Mamta's Kitchen

How to Make Popodoms?

Dal Papad, How to make Them?

Reeta Kumar

Papar/Papad, as they are known to Indians, are an important part of any Indian meal. There are many varieties, made from different dals, potatoes, rice, sago and so on. Dal ones can have either moong dal (green gram) or urad dal (black gram) or a mix of both, the most popular combination. There are many flavours, like red chilli, black pepper, cumin, coriander, green chilli, mixed spices, methi (fenugreek), coriander leaves and many more. Below is the basic recipe, which you can change to suit your taste. But do note that making papads is really very, very hard work, not within everyones capability. There is a saying in India for doing extremely hard work, “tum ko papad belne parenge”, meaning “you will have to make papads”. Not many people make them at home these days, they are bought in packets, ready to cook.

Most Indians eat them dry roasted. That is why, good restaurants serve them roasted. In UK, most restaurants serve them deep fried, not the best way to eat them in my opinion. In old days, they were roasted on charcoal, with the help of a tong (chimta), by turning them over quickly and constantly, by flicking the wrist back an forth. Now a days, they are cooked directly on gas flame. They can also be cooked under a grill or even a toaster. They can be cooked in microwave, but don't taste as good. They burn very quickly, so you must keep and eye on them constantly and not leave them for one minute. If you do, you will have a kitchen full of smoke for your punishment! For your first attempt, try making them with half the amount given here. Read full instructions first. The numbers will depend on the size.

Ingredients

  • 500 gm. urad, skinless

  • 500 gm. moong dal, skinless

  • 1-2 tsp. red chillies, coarsely ground ones are better. Adjust to taste.

  • 1-2 tsp. black pepper, coarsely cracked. Adjust to taste.

  • 250 gm. salt

  • 1 tbs. cumin seeds

  • 1 tsp. soda bicarbonate (cooking soda)

  • Warm water to make dough

  • 75-100 ml. mustard oil (approximately), to prepare dough for rolling

Instructions

  1. Grind the dals to very thin powder, pass through a thin strainer. It should be fine and smooth like flour.

  2. Place all ingredients, except water and oil, in a bowl and make an extremely stiff dough with warm water, adding very little water at a time. You may be able to do this better in a food processor. The dough has to be really, really stiff/firm, not pliable.

  3. Next, you have to incorporate the oil in this hard dough. You can add a teaspoon at a time, in the food processor, blending it with the dough each time, until the dough is just soft enough to roll. It must still be quite firm, nothing like a chapatti or poori dough. In India, they do it in a machine that looks like a meat mincer. The dough is passed through it, with a little bits of oil poured over it as it goes.

  4. Keep the dough covered with a cloth.

  5. Break into small pieces and make balls, about 1/2 or 3/4 inch in diameter.

  6. Roll them out very thin*, almost like paper. In order to be able to do this, your dough has to be very firm, otherwise it sticks to the surface.

  7. Spread out on a cloth and leave for a couple of hours. They will dry fairly quickly.

  8. Stack them and store in airtight, plastic bags, in packs of 10/15/20, as per your need.

Notes

  • *There are special rolling pins for making Papdoms, they are very slender, with tapering handles. This makes rolling stiff dough easier.

  • When we were children, our mother used to make papars once a year. We used to live in a Marwari sugar factory campus, where all Marwari women (women of Marwar or Rajasthan) made their own papars. They did this as a communal group. Each home had a designated papar making day, when the hostess made the dough and invited all other women of the campus. All turned up with their own favourite rolling pin. The entire 5-10 kg. dough was rolled out in one afternoon. This was followed by tea and snacks. I remember rolling out a few not so perfect papars, along with my sisters Abha and mamta.

  • If you visit Rajasthan or Gujrat in India, you may be able to visit a papar making factory/commune.

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