Namak para is a popular savory tea time snack. It is a part of the variety of sweets and snacks made in marwadi homes during Diwali. This fried Indian pastry seasoned with cumin and carom seeds is a favorite with tea. My mom makes this snack in batches of huge tin boxes as every one at home loves to have them with the morning tea. This used to be a popular travel snack whenever we travelled. Namak para with lime pickle is an awesome combination.
The crunch of this snack should be like a pastry and that calls for ghee or butter to be added in the dough. You can use oil too but I like it light, flaky, and buttery. The basic rule of pastry applies with namak para too. Add all the dry ingredients before adding butter. Use cold butter and work quickly using your finger tips for a lighter pastry. The flour should resemble bread crumbs. If the fat you are adding is hot, it will absorb more oil while frying and the namak para will be heavier. Add cold water and add as less water as possible and add it gradually. Do not over knead the dough. After you rest the dough, just knead it lightly.
You can make namak paras in any shape. The diamond shape is the most popular one in India. Fry the namak para on a slow or medium flame. Cumin and carom seeds are the most common flavours. You can experiment with other herbs too like kasuri methi or even oregano. Coarsely ground black pepper can be added for a hint of spice. Namak para can be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 weeks. These can be served with tamarind chutney or lime pickle.
- 1 cup all purpose flour (maida)
- 1 tbsp semolina (optional)
- 4 tbsp Oil/butter
- 1 tsp salt (you can add the salt as per taste)
- ½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
- ½ tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
- Ice cold water
- Oil for frying
Lightly pound the cumin and carom seeds. Mix the all purpose flour, salt, cumin and carom seeds. Rub the butter using finger tips. The flour should resemble bread crumbs. Add little cold water at a time and knead stiff dough. Cover with a damp cloth and keep aside for 15 minutes. Knead again lightly and divide the dough into four portions.
Roll each portion to a 1/8cm thick circle. Cut into desired shape. Diamond is the commonly used shape. Heat oil in a kadhai or a deep pan and fry the namak para on slow flame till they turn light brown on both sides.
Cool and store in an airtight container.