As much as I love desserts, when it comes to Indian snacks, I am surprisingly not a sugar fiend. The one thing I do love is a generous namak pare (or nimki - I wish I could explain the etymology of Indian pastries but we'd be here all day) with a steaming cup of masala chai. It's also the perfect accompaniment for a mother-daughter Bollywood movie marathon with the thorn in my - I mean, apple of my eye.
A namak pare is a fairly simple concept: deep fried parcels of pastry seasoned with salt and household Indian seeds commonly used in making a traditional masala. Nothing fancy, but I promise you that your outlook on salted savoury snacks will never be the same after you've tasted one! This recipe shies away from the traditional frying method- I once tried that and the pastry was still doughy on the inside. To avoid that catastrophe, I now use the oven!
Servings: 20-25 namak pare parcels
Prep+cooking time: 1 hr
- 1 cup wheat flour
- 1 cup plain white flour
- 1 tsp carom seeds
- 1 tsp nigella seeds
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil (or ghee, if preferred)
- 1/2 cup water
- pinch of salt to taste
1) Sieve all the powder ingredients together and then sprinkle the seeds through.
2) Add the oil, water and salt and knead together with your hands to form a soft (but not too sticky) dough.
3) Roll small handfuls of dough into flat circular shapes and fold them into parcels. These must be very thin- if it is too thick, the parcels will remain doughy inside. Use a rolling pin to flatten the folded parcels if necessary.
4) Place on greaseproof paper and bake at 180 °c/ 356 F/ gas mark 4 for 15-20 minutes or until the namak pare is flaky and golden.
5) Leave to cool and serve with masala chai.