Indian Chex Mix (Chiwda)

by R.B. Quinn and Min Merrell
indian chex mix

The Cheater Chef Indian Chex Mix (“chiwda”) recipe honors University of Tennessee football fans everywhere who struggled through biochemistry with the late Dr. Jayant Joshi. Dr. Joshi was a renowned researcher and beloved UT biochemistry professor for more than 40 years. We recently visited with his wife, Nima, who now lives in Nashville with their daughter’s family, and she made her version of the famous chiwda for us.

The traditional blend of Indian seasonings melded with snacks from her adopted country is a fantastic tailgate option, whatever team you root for. And it’s far more delicious and sophisticated than the unbalanced, dumbed down processed stuff in a bag  The mix of American and Indian ingredients was born out of necessity. When the family moved to Knoxville in 1970 there were few Indian families and even fewer Indian markets. Today in Nashville, Nima finds everything Indian at Patel’s market on Nolensville Rd. No more waiting at the Greyhound station for that shipment of chapati flour from California!  

Like any Chex mix recipe, the blend of cereals, nuts, and snacks is up to you. Adjust any ingredient as you like, but keep to total volume. The key to chiwda is to toast the spices in oil to allow their flavors to emerge before coating the cereal. After baking, you’ll have an addictively crunchy, spicy snack that’s perfect with cocktails or cold beer. Most of the seasonings are available in traditional supermarkets, but a trip to Patel’s is economical, educational, and fun.  

Make it as spicy as you like by tweaking the garam masala and red pepper.   


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