There really doesn't exist such a word as 'michcher' . Its simply the quirky pronunciation of the word 'MIXTURE' among some traditional South Indian Households. Variations of the same snack mix are called Chivda around the rest of India, but we South Indians steadfastly stick to the anglicized 'Michcher'. And even when the correct spelling stares me in the face, the quirkier version prevails.
When the Diwali season rolled in ( ~ Oct - Nov), depending upon the traditional Hindu Calendar) kitchens would waft with the aroma of deep fried savories & the addictive smell of caramelized sugar from all the sweet confections that would be made at home. one of the staples at home was a 'Michcher' . Amma would spread sheets of newspaper on the kitchen floor and would ask me to help out in crushing various chickpea flour savories into a heady mix that was redolent of curry leaves & toasted mustard. The entire mountain of the mix would then be stored away in large brass containers specially pulled down from the attic, and when Diwali eve rolled around, it would be emptied as they were doled out into portions to be shared with the neighbors.
A traditional 'Michcher' is exactly what it means, a mix of a variety of different deep fried savories made from Chickpea flour, peanuts, cashews, raisins and pieces of potato & plantain chips. Yes, each & every component is deep fried. The flavoring is enhanced by heady notes of curry leaves & asafetida.
My go to version is a baked version, incorporating classic elements of my American home such as cranberries, oats and potato chips, but the spirit remains, of happy days, hanging out lights , new clothes, gather for dinner with friends.. new traditions combining the best of both worlds. —Panfusine
~ 5 cups
unsweetened puffed brown rice cereal
raw pumpkin seeds
chopped candied ginger
chopped sweetened cranberries
Purple potato chips broken into small pieces
Line 2 cookie sheets with Aluminum foil. Preheat oven to 225 F.
Combine the puffed rice, oats, sweetened dried cranberries, ginger, pumpkin seeds and almonds in a large bowl.
Heat the oil in a cast iron pan. once it begins to shimmer, add the mustard seeds. Once they've 'popped, add the cumin seeds. (Cumin fries much faster than mustard and thats why I add it after the mustard). Once the cumin seeds 'split', lower the heat and add the curry leaves. Stand back since they tend to sizzle and spatter oil around, thanks to the inherent moisture. Turn off the gas or remove the pan from the heat and then add the cayenne, salt and asafetida. Last, add the Molasses (it helps to use a spoon coated with oil, to ensure that all the molasses just drips off the spoon without sticking).
Pour out the mixture into the center of the bowl with the other ingredients. Fold gently to coat evenly.
Distribute the mix evenly between the two baking sheets into a thin uniform layer.
Place into oven and bake for 20 minutes, making sure to stir the mix every 10 minutes. At the end of the 20 minutes, increase the heat to 250 F and bake for 10 minutes more. This ensures that the almond slivers get nice and crunchy. remove the trays from the oven and allow to cool completely. Crush the potato chips lightly and blend into the mix. Store in an airtight container once cooled completely.