Fahim tells me that, when we lived in our first house, we would buy these packages of masala papadam and I would heat them up in the microwave, which, by the way, is not the proper way to prepare papadam, but apparently we liked them that much.
I gotta be honest with you – I don’t recall that even a single little bit.
But my memory is bad. 😀
So one day, we bought a pack. These are masala papadam – there are different types, made from different flours, with seasonings or not. These ones are made with oorid flour, pepper, cumin seed, salt, and sodium bicarbonate. When I did a search on oorid flour to find out what, exactly, it was, it appeared that its from a type of split pea or dal, and is sometimes called urid dal, urad dal, or split undu, and is made from dried black urid lentils.
I wasn’t entirely sure of the best way to properly cook them up, so I waited until Fahim’s mom was in town and asked her. She kindly provided a demonstration. 🙂
Perhaps an explanation of papadam is in order. Papadam are very thin dry discs of dough. To cook up, they’re usually cut or broken into quarters, then fried. Upon frying, they puff up a bit, with some types puffing up more than others. Papadam are frequently sold with rice and curry packets here. The place where we get our rice and curry packets uses a different type of papadam that puffs up a lot more, frequently leaving a huge air pocket in the middle. They’re crunchy crispy and provide a contrast to the rice and curries.
To prepare the papadam, cut or fold the papadam so it breaks off into four quarters. One at a time, insert a quarter into a shallow amount of hot oil – Fahim’s mom put about an inch of oil into the pan. It’ll make all sorts of happy noises while it puffs and curls and frolics in the oil. Make sure all of it is immersed, then quickly remove when it’s a very light golden brown. Cook it too long and it can taste bitter. Drain on paper towels or the like.
Given that papadam are so easily available here, and I’m lousy at rolling anything out thin and keeping it intact, it’s quite likely that I won’t try making these from scratch, although I might just change my mind at some point. We’ll see. 🙂