Thursday, January 2, 2014

Achaari Papdi

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside."
~Mark Twain

Well, that's what makes our celebrations such a success...we eat what we want, what we like, what family traditions dole out on the table...and moan at leisure when the season has departed leaving behind the 'holiday' pounds! This year at Christmas, for many reasons which I shall not elaborate and subject you to tedious reading, I couldn't indulge in elaborate preparations. However, years of keeping the family tradition going wouldn't allow me to do nothing in the kitchen! I am a creature of habit (mostly good) and a sucker for family traditions especially at Christmas, so the 'pakwan' was made albeit in smaller quantities, and in many batches over the days. There was the usual Kala namak-Kali mirch Matar, Sweet Sesame diamond cuts, Ajwain Pare, Keema Samosas, Gujiyas, Christmas cake and instead of plain papris with achaar on the side,  I combined the two to make Achaari Papdi. I like to think my achaari papdis are a healthier snack than the usual mathis, but that's just MHO, not so modestly made!! But honestly they are lighter and go so well with tea!


Atta (whole wheat flour).....................................4, standard measuring cups
All purpose flour (maida)...................................1,       "               "         cup
Semolina (sooji)..................................................1,       "               "           "
Red chilli pwdr acc to taste
Oil for moyn
Oil for frying
Salt to taste
Water to make a dough
Mango pickle..........................................2 1/2 - 3 tbsps. or acc to taste
Chilli Lemon pickle.............................................1 1/2 - 2 tbsps. or acc to taste

Sift all the flour. Add salt. Remember that pickle has a lot of salt. So even if you aren't using too much pickle masala, it's good to keep that in mind. Make a well in the centre and pour in about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of oil. Depends on the size of cup measure you are using. Rub the oil into the flour using your finger tips. Rub it well so that the flour looks 'damp' and a bit like fresh bread crumbs.
Take out the required amount of mango pickle masala. A couple of mango pieces are fine. Make sure you remove the hard 'haddi,' the tough outer skin of the seed which is often attached to the mango slices.
Add the required amount of chilli lemon pickle masala. A piece or two of lemon are also good to use. Pick out the lemon seeds from the masala, if any.
Now blitz the pickle masalas together twice or thrice to chop up the mango and lemon pieces into tinier bits and make the masala into a paste that can be kneaded into the flour.
Mix it well into the flour before you add water.
Adding a little water at a time, knead the flour into a stiff dough. Knead with the heel of the palm. When done, cover and  let it stand for 10-15 minutes.

Now take out a generous ball of dough. Roll it between the palms to smoothen it.
Flour the surface you are going to use to roll out the dough with some dry maida (all purpose flour) and roll out a big circle of about 2 millimetre thickness. Now I'm not too sure about the thickness gauge, just make sure it's not paper thin and not thick. I hope you get that right!
Cut out circles of the desired size. You could use any round thing with a hard edge, if you don't have a cookie cutter. I used a bright pink, hard plastic glass, if that's any consolation! With a fork punch in some holes in any which pattern you fancy. Punching holes through and through ensures they don't puff up like balls when fried.

Roll out in batches of 30-40 at a time, or more if you want to. Make sure the bottom of each papdi is lightly floured so that they don't stick to each other when you stack them. Also make sure the lot is covered with a dry cloth kitchen duster or towel as they wait to be fried.
Heat oil in a deep pan or a kadhai. Drop in the papdis without overcrowding. Keep turning them so that they fry evenly. Remove and place on absorbent kitchen towels to drain out excess oil. When cooled, store in an airtight container.

We enjoyed our achaari papdis with tea, with any drink in fact: hot, cold, and soft! Hope you do too.


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