Sev (Crunchy Fried Chickpea Noodles) Recipe

Sev (Crunchy Fried Chickpea Noodles) Recipe

A plate of composed papri chaat (a type of Indian street food made of multiple components) highlighting the sev topping.
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

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. 

A three-image collage. In order of preparation, the top left image is a top-down shot of a metal mixing bowl holding the dry ingredients for the sev batter. The bottom left image shows the dry ingredients, now fully mixed together, with water being poured into the bowl. The right-most image shows a silicone spatula holding up the now-formed batter, displaying both its color and texture.
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

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.

A plastic piping bag holding the sev dough on a wooden cutting board.
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

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 four-image collage. The top left image shows the tip of a pastry bag piping sev batter into hot oil. The top right image shows a top-down view of the string of sev batter frying in a pan of oil. The bottom left image shows many strings of sev batter frying, with a digital thermometer probe inserted into the pot. The bottom right image shows the golden brown fried sev draining on a wire rack set over some paper towels
Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Notes

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.

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