As a child, I loved these fried crispy circles that I would devour layer by layer. What was even more exciting was to get the one entire ring out without it breaking midway and the tiniest ring was tried onto the little finger as a finger ring. And the name well, that was another story. We call the bird sparrow a Chakli in India! My sis and me had this ever lasting joke, we’d always tell our mom to fry sparrows for our snakes (snacks) and would giggle about our carnivorous lifestyle…but that’s all a good 30 odd years ago. These memories do however light up the tiring moment when you standing on your feet for two and three hours frying up these crispy bites.
There’s something about the Diwali festival, that gets me all excited and ready to pull out fried snacks and sweets that are otherwise a taboo. This entree is a speciality and the recipe comes down from the maternal side of my family. In the olden days, all the women family members would gather together in the huge courtyards and kitchens and create these delicacies over a couple of days before Diwali. These would then be divided among the family which would in turn be gifted to friends. It was called Diwali Nasta and people would be invited to partake in it.
Today, no one has the time or the energy to create these foods. People hire out maharajs (cooks) or buy ready-made sweets and savoury items. But my family, prefers to make a couple of entrees ourselves. This is one of them. It’s a laborious and time intensive process, but the results are superb.