This is such a standard household fixture that I forgot it on that long list
Chivda is a quintessentially Maharashtrian snack mix. Other regions have their own versions of snack mix (bhoosa, “mixture”, and so on), but chivda is a celebrity in its own right (heard of Bombay snack mix? = Chivda).
It’s an any-time snack, but shines with afternoon tea. Crunchy, salty, sweet, sometimes spicy, sometimes tangy.
There are many, many varieties, and towns in the state are famous for specific types (people take special requests and carry back enough to distribute among friends and family if they’re traveling somewhere chivda-famous like Nashik, with its Onion Chivda). There’s a type for everyone. Trader Joe’s even makes one that isn’t anything like anything you’d find in India, and yet it’s definitely Chivda with all its signature characteristics (even though they call it Chakri Mix).
But the most basic, and arguably the most delicious, is Poha Chivda, made with beaten rice / rice flakes. Even within this, there are myriad versions, though a key bifurcation is whether the poha is roasted (which gives it a sharp but soft crunch) or deep fried (which makes it puffy and light-textured).
My mom made the simple, roasted version at home this week because it was apparently my favorite kind when I was little.
So: poha, “roasted” plain in the microwave, then seasoned with spiced oil (turmeric, chilli, curry leaves, asafoetida, cumin, mustard), peanuts, bengal gram (chickpea’s little flavor-packed sibling), and chopped cashews. All mixed together carefully until the seasonings are evenly distributed, and adjusted to taste with salt and sugar. Still to be added: dried coconut slivers (my favorite part - I used to pick them out surreptitiously, leading to eaters after me thinking the coconut had inadvertently been forgotten )
In the US, Indian immigrants in the 60s and 70s adapted this recipe to use any easily available cereal instead of traditional ingredients like rice flakes which weren’t as easily accessible back then. Cereal chivda is different, but also delicious because hits all the familiar notes.