a pinch of dough into the hot oil. If it rises to the surface immediately, the oil is ready for deep frying. If the dough sinks to the bottom and stays there, wait for a couple of minutes for the oil to get heated up.
  • It is important that fry the Khara Kaddi in a medium flame as if the oil is too hot the it will brown quickly and may also end up burning and taste bitter. So take care to keep the temperature of the oil in medium heat.
  • Let the Khara Kaddi cool down to room temperature before storing them in an air tight container. They remain fresh for 2-3 weeks in room temperature.
  • Finally, make sure that you immerse the sev press in warm soapy water once you have finished using it as it will be difficult to clean it if the dough residue in it dries and hardens.


  1. Lovely work with this savoury.
    It looks divine.

    Infact I just ate some packaged ( Maiyya;s) savoury called chow chow mixture which had lots of pieces just like what you have shown in the entry here.

    1. Thank you, Anoop and welcome to Monsoon Spice :)
      I have tried couple of savouries and sweets from their bakery and they have been quite good. I especially liked their bitter gourd crisps. Have you dined in Maiya's restaurant in Jayanagar, Bangalore? Their silver plate south Indian thali is really good. (Note~ I have been not paid to promote their products or restaurant ;) )

  2. I'm so sorry to hear that your old camera died... Not funny!

    This is such a great snack!



    1. Thanks, Rosa! I miss my camera and sooner or later will have to decide on either buying a new one or getting it repaired.

  3. Amazing story Sia! I am not a mom and I can't relate to what you're saying - but it touched my heart. And the photographs are beautifully crystal and clear. What camera did you end up buying?

    1. Thank you, Dolphia!
      This one is 2 years old photographs I found while rummaging the drafts. I am getting the old camera fixed and planning to buy new one after couple of weeks. :)

  4. Oh Sia - You brought back memories of me taking my boys to school. First day is daunting for them but worse for us as we are so used to having them with us. It doesn't get easier as the same feeling comes when they leave to go to Uni and finally leave home to settle down. My advice is to enjoy spending time with them as they soon grow up. Mine have left home and every time they visit - I enjoy the time with them and have a quiet little cry when they leave to go back to their homes. I suppose you never stop being a mum. Love the spicy sev recipe. My boys love them so I often make them to post to them.

    1. Oh Meena! I know it will get tougher with years and making most of every precious moment I get to spend with LD. Kids grow up, but we parents never manage to catch up with them! :) It's a bitter sweet truth.
      A hug from one mother to another. :)


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