Appetizers/Snacks · Brunch

Papri Chaat

As she poured melted dalda (shortening) through the metal beaker spout over the flour mix, her wrinkly fingers & eyes from behind the glasses worked in unison. She knew how to ration every drop of flowing oil to get the right texture of her papris to a flaky wafer. Half teaspoon more and you overdo it, one teaspoon less and you have missed the ratios for sure.I have always know indian pastry doughs made by badi mummy (grandmom) as something which were either done perfect or not done at all.

I still shy away from measuring cups & spoons when making doughs, its something I do with pure impulse & feeling. The moment I start measuring,I start to doubt my dough handling skills. There is no fun left in it anymore. A sort of nervousness takes over.Doing it for years now, I now have a feel of just how grainy the oil moistened flour should feel & can decipher what a difference half a teaspoon here & there can make. At the same time it intimidates me how foolproof this indian way of cooking is. Imperfect yet classy in its own way.

Las Vegas is quite a sob story when it comes to chaat. The less I talk about what they serve at indian restaurants in here, the better.I made papri chaat last week to salvage our month long cravings.From halal food stalls in Times Square & food trucks in LA to Toofani chaat corners in Allahabad & kathi roll vendors in Delhi, me & P  share an endless love. Creative, delicious, affordable, addictive, filling ..I fall short of adjectives to describe the street food experience. Its pure joy, a soul satisfying, deep fried haven for us. Whenever I make it at home, I choose to overlook healthy options, its like stealing the soul of chaat – I feel strongly about it.

Chaat’ is a generic word used for savory delicacies served at roadside stalls in India.The best part about indian street food is that it can be made to please all tastebuds- you decide how spicy, tangy, salty or hot you want it. Papri or Papdi are deep fried,wafer like salted discs which are served with a “to taste”  assortment of chickpeas or dried peas, hari (green) & imli (tamarind) chutneys,chopped /grated vegetables, powdered spices & yogurt. Its messy, crumbly, tangy, crunchy..oh so good!


Papri/Papdi  (Yields about 40-50 papris)

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sooji (semolina)
  • 1/4 cup atta (all-purpose flour)
  • 1/2 tsp ajwain (carrom seeds)
  • 3/4 tsp fine salt
  • 2-3 tbsp canola/vegetable oil (see method )
  • 1/3 cup+1 tbsp luke warm water (see method)
  • Oil for frying
Note : Ajwain or Carrom Seeds aid in digestion & add a typical aroma & taste to the dough.
You can skip them if you dont have them & still make the papris.
Assembling a Papri Chaat Platter to Serve 2 :-
  • 12-15 papris 
  • 1/4 cup boiled Chickpeas
  • 1 small potatoes, boiled , peeled & cubed
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt whisked with 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp Imli (Tamarind) Chutney
  • 2 tbsp Hari (Green) Chutney
  • Chopped Onion, cilantro (or veggies of choice)
  • 1/4 tsp Kala Namak (black salt, available at indian stores)
  • 1/4 tsp Chaat Masala (available at indian stores)
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • Besan Sev (Chickpea flour snack, available at indian stores, optional)


Making Papris

In a bowl, mix together the flours, ajwain & salt. Start with 2 tbsp of oil  and start working it into the mixture. Keep on adding oil a teaspoon at a time & working it into the flour till you are just able to form a firm ball of the flour between your fingers.

Next, slowly add the water (1/4 cup to start with) and start kneading the dough. We are looking for a firm dough here (not soft & pliable).Knead the dough on a hard surface for about 3-4 minutes.Do not over knead.When just kneaded,the dough will appear tight & hard but don’t worry, after resting it will be okay.

Transfer the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp cloth & let rest for at least 20 minutes. (do not skip this step)

Divide the rested dough into about 3 equal parts. Take one part and roll it into a thin sheet.The sheet should be rolled as thin as a cotton cloth. Once rolled, if you want you can prick the sheet with a fork to prevent puffing while frying. I prefer papris slightly puffed so I do not prick. Use a round cookie cutter or a jar lid to cut into round shapes. Transfer the rounds to a plate & place covered with damp cloth till you are about to fry. Gather the remaining dough & repeat rolling & cutting till whole of the dough is exhausted.  Repeat the same for all portions of the dough.

Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat. The quantity of oil used should be enough to cover the papris completely while they fry. To check the temperature of oil, pinch a little dough & tip it into the heating oil. The dough should sizzle to the top slowly without changing color. If it sizzles immediately, reduce the heat & let the oil temperature come down.

Tip in the cut papris into the heated oil, few at a time. Do not overcrowd or stack the papris in the frying pan. Fry the papris on medium-low heat until both sides are golden brown (about 3-5 minites). Papris should be fried at medium- low heat else they will become soft after cooling.

Remove browned papris with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up excess oil.Fry all the papris in batches.

Cool completely & immediately store in an air tight container for up to 4 weeks.

For assembling chaat  :-

Layer the papris in a plate. You can crush them into bite size pieces if you want or make individual servings. Top with boiled chickpeas & potatoes.Drizzle with yogurt, chutneys & chopped onions. Sprinkle kala namak, chaat masala, roasted cumin powder & red pepper flakes if using. Top up with chopped cilantro & sev. Serve immediately.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by.

51 thoughts on “Papri Chaat

  1. How utterly beautiful your chaat looks. I’m sure it tastes as good too. I am glad I don’t have to search too far for chaat cravings here.
    I’m so glad Sinfully Spicy is back in action Tanvi 🙂

  2. You are so right about the perfect texture….noticed that you have not pricked the papdis…Such a wonderful presentation that feel like having it right now. Table is set for me only 😀

    Hamaree Rasoi

    1. Thanks Deepa. I like my papris puffy so that the toppings can go inside. Thats why I choose not to prick the rolled dough.

  3. the first and the third pics are making me want to make papdis at home. i usually make them at home.

    but it is so hot here in india, that i have reduced making fried snacks. not because of health reasons, but coz standing and frying papdis or samosas in the heat makes the kitchen hot as well as me hot 😉

  4. I love watching cooks like your Grandmother in action…they have a real connection with the food they’re making. It’s magic to watch. Beautiful post, Tanvi!

  5. Love papri chat and even though making it at home can be so painful .. i still love the fun in the process. These looks so perfect .. and I love the gorgeous green color of the chutney 🙂

  6. Never made or tasted papri before, but now you’ve definitely got me craving it, Tanvi! That plate is so colorful and sounds beyond delicious. 🙂

  7. I loved reading about your grandma Tanvi. 🙂 You make everything so easy and perfect, not to mention your amazing photography!

  8. Beautiful!!!
    God Tanvi you just took me back to my childhood once again….. I have eaten this everyday, yes everyday with same passion and greed as it was my 1st time…
    Beautiful clicks….

  9. i just made these this morning and they are AMAZING! i was always under the assumption that papri is hard to make, but your recipe is totally fool-proof! thank you sooo much!

  10. I’ve been wanting to blog papri chat for a while – love the way you did it. And homemade papri – you just took it to a whole other level!

  11. I actually use a pasta mater to roll out the dough, saves sooo much elbow workout, and also you get an even thickness!
    Iff you are not too fussy about the shape, just cut them into bite size squares, soo easy!

    1. Thats a very neat idea Kiran. I dont own a pasta maker but I can so visualize how perfect papris would come out if I use that. Thanks

  12. I actually use a pasta maker
    r to roll out the dough, saves sooo much elbow workout, and also you get an even thickness!
    Iff you are not too fussy about the shape, just cut them into bite size squares, soo easy!

  13. Hi! Great blog. Did want to let you know though that on your recipe list page, this recipe is tagged as vegan, however, the recipe contains yogurt, which makes this recipe non-vegan 🙂 Anything that is an animal product, including dairy is considered non-vegan.

    1. ah. thank you. It must be some confusion.I just checked the tags and I haven’t tagged it ‘vegan’. Fail to understand why its returning such a search result. I clearly understand what vegan is. Thanks for pointing out, will try to fix this bug.

  14. I love, love, love your blog and I’ve been a frequent follower of your posts. Thanks so much for sharing especially this particular recipe that takes me back instantly, and its hard to parallel this experience outside of India, otherwise. I made great papdis the first time (I think by fluke ;)) but the second time around they failed and softened too soon. I re-read your recipe and followed every word the third time, and I can’t be more grateful for the amount of detail you’ve put in to explain it. It came out perfect and I think I’m all set for the next time too 😉 Thanks so much again for sharing!

    1. Yay!! Thank you. Indian cooking relies on lot of apoeoximations so I guess experience makes you are better cook with time 🙂

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