Thursday, August 13, 2015

Namak Paray ~ Fried Crispy Salty Savory!

One of the lovely memories I have of my Nani (grandma) is her cooking. Before she moved in with us she used to live separately in her own house about an hour's drive away. I can't recall if it was every weekend or according to some other schedule but mama used to take us all to meet Nani often. These visits to 'Nani ka ghar' (Nani's house) were nothing but special. There was the excitement of meeting Nani and all my uncles who lived with her for a day full of some serious continuous fun. It was sheer awesomeness! The highlight for this food-loving kid was the food. Nani was exceptionally great at cooking; she had so much taste in her hands, her food was magic!

The memory is still fresh in my mind when we'd used to arrive at nani ka ghar and she'd be ready to greet us with lots of love. She always went straight to the kitchen next and was back before anybody even noticed. In a jiffy, she'd conjure these delicious savory snacks called 'Namak Paray'. My love for namak paray began thanks to Nani. Her snacks were obviously incomparably delicious! She also made 'Shakkar Paaray' which was basically a sweet version of the same snacks alongside. I couldn't decide, nor can to this day, which ones I liked more than the other.

When nani passed away I decided I wanted to remember her each year by making the same Namak Paray she did for me in her healthy days. When I tried for the first time I was surprised how she did it so quickly because the kneading, rolling, cutting, and frying took me some time. Even though these snacks were still pretty easy and quick to make I couldn't understand how she barely took time frying these fresh each time we visited. To my delight, the namak paray turned out to be delicious. They may not have had the Nani touch of a grandma's love for a foodie grandchild, but they were tasty and a treat to eat! Each year I remember Nani on the day she left me forever by making Namak Paray. The crunch and salt combine to deliver a mouthwatering savory snack which can be made using both all-purpose or whole-wheat flour. The version I make uses whole-wheat flour!

Ingredients

  • Whole Wheat Flour - 2 cups (All-purpose flour can also be used)
  • Ajwain (Oregano or Carom seeds*) - 1/2 tsp.
  • Cumin Seeds (Zeera) - 1 tbsp.
  • Salt - 1 tsp.
  • Oil - 5 to 6 tbsp.
  • Water - 1/2 cup

* In Urdu/Hindi both carom seeds and oregano are called Ajwain. I use Oregano in my recipe but a quick Google search also had many other people using Carom seeds. The difference is one being the leaves part and the other being the seeds part. You can choose to use carom seeds, however I have never used them so I can't really say much!

Method:


Sift the flour in a large bowl. I prefer using whole wheat because we avoid all-purpose on an everyday basis at home. However, I have also used all-purpose flour in the same recipe and there is no difference at all. So they can both be used interchangeably.

Measure and add the Ajwain*, salt, cumin seeds (zeera), and the oil.

Using your fingers mix up the mixture a little bit so that the oil coats all the flour before you begin kneading.

Continue kneading until a dough forms. Then divide the dough into two or more equal parts and transfer to a flat surface for rolling and cutting. Dividing the dough into smaller portions makes rolling out easier. Keep the remaining dough covered in a bowl or under plastic wrap to avoid drying out while you roll, cut, and fry.

Just did some Nani remembering while I was at it!

Roll out the dough as thin as you can. I rolled mine to about one-sixteenth of an inch. The thinner the dough will be rolled out the crispier the namak paray will turn out to be.

Begin making marks to cut the namak paray for frying. In order to achieve the traditional kite-like shape I start by making parallel lines. Then I make diagonal lines after every two inch interval over them to achieve the shape I need.

Heat oil for deep frying and fry the namak paray in batches once the oil heats up. The namak paray will not need too much time to fry so keep a close check on them, flipping sides until a good golden brown.

Take the fried namak paray out on a dish towel to absorb excess oil. They are now ready to eat!

My favorite part of these savory snacks is what I call the airy-bubbly parts. These are the parts that are super thinly rolled out so that when fried they fluff up into a bubble-like shape that is soft on the inside but crispy on the outside. Mmmm mmmm ...


This is a batch done using All-purpose flour instead of whole wheat

Serve Namak Paray as is with Chai and see the entire batch disappear in no time! These crispy delicious snacks will be a favorite! I'm glad Nani introduced these in my life!

Happy Cooking!

3 comments:

  1. YUM!! These look so good. I can just imagine the flavor! And so sweet that you can remember your dear Nani when making it every year :) I'll have to have a crack at making them.
    Love your blog, it's so bright and happy! You're very creative. I'm joining your email list. xo

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  2. Replies
    1. Hey Brooke!
      So glad to hear from you! I'd love to know how it went if you try the Namak Paray recipe :)
      Thanks for subscribing and please stay in touch! Glad you love the blog! <3

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