Hi folks !! I am sure many of you must be wondering where did Divine Spice box disappear all of January ? I know i have been MIA lately but it was all for a very good reason. I was taking some time off and rejuvenating myself in India. Now i am back, all charged up and ready to share some of my fun experiences from my recent vacation to India. Lets read 🙂
The year 2016 kick started with me spending some quality time with family at home in India. It was my sister’s wedding and i wanted to take part in all possible preparations. Indian weddings are fun !! Its all about huge family gatherings, music, dance, dazzling jewellery, snazzy clothes, tantalizing spicy food, sugar rush from all the crazy sweets and what not. I can say without an ounce of doubt that this trip was the most fun i have had in a vacation ever !! Now that i am back in the USA, i am going to take some sweet time to get out of the vacation mode and get back in my Californian shoe 😛
Now, that i am back and away from all the Indian food goodness, what is the first thought in my mind? Indian food offcourse ! My mom had made some amazing Namak Paras (Indian name for savory crackers. Namak = salt ) for me while i stayed with them and i was missing them to core. Although i stuffed myself with them in India, i really wanted to make some for myself and i did just that 😛 Namak Paras are deep fried savory goodness which is enjoyed with chai. For my crackers, i took inspiration from another Indian dish called Theplas (Gujarati style flat breads) which is made using a mix of different flours and fenugreek. So, lets not wait longer and jump onto the recipe straight away.
Baked Namak Paras
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup gram flour/ besan
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp red chili powder (or as per taste)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp nigella seeds
- 1 tsp carrom seeds
- 1/2 cup oil/ clarified butter (ghee)
- 1 cup water (or as needed to make a firm dough)
- 1/2 cup dried fenugreek leaves
- Begin with mixing the flours in a bowl. Add in the spices, fenugreek leaves and oil/ghee and using your hands, mix together till the flour starts to resemble bread crumbs.
- Now, slowly start adding in the water and kneading into a dough. The dough should be firm, not too soft.
- Once the dough is ready, cover it with a damp cloth and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
- Once the dough has rested enough, divide the dough into 4-5 parts and roll it out into a circle of 3-4 mm thickness. Using a knife, cut into diamonds and then with a fork, poke holes into the dough diamonds. Poking holes prevents the crackers from fluffing up upon baking/frying and helps in even cooking.
You can either Fry the namak paras (which is the traditional way) or can take a slightly healthier route and bake these. Either ways, the result is crunchy crackers, so choose your own style. If you decide to bake, like i did mine, pre-heat the oven at 350F till ready.
For fried Namak Paras
Take a frying pan and add atleast 1 inch of oil into it to ensure that the crackers can fry easily without touching the base of the pan. Heat the oil to high. Once hot, add in one cracker to check the temperature, if the cracker comes on the surface of the oil as soon as you put it in the oil, the oil is hot enough. If it sinks, the oil is not hot enough to begin the frying.
Once the oil is hot, fry small batches at a time and cook on medium flame so that the paras get cooked while frying and not brown up really fast. Each batch should take about 5-7 minutes.
For Baked Namak Paras
Pre-heat the oven at 375 F till ready. Take a baking tray and grease it. Now, place the diamond crackers on the tray and keep a little space between the pieces as the crackers will expand a little upon baking. Bake each side of the crackers for 7-10 minutes * on each side or till crunchy.
*Keep an eye on the crackers while baking because they tend to brown up really fast and can burn.
So, whats your take? Don they look outright awesome !! These crackers surely brought back some Indian trip memories with it and a big smile on my face 🙂 I love these crunchy little treats to core. The best part is that savory crackers are like blank canvases… add in your own flour mix and spice spins and these crackers and make your own favorites. I love nigella seeds and fenugreek combination in this one and the gram flour brings in a very interesting nutty flavour these crackers. Try these out for ourself and discover he magic of Indian spices in this one.