This is the most popular snack in my house. It used to be my favourite snack growing up and now it’s my kids’ favourite, too. My mum would always keep a box of papdi in the cupboard and refill it as soon as it was empty. I make them often but not as often as she did, as I find they disappear faster than I can make them. No one can ever have just one.
100g (3½oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tablespoon kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon carom seeds
¼ teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon chilli powder
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon sunflower oil, plus extra for deep-frying
about 45ml (3 tablespoons) water
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the 1 tablespoon of oil and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Then gradually add just enough of the water, or a little more if needed, to bring the mixture together into a soft dough. Cover and let it rest for 5 minutes.
Divide the dough into 4 portions. Roll out each portion on a lightly floured work surface into a thin sheet about 15–18cm (6–7 inches) square. Using a sharp knife, cut the sheet into strips about 2.5cm (1 inch) wide.
Heat enough oil for deep-frying in a deep-fat fryer or deep, heavy-based pan (ensuring the pan is no more than one-third full) to about 170°C (340°F). Line a plate with kitchen paper.
Deep-fry the pastry strips, in batches, for a few seconds, then turn over and cook until golden. Transfer to the paper-lined plate to absorb the excess oil and cool while you fry the remaining pastry strips. They will crisp up as they cool down.
The Masala Pastry will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Chetna’s 30 Minute Indian by Chetna Makan, Mitchell Beazley 2021
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