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How to make poppadoms from scratch

  Why bother?

This had been my usual response to the question of making poppadoms from scratch I have to admit. Whilst for much of my culinary education I often tried to take everything right back to basics such as making bread, pastry even flour, I had never until recently considered making poppadoms. No restaurant that I have ever visited has done so, so why should I? Perhaps this reticence is due in some part to a hazy memory of trying to make chinese crispy duck pancakes which was a dismal failure only to later find out that even the best Chinese restaurants buy them in frozen! Anyway a recent email on the subject got me thinking and I thought it might be fun to give it a whirl even if it was a complete disaster!

So on my next visit to my asian spice supplier I picked up some Urid flour (made from dried black urad lentils that have been skinned and split) and resolved to give it a go. The results were actually extremely good and I have since made them quite a few times, your dinner guests will usually be amazed to get restaurant style poppadoms at home, they are flabbergasted when you make your own from scratch.

  How is it done?

Making them is quite easy if you are used to baking and working with flour and rolling out. If not then still have a go and remember you need lots of flour on your hands, rolling pin and work surface to prevent sticking and make sure the surface is clean and dry. Mix a cup of flour with a little salt to taste and just enough water to make a stiff paste. Knead gently till it is worked into a stiff dough (1-2 minutes). Take a little at a time and roll out as thin as you can go. You may need a very thin sharp knife to peel the dough off the work surface. Deep fry in hot oil in small batches until they are golden brown. They will take longer to cook than dried shop bought poppadoms as the water content needs to be evaporated. Drain on kitchen roll and serve as usual!

Tip:Make smaller poppadoms as they are easier to work with and no one I know can fit a whole poppadom in their mouth without breaking it - now there's a challenge!

If you are wondering where on earth you can get Urid flour, you can try an Asian grocer or it is available from our curry shop - Click here for Urid flour

Mix to a thick paste just a little bit flaky and powdery

Plenty of flour on the surface, use fine sieve to get a smooth even layer.

Roll a small ball of dough in well floured hands about half a golf ball size

Roll out as thin as you can

Use a shape cutter if you prefer a pretty edge

Add spices if you wish

Get the kids involved and make the shapes child friendly - not that they usually need much encouragement to eat poppadoms!

The finished fried massalla poppadoms

The finished fried plain poppadoms!

  How do they taste?

Very similar to restaurant poppadoms but richer and crunchier with a stronger nutty flavour. Best of all you can spice your poppadoms with anything you like such as chilli powder, crushed black pepper, dried chillies, dried garlic, whatever you like!

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