For that crunchy, spicy feeling

Humble papad

For that crunchy, spicy feeling

One of those food items which do not dominate the Indian food platter and yet add to its huge variety is the papadum.

Papad, as it is called in North India, or Appadam as they are known down South, are a traditional delicacy in our country. Every region boasts of its own varieties which can serve as snackers, post-meal digestives or even become part of a traditional curry.

Dheeraj Mangothra, executive chef, Reeve restaurant, informs, “Papad has been had in India since time immemorial. Kings were known to have papad post meal due to its black pepper induced digestive properties. Over the years, every community in India has developed its own types. Today, you can find over 30 varieties of papad in the market.

“Amritsari aloo papads are a popular variation. This papad is a must have across North India during Holi. This is the season when the new crop of potato is harvested and it is an age old method of preserving potatoes. These are made really spicy with the addition of red chilli powder, cumin, asafoetida, garlic, black pepper etc. and then deep fried in oil.”
Loved in equal measure are the Gujarati papadums.

The Gujaratis make a range of papads with different kinds of dals and rice. Dheeraj says, “There are more than 20 kinds of papads made of urad, moong, yellow chana, black chana, chhole etc. Urad dal papad especially makes for great masala papad with the topping of chopped onions, tomatoes, coriander and mango powder.”

Urad dal papad makes for great papad ki sabzi too – a Marwari speciality. Dheeraj says, “The Marwaris also love their meetha papad. Rice papad is had roasted with sweet mango chutney and another rice papad is made with sugar added in the dough itself. When this papad is roasted, the sugar caramelises and gives a wonderful sweet taste.”
In the South, people have jackfruit papad.

Jackfruit is steamed in a pressure cooker, mashed and made into papads. In Kerala, banana and coconut papad are popular. Banana is cut in thin slices, topped with shredded coconut and left to dry in the sun. The advantage with banana and coconut papad is that it can be had raw. There’s no need to fry it.

Of course, sabudana papad is had all over India during the days of fasting. Dheeraj says, “Having sabudana papad during fast is a good idea as it absorbs all the liquid you have while fasting, keeps you full and does not make you feel bloated. These days, you have even potato starch papad and soyabean papad both of which are very tasty.”

“Modern technology has also given rise to machine-made, oil-added microwave papads. So you just put them in a microwave and enjoy a nutritious filler. Completely guilt-free snacking.”

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