Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thattai for Deepavali

Among all the festivals celebrated in India, Deepavali - the festival of lights is more of a social event rather than a ritualistic tradition. Friends and families exchange sweets and snacks and greet each other on Deepavali day, making this a cherished occasion. While there are sweet shops aplenty, selling boxed sweets and snacks, packaged conveniently for gifting, homemade comestibles add that special personal touch to any gift.

Anyway, this year for Deepavali, I decided to make Thattais at home. Thattai(Tamil) literally translates to "flat". These are savory flat discs that are deep fried and have a tremendous crunch. They are a really tasty afternoon snack! R is particularly fond of them, and among all the traditional savories prepared for Deepavali, Thattai is one that does not require great mastery and skill (like Kai Murukku), or a mechanical press(like Ribbon Pakoda, Thenkuzhal etc). So, this was the perfect project for me to embark on.

2 C Rice Flour
1/4 C Urad Dhal (roasted and powdered finely)
1/4 C Chana Dhal(or Moong Dhal), soaked in hot water for 15-20 minutes
2 T Butter, melted
1 T Curry leaves, torn
1/4 t Asafoetida
Salt, Chilli Powder and(or) ground black pepper (to taste)

I used freshly made rice flour by grinding rice. The finer the grind, the better. Roast the Urad Dhal and powder finely after cooling. Combine all the ingredients into a dough, adding as little water as possible, until the dough can be pinched off into balls without crumbling.

Pinch off lemon sized balls of the dough and flatten into thin discs and place on greased waxed paper or a cotton cloth(preferred). Perforate each Thattai with a fork 2 or 3 times, to allow even cooking in the center and prevent puffing. Allow to dry for at least 10 minutes. If the discs crack, add a little more water to the dough to bind better.

Fry in hot oil. The Thattais will sink on dropping into the oil, but will rise up after cooking. Flip and cook on both sides. Drain on paper towels and store in an air-tight container after cooling.

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