Years ago, in the mid 90’s, I think, one of the big energy bar makers made a line of crispy rice and nut bars in lots of flavors, including a couple of savory ones. I was head-over-heels in love with the curry flavor. There was a salsa flavor that I really liked too. Alas, the savory flavors must have been a little too unusual for most people, because they were discontinued after a couple of years. I’ve been wanting to make a homemade version ever since. I just needed a good base recipe to work with.
On Choosing Raw, Gena published her No Bake Sweet and Savory Snack Bars with Chia Seeds, Almonds, and Rice that was exactly what I was looking for. I tweaked the spices a bit to fit my taste, replaced the sunflower seeds with pepitas (because that’s what I had on hand) and they were delicious! I couldn’t get them to hold together, though. Gena used a dehydrator, and I don’t have one of those, nor am I in the market for one. My bars basically turned into trail mix.
I started thinking about similar things I’ve made, and I remembered the Vegan Crispy Rice Squares I made a while ago, (originally from Dreena Burton). I borrowed some ideas from those, especially using agar. They were a lot sturdier! They’re still delicate, though, so I have a whole list of things I want to try to make them hold together better. I also have ideas for about seven more flavors, so I plan to have some fun with these. How do soy-sesame-ginger snack bars sound? How about chipotle-chocolate? Garam masala?
Curry Crispy Rice-Nut Snack Bars
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup cashew butter
1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder (mild)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
3/4 teaspoon agar flakes
2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup pepitas
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons ground flax seed, optional
Oil an 8 x 8-inch pan and set aside. In a large, heavy sauce pan, combine maple syrup, cashew butter, curry powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and salt. Stir over low heat until cashew butter is melted. Sprinkle agar flakes on top, turn the heat down to the lowest setting, and stir continuously until agar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.
Add cereal, almonds, pepitas, chia seeds, and flax seed, using. Stir until well-combined. Transfer to the pan and press mixture firmly into the pan with the back of a spoon. Cover and set aside to cool for a couple of hours.
When cool, turn the block out onto a cutting board. Use a long, serrated knife to cut it into 8 bars.