November 19, 2004

Nylon Sev

Just what is nylon sev? I assume it’s a regional speciality and not a pair of stockings from the Harrods lingerie department. (Review of The Oberoi-Penguin Celebrity Cookbook, Hindustan Times, 24 February, 2000)
Sev is the familiar crunch fried snack made from gram flour. It can be thick as noodles, or more commonly, thin as vermicelli. These days, with the use of modern sev extruders (yes, these things exist), manufacturers can churn out sev that is finer still. Imagine 'hair type thin namkeen': doesn't that make your mouth drool? Superfine nylon sev is what they're serving in the best Gujarati households these days, along with the cocktail samosas and the macaroni chaat. There was a time when 'disco' was the word tagged on to every novelty food item (remember disco papads and disco papayas?). But now it looks like 'nylon' has taken its place: out there in the khau gallis of India, you can find nylon poha, nylon khaman dhoklas, nylon papdi and doubtless many more such synthetic marvels.

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