Thattai; South India SnackWith the growing number of Krishna and Grand Sweets outlets in India, the culture of making bakshanams (fried snacks) at home has become a rare event. Earlier, in the joint family system, the mamiyars, mattu ponnus, nathanars, orpadis (mother in law, daughters and daughters in law) would sit together and make bakshanam for family weddings and other events and festivals. Recently, I revived my interest in bakshanam making at home, especially for my boys. The first in this line of recipes is the Thattai….
Red chili powder – 3tbsp( adjust to spice requirement)
Asafoetida (hing) – 2 tbsp
Salt – To taste
Soaked ( for 1/2 hour) and drained channa dal – 1 fistfull
Fresh curry leaves, torn finely – 2 sprigs
Unsalted butter – 2 tbsp
Oil ( canola, refined, sunflower) – To deep fry
Water – To make the dough
Mix together all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add butter, sprinkle water to make a soft, smooth but stiff ball of dough( as shown in the picture).
Spread a square piece of white cotton cloth/ handkerchief over a newspaper. Heat oil in a frying pan/ kadai. Make small balls of the dough, 4 at a time.
The traditional method : Using your index, middle and ring fingers make round flat and even discs out of each ball of dough. A coffee dabara ( South Indian coffee saucer) can be used to press the dough into discs if you cannot make them with your fingers. Quickly remove the discs carefully and deep fry them on medium heat, turning the discs occasionally. When done remove , drain the oil, cool and store in a container.
If you cannot buy ready made urad dal and wet rice flour, you may make it as follows. Soak raw rice for4-5 hours. Drain, powder it fine in a mixie, sieve and use it immediately.. Excess should be stored in the freezer. Urad dal should be roasted dry, powdered fine, sieved and used. The dough should be prepared in small batches as above, ; as the dough tends to dry quickly.
Add broken and soaked cashews or almonds instead of channa dal. You may also press half a nut in the centre of the disc for an exotic Thattai !!!