Sev are crunchy fried noodles made from a dough of chickpea flour and water. Chickpea flour, also called gram or besan flour, is a staple in South Asian cooking. It can be made from either raw or roasted chickpeas and is very crunchy when fried. It’s often used to batter and fry vegetables in a manner similar to tempura.
Traditionally, the dough is very stiff and pressed through a brass extruder into hot oil. This stiff dough yields dense and sturdy sev, but it is impossible to cook without a sev extruder. I prefer a thick batter instead, which can be readily extruded with just a piping bag. The sev made from this batter has a more reserved crunch, but it’s a compromise I’m happy to make if it means I can abstain from purchasing such a specific unitasker. Stored in an airtight container, sev stays crisp for a long time, making it ideal for preparing in large batches.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together chickpea flour, chili powder, black pepper, and enough water (1/3 cup to 1/2 cup) to form a mixture with the thickness of pancake batter.
Add batter to a piping bag fitted with a number 2 plain round tip, or use a zipper-lock bag with one corner snipped off to create a small opening.
Set a wire rack on top of a paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet. Heat oil to 375°F (190°C). Pipe squiggles of batter into oil, like a funnel cake, and fry until bubbling ceases. Using a spider or strainer, lift fried sev and transfer to prepared baking sheet to drain. Repeat with remaining sev batter. If desired, break sev into small pieces to use as a topping (such as for papri chaat). Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
A stand-alone snack in its own right, sev is also an important component in many Indian street foods.
Make-Ahead and Storage
The sev will stay crisp in an airtight container for up to 1 month at room temperature.