Kara sev is crunchy, spicy deep fried strings made with gram flour. Gluten free South Indian tea time snack has a shelf life of at least a week to 10 days and one of the common preparations during Diwali and other festivals.
There are many versions of sev across India, varying in shape, size and flavor. Ratlami sev is popular in Central Indian and aloo bhuji (potato sev) in North India. In South India it is kara sev. Kara or spicy flavor comes from pepper powder and/or chili powder. This recipe is adapted from Valli’s mom’s recipe.
Main ingredient is gram flour and rice flour is gives crunch. Seasoning for plain sev is just salt and in kara (spicy) sev, it is black pepper or chili powder or combination of both. Get all the ingredient list and quantities from recipe card.
- Flours – Gram flour is key flour and the ratio of rice flour to gram flour varies from household to household.
- Spices / Seasoning – Use either chili powder or pepper powder and my personal preference is chili powder. Garlic gives additional flavor.
- Baking Soda – it is a common ingredient in sev recipes however, I am neutral to it. In this recipe, I skip it most of the time.
How to, with step by step photos
- Take flours, chili powder, salt, crushed garlic and cumin seeds, baking soda if using and ghee in a wide bowl (#1).
- Mix together all the ingredients properly, add water and to make dough (#2).
- Add water as needed and make a soft dough (#3).
- Divide dough into portions. There are 8 portions in the image but 6 portions is a good size if using a small – medium sized wok/kadai (#4)
- Prepare the sev mould. Choose a medium sized round hole plate (#5).
- Grease the mould and close one end of the mould with the sev plate (#6).
- Fill the mould with one portion of dough (#7).
- Close the other end of the mould and keep it aside (#8).
- Heat oil in a kadai and press the sev into hot oil (#9).
- Fry on med flame until sev begins to float on top (#10).
- Flip and fry for another minute until light golden in color (#11).
- Remove from oil using a slotted spoon (#12).
Cool sev completely and store in an airtight container. These stay fresh for at least a week to 10 days. You can refrigerate sev for months. Remove from refrigerate few hours before serving.
When to serve
It is a great tea time snack, after school snack, to munch on between meals to satiate odd hour hunger pangs. Pack as a snack to school and also pack some for your long road trips. You can pretty much eat these anytime of the day and also makes an excellent edible gift.
- Mix together all ingredients before making the dough. Taste the flour mixture, adjust seasoning to taste before adding water.
- Dough should be soft to get a long strings of sev. Stiff dough leads to broken strings.
Besan / gram flour is used. Rice flour gives some crunch to sev and the ratio of besan to rice flour varies from household to household. 2:1 is a good ratio.
Other snacks with a shelf life
Detailed, Printable Recipe
How to prepare Kara Sev
- Mixing Bowl
- Sev or Muruku Press
- Wok for deep frying
- Lotted Spoon
- Paper Towels
- Wide Tray or a Plate
- 2 cups gram flour
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1 teaspoon chili powder I used 2
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- Pinch of Baking Soda
- ½ teaspoon Cumin
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon butter / ghee
- Oil for deep frying
- Sieve together gram flour and rice flour in a wide bowl.
- Crush together garlic and cumin seeds.
- Add chilli powder, salt, crushed garlic cumin, ghee or butter and baking soda to flour.
- Mix everything together using your hands. It should look like bread crumbs.
- Taste the flour mixture, adjust salt and chili powder / pepper powder to taste.
- Add water and prepare the dough. Knead it to a soft dough and divide into 6 portions.
- Heat oil in a kadai or wok for deep frying.
- Grease sev press with some oil. Fill it with one portion of dough.
- Close the sev press and press it into a wok in a circular morion.
- Fry sev for 2-3 minutes or until light golden brown, turning it once. Sev is done when it starts to float in oil.
- Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
- Repeat the above steps with rest of the dough.
- Let the sev cool completely and store in an airtight container.
- Dough – should be soft and not very stiff. Sev will break when pressing if the dough is very stiff.
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This post was originally published in Jul 2010. Post is republished with updated content.