The festive spirit is upon us, and this post of mine is my attempt to spread enjoyment this season. Every year I make both sweets and savouries around Diwali, just the way it used to happen when I was a kid. Of course sweets are a must but I favour savouries as they can be stored for a longer time (and thus enjoyed more 🙂 ) I usually make namkeens (different shapes), and mathri (plain, rose) each year on Diwali (and Holi) but this year I wanted to make something special, something from my childhood time, something new!
As a child, I loved the small spicy cashew nut shaped (Kaju) namkeen, which we used to buy from local shops in Bikaner (Rajasthan, India). It is different from regular namkeen as one it is cashewnut (Kaju) shaped, and two it tastes spicy and tangy. We used to call it Kaju Namkeen.
So this year for the first time I made these Kaju Namkeens couple of days ago, when both my angels were at school. They both got very excited to see these Kaju Namkeens, as they saw it for the first time, and they loved the taste as well.
Kaju Namkeen is my newest addition to the namkeens and I have already been demanded to make another batch!
So let’s make these crispy Kaju Namkeen!
The ingredients for Kaju Namkeen are:
- Plain flour (all purpose flour/Maida): 2 cup
- Carom seeds (Ajwain) : 1/2 tsp
- Roasted Cumin powder (Jeera powder) : 1/2 tsp
- Black pepper powder (Kali mirch powder) : 1 tsp
- Red Chilli Powder (Lal mirch powder) : 1/2 tsp
- Chat Masala : 1 tsp
- Salt : 3/4 tsp or as per taste
- Oil : 3 Tbsp + for deep frying
Take a big bowl and add plain flour, carom seeds, roasted cumin powder, black pepper powder, salt and oil. Mix properly with hands.
The oil, which we add in the flour before kneading, is called Moyan (in local Hindi / North Indian dialect). Moyan defines the level of crispiness, softness and flakiness of the prepared snacks. If the moyan is less than perfect, the namkeen will turn out hard. To achieve/check the right level of moyan, mix oil well with the plain flour. Now take some of this flour in your hand, try to make a fist with it and, then open your hand again. If the flour holds its shape then the moyan is right but if it gets scattered then you may need to add more oil.
Now slowly add warm water to the flour mix (as plain flour need less water) and knead a firm dough. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and keep it aside for 30 minutes.
Next, roll out this dough in a big circle, it must be thick (and not thin). The thickness must be 1/2 or 1/3 cm. If you make it thin then it will not look like cashew nut but half moon shaped; and it will affect the taste as well.
For your reference, my dough’s thickness is:
Now take a small sharp cap/lid of a bottle, and start cutting from the edge of this circle.
Here is your first cashew nut 🙂
Now cut continuously in a line and get the cashew nut shaped namkeens. Cut as many as cashew nut shapes as you can.
There will be some dough left over after making all Kaju namkeens; so collect it, knead it again, roll out in a thick circle and make more Kaju namkeens.
Now place these Kaju namkeens on a paper to dry out, till you are finished cutting all the Kaju shaped namkeens.
If you can, then keep these cashew nut namkeens on paper for 1 hour so that they become a bit dry (thus will absorb less oil while deep frying). Otherwise you can fry them immediately after cutting as well.
Heat oil in a pan, and deep fry these raw Kaju namkeens on a low-medium flame till they turn golden/brown in colour. As they are bit thick it will take some time for them to get cooked (little more time than normal namkeen); keep turning in between so that it will cook from all the sides.
Drain out the excess oil and keep it in a bowl. Once you have deep fried all the Kaju Namkeens and they have cooled down a bit to normal temperature, sprinkle chat masala and red chilli powder on it and mix/toss it well with hands.
Your spicy-tangy crispy Kaju Namkeens are ready to be cherished!!
Insider Tips / Finer Points:
- You can adjust spices as per your choice. If you want it more spicy than add more chilli powder/ black pepper.
- The dough must be firm and not soft.
- Always check the moyan – it should be enough otherwise your Kaju namkeen would be hard not crispy.
- Keep the flame low-medium and not high so that the Kaju namkeen will cook properly.