Muri. Murmura. Laiyya. Mamra.
This humble puffed rice has as many names as it has uses: soak and make poha out of it (try it!), Grind it and make sattu with it, fry it and make a snack out of it, mix it up with other fun things to make jhaalmuri or bhelpuri, or, as they call in Allahabad, churmura, with it. You can also have it with dal, chole, chana or ghugni, or even with sweet boondi, barfi, mishti doi. The possibilities are endless.
My favourite however is this mixture. It is also a family favourite and a staple in my mother’s pantry. Any time of the day, any month of the year, you’d find a jar full of Laiyya Mixture on the cabinet and you are free to help yourselves to it. It serves as a midnight snack for the late night netflix binges, it works beautifully with the early morning tea for the early risers; it is always a part of the post play-time nourishment for the babies.
I am not so regular with making it though. Maybe because whatever the quantity is — a bowlful or a wok full — it is polished off in no time (sometime even before I can season it and transfer it into a container).
The mixture takes only about 10 minutes to make, and it is super simple. It can be used as base for bhelpuri — just add chopped onion, boiled potatoes and green chilies. Or jhalmuri — add raw mustard oil along with chopped onions, potatoes and chilies. On it’s own it’s unputdownable, plus it’s #vegan and #glutenfree too.
Puffed Rice: 4 cups
Groundnuts: 1/2 cup
Roasted black gram: 1/2 cup
Cornflakes to fry: 1/2 cup
Potato chips (unfried) : 1/2 cup
Oil: 1 cup
Salt: to taste
Red Chilli powder or pepper: to taste
Chaat Masala: 1/2 teaspoon
Pour the oil in a large wok (big enough to fit all the ingredients) and let it smoke. Fry the chips and keep aside. Fry the cornflakes and keep aside.
In the leftover oil (there will be little), saute the groundnuts until done. This may take a while, and it is important to keep the flame on low. Now keep them aside.
Next add the roasted blackgram in the wok and saute for a few minutes. Since it is already cooked, it will take just a couple of minutes. Remove.
There should be about a tablespoon of oil remaining in the wok at this stage. If not, add a tablespoon of oil in the wok and let it heat. Now add all the puffed rice and quickly stir. Keep the flame low and keep stirring the puffed rice for about 5 minutes.
Turn the flame off and add all other ingredients one by one. Stir well to mix them. Let the mixture cool down. Remember not to cover the wok, or add any seasoning at this stage.
When the mixture is at room temperature (typically in 30 minutes or so) add the salt, pepper, chilli, chaat masala and mix well. Wait for another few minutes before transferring it to an airtight container.
Enjoy with tea, coffee, even beer; use it in place of heavily fried chips, and nachos, or as a base for bhelpuri, jhaalmuri, churmura etc.
Note: You can leave out the fried ingredients if you wish, but they add a nice texture to it.
And yes! don’t forget to tell me how it turned out.