Papari Chaat-Semolina Crackers in Yoghurt &Tamarind Sauce (Street Food of India)
Papari is a popular roadside snack all over India, sold by street hawkers and specialized Chaat restaurants, a favourite of both my daughters. It is mouth wateringly delicious and comes under a group of hot and spicy snacks that are collectively known as Chaat/Chat in India. You can see the Chaat Vallahs, the street hawkers on the pavements of any busy shopping street on most evenings. The word chaat is derived from a Hindi word Chatna, which means 'to lick'. Chaat dishes make you lick your plates clean, hence the name. They are so spicy and yummy that just thinking about them makes your mouth water!
Traditionally, chaat is served on throwaway plates or bowls made from leaves of Sal tree, held together with small sticks or twigs, used like paper pins. Banana leaves are also used for this purpose in parts of India where they are abundant. These days, leaf plates and bowls are made by press-moulds in factories. They are sold in big packs, just like paper plates in the West.
Paparies can be bought ready made from most good Indian grocers these days, if you do not have time to make them. You can get a reasonable result/taste by using roughly broken up water biscuits (English flour-and-water biscuit served with cheese, mostly made without fat) in place of paparies.
Serves 4-6 (depends on how much you like it!!
For paparies. You can buy these ready made from most good Indian grocers in UK. They are easily available these days from most Indian grocers.
1 cup fine semolina (you can use plain flour or maida)
A pinch of baking powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tbsp. oil
Luke warm water to make dough
Oil for deep frying
Wooden fork or chopsticks for turning gole-gappas over
2-3 cups natural yoghurt or dahi
Salt to taste*
1 large potato, boiled/microwave cooked, peeled and chopped or broken into small pieces
1 tbsp. finely chopped green chillies (optional)
1 medium onion, finely chopped (optional)
A handful of boiled chickpeas (optional). Tinned ones can be used.
1/2 cup Green Mango Chutney
2-3 tsp. cumin seeds, dry roasted and coarsely ground*
1-2 tsp chilli powder*
1 tbsp. fine besan sev. You can buy these ready made from and Indian shop.
*These ingredients can be kept in small bowls on the table for people to help themselves or added to yoghurt, as shown in pictures. It is quite nice to serve all ingredients separately and let the people help themselves according to their own taste.
Place all papari ingredients in a bowl and make a firm dough. You can make dough in a food processor. Keep aside for 30 minutes or so.
Break dough into golf size balls.
Roll each ball into thin circles. Prick all over with fork or knife.
Heat oil. It should not be smoking hot, otherwise papari will not get crisp, they will be soft like poories. It has reached the right temperature, if a test papari sizzles slowly and rises to the surface.
Take one round at a time and cut into small rounds, small enough to be eaten in one mouthful, using a pastry cutter or a tiny katori. I would make them approximately 1inch in diameter. Prick them with a fork in places, this will stop them from ballooning and becoming soft.
Drop them in oil in small batches and fry slowly until light golden brown and crisp. Drain oil and keep aside. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.
Beat yoghurt and salt lightly, adding milk if necessary. It should be of custard like consistency.
Spread paparies on a quarter/side plate.
Sprinkle 1 tbsp. chopped potatoes, green chillies and onions if used, on top.
Drizzle 2-3 tbsp. beaten yoghurt over this mix.
Sprinkle a little salt, roast cumin, chilli powder and a tablespoon of sev (and onions if used) on top.
Spoon 1 tbsp. tamarind and green chutney on top.
Serve immediately. Do not let it stand, the papries will go soggy.
Also see Chaat Selection
I often do not make green chutney for this dish, because my husband does not like it. But it does enhance the taste for most people.