While comfort food is defined to evoke nostalgic or sentimental emotions, there are certain snacks which go a step beyond being just called “comfort food”. These savoury snacks are closely associated with, believe it or not – rain or with even social festivals – like a gathering of a group of friends over tea. Namak Para is one such savoury snack which goes well with a cup of tea when the sky turns grey and the raindrops drip down your window glass and there is your favourite ‘rain song’ on radio (or youtube). However it should be clarified that it is perfectly fine to grab a handful of Namak Para even if the sky is dry and you just feel like munching a few. Whether you are on your own enjoying your own company or in the midst of chatty friends, some Namak Para can help stuff their mouth along with the words they say – to fulfil the delightful moment.
The weather in London these past few weeks has surprisingly been rainy, even though summer has kind of fizzled out, our mind is still not ready to be prepared for autumn yet, but that won’t stop us munching over a crunchy bowl of Namak Para accompanying the precious afternoon tea. So, in one of those rainy days, I spent less than 15 minutes in the kitchen and here is the result!
Namak Para is basically fried savoury flour crispies made with plain flour and semolina, deep fried in oil in batches.
Top tips: It can be kept for 3-4 weeks in air tight container at room temperature.
Serves 10 (you should still have some leftovers to store in an air-tight glass jar)
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Frying time: 5 minutes or less
Ingredients I used:
Plain flour – 1 cup
Semolina (coarse sooji) – 2 tablespoons
Nigella Sativa seeds (Kalonji) – 2 teaspoon
Salt – to taste
Oil – 2 tablespoons
Baking soda- 1/4 teaspoon
Water – 1/4 cup (add a little more if it’s not enough to make a dough)
Note: Adding semolina will give very crunchy texture to the namak para. The Namak Para I ate bought from the stores are made with cumin seeds and carom seeds (ajwain). I don’t like such strong flavours to my savoury snacks, so I stick to my mother’s simple way of making them with Kalonji (Nigella Sativa).
Let’s make it now
Take plain flour, coarse semolina, salt, nigella sativa, baking powder, and oil in a bowl. Mix well.
And rub it with flour mixture and it will resemble crumbly texture.
Now add little water at a time and start kneading the dough. Make semi-soft (similar to paratha) dough. Water quantity may vary.
Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, knead the dough once again. Divide it into four equal portions. Flatten the portion between your palm.
On a flat kitchen surface, dust some plain flour, take a rolling pin and one of the portions of dough.
Start rolling it into a big circle using rolling pin. (You can use a rolling board as well instead of the kitchen surface). While you are rolling, on other side heat the oil in a pan on medium heat for frying namak para.
Cut straight lines using sharp knife. Cut them again diagonically giving them kind of rectangualr shape.
Once oil is hot (drop a snall piece to see if the oil is hot, if it pops up within seconds, the oil is ready to fry), add few pieces of namak para in the oil. Do not over crowd them. Flip them half way through for even browning.
Fry it from both sides till it become golden brown and crispy.
Remove it to the paper towel lined plate, so it absorbs the excess oil. Let it cool completely, about 20 minutes. And it will become more crispy. Voila!
Serve with a cup of tea or coffee as a snack. Or enjoy on its own on a rainy day.