As she poured melted daldax(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. I made papri chaat last week to salvage our month long cravings.Creative, delicious, affordable, addictive, filling ..I fall short of adjectives to describe indian 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!
For Homemade Papri (Skip if using Store Bought Papri)
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon fine semolina
- ¼ cup atta whole wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon ajwain
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 7-8 tablespoon water luke warm
- Oil for deep frying
For Papri Chaat (Serves 2)
- ½ cup yogurt
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon bhuna jeera roasted cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon kala namak indian black salt
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder hot, adjust to taste
- 12-15 papris
- ⅓ cup boiled chickpeas
- 1 small potato boiled, peeled 7 cubed
- 2 tablespoon tamarind chutney adjust to taste
- 2 tablespoon green chutney adjust to taste
- 1 teaspoon chaat masala
- 2 tablespoon sev
- Chopped green chilies & cilantro
Make Papri (Skip this step if using store bought papri)
- In a large bowl, mix together the 3 kinds of flours, ajwain & salt.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil and start working it into the mixture. Keep on adding oil a teaspoon at a time after it & working it into the flour till you are just able to form a firm ball of the flour using your palm & finger.This process is called checking "moan ".
- Next, slowly add the water (¼ 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 back to the bowl, cover with a damp cloth & let rest for at least 20 minutes. (do not skip resting)
- 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 muslin cloth.
- Once rolled, prick the rolled dough all over with a fork to prevent puffing while frying. 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 entire dough.
- Heat 2-3 cup 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.
- Add the cut papris into the heated oil, few at a time. Do not overcrowd 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 papri in similar way in batches.
- Cool completely & immediately store in an air tight container for up to 4 weeks.
To Make Papri Chaat
- In a small bowl, whisk yogurt with sugar, red chili powder, alt, cumin powder and kala namak.
- Place 6-7 papris in a plate. You can crush them into bite size pieces if you want.
- Top with boiled chickpeas & potatoes.Drizzle with yogurt, chutneys & chopped onions. Sprinkle chaat masala. Top up with chopped cilantro, green chilies and sev. Serve immediately.