Namkeen Parae-Savoury Pastry Squares/Diamonds
Namkeen paras are diamond or square shaped, small savoury pastries pieces, almost like little biscuits. The word 'namkeen' means savoury and 'para' means a fragment or a piece or a square. They are a popular, north Indian snack, relatively easy to make. You can serve them with tea/coffee or with drinks.
250 gm. plain white flour or maida
250-300 gm. clarified butter or ghee or cooking oil
Water to make dough
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. carom seeds or ajwain
Oil for deep frying
Place flour, ghee, salt and carom seeds in a bowl and make a stiff dough by adding water slowly. Knead it well. Dough can be made quickly in a food processor. Keep it covered with a moist cloth for 10 minutes or so.
Break dough to make cricket ball size balls.
Roll one ball out at a time, to a thickness of 1/2 centimetres. You may need to use a little oil to grease the surface and your rolling pin.
Using a knife or a pizza cutter, make linear and parallel cuts across the entire length of the rolled out pastry, roughly 2 centimetre apart, first one way and than in diagonally opposite direction, cutting across the previous cuts. You will now have small, diamond shaped pieces of pastry. Lift them off the surface using a flat spatula. Keep covered with a moist cloth.
Heat oil in a wok or karahi. It should not be smoking hot. The pastry should cook slowly or it will not get crisp. The best way to check if the oil is hot enough is to drop one piece of pastry into the wok. If it is ready, the pastry will sizzle and rise to the top slowly. Fry until light brown and crisp. You can roll out the next batch, while the previous one is frying.
Repeat the same process until all the dough has been used.
Cool completely and store in an airtight tin or box.
Serve with tea or coffee.