We all have a weakness for certain snacks that we enjoy more than others, and this papdi, golden-brown spiced crackers, is one such snack for me.
Usually made with all-purpose flour, here I have added some chapati flour for nuttiness and extra texture (though you can use whole-wheat flour instead). I knead the dough with spices—like ajwain, chaat masala, and chile powder—and ghee, which is key for creating a slight crumb in the papdi.
Then I roll out the dough, form it into thin crackers, and it's straight to the oven until they're crispy and golden. And while the papdi are there, you can whiz up a tangy coriander–shallot chutney—a take on the classic coriander–mint chutney with a slight kick. It's the easiest dip you can make with the punchiest of flavors. Fresh coriander, mint, and shallots go in, and get blitzed up perfectly in a blender or food processor, hitting outrageously sour, spicy, and fresh notes.
Not only are they crispy and utterly delicious, especially with the chutney, these seemingly simple looking crackers are packed with flavor and can be served in many different ways: with several types of chutney, dips, or even hummus; with cubed boiled potatoes and a drizzle of coriander chutney on top; with yogurt, tamarind chutney, and sev, crispy deep-fried chickpea-flour confetti. My mum always has a tin of these papdi in her kitchen, and I have found myself following in her footsteps, much to the delight of my family. Try them and you might start doing the same. —Chetna Makan
1 hour 10 minutes
about 32 papdi
Baked masala papdi
(1 cup) all-purpose flour
(1/4 cup) chapati flour (alternatively, you can use whole-wheat flour)
chile powder (unsalted; ancho chile or similar)
carom seeds (ajwain), or caraway seeds
(1/3 cup) water
Coriander & shallot chutney
(1 cup) coriander leaves and stems, washed and dried well
(1 cup) mint leaves, washed and dried well
Place the flours in a bowl and add all the spices to it. Mix it all up with a spoon then add the ghee. Rub the ghee into the spiced flour until the texture resembles bread crumbs, then add the water, a few tablespoons at a time, until the mixture comes together (you might not need all of the water, so adding it a little at a time is key).
Bring the mixture all together into a tight dough and knead on a clean surface for a minute, then cover and let it rest for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375°F (180°C) and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 2 big chunks and each chunk into 16 small balls. Roll each ball into circle of about 3 inches in diameter, and about 1/8-inch thick. Place the papdi on the trays and bake for 16 to 20 minutes until crispy, golden, and toasty-smelling (start checking on them at around 16 minutes, as they can go from "toasty" to "burnt" very quickly).
Coriander & shallot chutney
Combine all the ingredients in a small food processor or blender and blitz it to a paste. Taste the chutney in case you need a bit more lemon or salt, then serve fresh.
In an airtight container in the fridge, this will keep for up to a week.