Divali Treats: namak pare

reading corner
The lights are up!

Yesterday, on dhanteras (the thirteenth day of the Hindu lunar month of Ashwin), I gathered up some enthusiasm to get the Divali cooking underway.  There was no way I could have shopped for gold – the prices are at a record high and the market at a record low.  Making Divali treats seemed to be just the thing to get the festivities off to a happy start. The easiest munchies to make are shankarpare and namak pare, one sweet, the other salty.

This time around, I used a 2:1 ratio of atta (whole wheat flour) to maida (refined flour) for shankarpare.  They were much the better for taste.  I also used Shipa’s trick of adding a little ghee to the oil while frying instead of using ghee as the frying medium – stretches expensive ghee further, and keeps the cholesterol count down as well.  Sweet things do need a whiff of ghee.

namak pare
Namak pare were a success.  This year I did not waste my effort and time on experimenting with baking them…  Everything in moderation.  This recipe makes enough to tide a family over the festive days of Divali.  You could always make more and share with friends!

Namak Pare
(Savoury Crackers)

2C all purpose flour
1C atta (whole wheat flour)
6 T oil
1 t salt (or to taste)
1 t red chilli powder (cayenne pepper) – optional
1 t ajwain (bishop’s weed) seeds
water to knead
oil for frying

Using just enough water mix all ingredients into a medium stiff dough that is pliable. I put my food processor to use this time. Let the dough rest for an hour (you may leave it longer – I prepped aroung 11 in the morning and got around to frying them only after lunch).

Heat oil in a karahi. Divide the dough into 5-6 portions and roll each out to 1/8th inch thickness (about 2-3mm). Using a sharp knife score through into 1/5th inch (5mm) wide strips – the pizza cutter didn’t work for me and gave uncontrolled diverging lines. Score further across to divide the strips into 2 inch lengths. Drop the strips into the hot oil and fry over a medium heat, stirring every now and then. To drop the strips into oil I hold my chakla (rolling board) upright over the karahi. Starting at the lower most row, I use the tip of the knife to lift the strips along their upper ends. They roll down into the hot oil. Holding the board close to the oil creates little splashing.

Remove the fried strips with a slotted spoon when golden – they will darken a shade as they sit continuing to cook as they cool. Store in an airtight tin after they have cooled completely.


16 thoughts on “Divali Treats: namak pare

  1. I have to make some of these spicy ones now. I think I will get a sugar stroke if I make any other sweet this year :). Love the shape of these namakpares :).

    Wish you and your family a very happy Diwali.

    I miss those chairs – we called them araam khurchi(chair). When we were kids, my bro used to take out the rolls out of them(they had these wooden rolls one at the top and the other at the bottom of the cloth to hold them) and someone had a pretty bad accident :(. But they are very comfy…

    I was planning to make gulab jamuns…but this time I didn’t make too many things. Thankfully, I knew this might happen and had already placed orders for chakli and karanji…

    Gosh, I can see that leading to a nasty accident but kids will be kids!

  2. We call them shankarpali regardless of whether they are sweet or savory. I have always preferred the latter. And ours are more diamond shaped than strips. And we use the cutter with the squiggly/serrated edge to make them look pretty. These are so much easier to make than chakli. We’ve never fried them in ghee.

    Our lights are not yet up. Well, the ones on the trees never come down so I will try turning them on! I also have to get our Hallowe’en stuff out. It feels really odd to have Diwali decor along with skeletons, spider webs and other creepy crawlies!

    Show us a picture of what ‘yours’ look like – then we’ll know if its true… Really precious you are; and you don’t even have your lights up yet!
    Just so you know – I do shape my shakkar pare (shankarpali) the way you describe, using my wavy cutting wheel (and did they turn our well this time!). But the namak pare/ mathri I shape as they do in these parts.

  3. Happy Deepavali! Anita. I love your comfy chair.
    Those Shankar and Namak Pares look so very tasty. I am going to try those too.

    Happy Deepavali!
    I hope you tried!

  4. MmmmmmmK, I’ll make ’em then. 🙂 Sliding them off the cutting board is a great idea!

    I bought an expensive, well-made pizza wheel/cutter; it even has a guard for storage. And guess what? I don’t even use it. I’ve found that a Chinese-style chef-knife/cleaver- the large rectangular kind- works much better for pizza- better control. It’s also much easier to wash.

    Shilpa: Your brother and the chair: I’m sorry but LOL. Manisha: Macabre/Diwali combo: LOL also. Diamond-shaped with fancy edges: aren’t you precious.

    Happy Diwali- I need to go light something.

    Wow – that cleaver is on my wish list!

  5. Happy Diwali Anita !
    I too made Shakarpara and Namkeen, along with Besan Laddu.

    I made sev as well, but no ladoos yet 😦 Hoping to still get to them tonight or tomorrow…

  6. Nice idea of adding ghee to the oil while frying.will give it a try next time.

    It was a neat trick (Shilpa’s) that kept shakkar para from tasting ‘oily’ even though I was primarily using oil… ghee is what you want to taste in things sweet.

  7. That photo looks so festive, Anita..

    my granddad had a chair like that… we called it easy-chair.. 🙂

    nice name for those fried goodies.. will try the dough-with-ghee trick next time 🙂

    The lights will stay on for a while… I love these tiny bulbs!

  8. A very warm and hearty Diwali greeting to u and your family. It’s a pleasure to read your blog.:)

    😉 Thanks, mallugirl!

  9. Anita – wishing you a very joyous and peaceful Diwali. Those lights look amazing and as always you are making me crave fried food. You can be so naughty!

  10. Wish you and your family a very, very happy and prosperous Diwali Anita!!

    I made sweet shankarpali’s, besan ladoos and bhadang … had big plans of a big post too, but oh well. Think it will have to wait for next year.

    I have never tried making savory shankarpali’s … I love the idea of using whole wheat flour, sounds very wholesome and healthy as compared to using just refined flour. Going to try your recipe, shape et all 😀

  11. She’s doing the tic-toc…shouldn’t that be tick-tock? Tick-tocking over here too; you’d think she was about to self-implode! And such an old-fashioned girl she is: these newer digital clocks are so silent…and some even have a snooze button!- which is really what is needed here. [imitates Arnold S. in Total Recall] Two weeks….two weeks…

  12. And oh! Anita. Be sure to wash your hands well after handling the light strings: the wire-coatings contain lead (added as a flame retardant). I do hope some of the companies that produce these will find a better alternative soon; as for myself: I’m trying to cut down (as they’re darned useful for interesting, all-year dim-lighting effects).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s