Dried papadums or papads can be found at Indian grocers or Asian grocers. There are many varieties of papadum to choose from. However, those available in Malaysia are the simplest as they are made of split pea flour. No other spices such as cumin or chilli powder are added to the dough unlike those in the Northern Indian region. Plain papadums are more common in the Southern Indian region where it is home to banana leaf rice.
There are many ways to prepare these delicious crackers. For instance, they can be toasted as well but to achieve the crispiness enjoyed by many, dried papads need to be deep fried the traditional way. It has to be crispy enough to hold a small mouthful of rice mixed with curry. It enhances the taste of the meal while adding some crunchiness.
Problems faced when frying papadums
Frying papadums may seemed simple but it is actually quite challenging to acquire the best results. They could turn out burned, oily, soggy or curled if not properly handled.
Heat required to fry papadums
Burned, oily and soggy papadums occurred mainly due to the heat of the oil. Therefore, the right temperature is needed to fry them to perfection. I had specially used wooden chopsticks during the frying process as they are able to indicate whether the oil is ready. Take note that if papadums are placed into mildly heated oil, they end up soggy and oily.
I also love that chopsticks are able to pick up the papadums quickly and gently while removing the excess oil. These gram flour crackers begin to fry almost immediately in hot oil. Do not leave them in the oil longer than required to prevent them from burning.
While this will not affect the taste, it definitely affects the eating experience. Curled papads somehow makes it more complicated as it is usually used to "scoop" the curried rice. As mentioned, papadum begins to fry almost immediately once it is put into the heated oil. Therefore, it should be fried individually. A pair of chopsticks are used to prevent it from curling during the frying process.
Fried papadum is a mandatory side dish when having banana leaf rice. Enjoy with a variety of curry or even chutneys. It tastes amazing.