Recipes | Baked savory flatbread Crackers aka Indian Namkeenpare – Reflecting and celebrating festive season
‘Every gift from a friend is a wish for your happiness’. ~Richard Bach
To be surrounded by friends who can send positive vibes and make you feel wanted and much loved from wherever they are is a great blessing.
Last few days went prepping and celebrating one of our biggest festivals, Diwali. I had a wonderful time with family and friends, whipping desserts, cooking grand feast and chatting all day long.
Diwali preparations started a week before at my home, shopping for new clothes, buying crackers, cleaning the house and finally sitting down to making sweets and savories.
When I think of Diwali, my mind wanders back to happy festive days spent at my granny’s home. Her house would start getting filled with the heady aromas of ghee fried besan and ajwain namkeenpare, well in advance before actual Diwali day. She would prepare the sweets and savories days ahead and store in large brass and aluminum Dabbas (boxes). No, we were not allowed to savor any of those goodies until it was offered to Goddess Lakshmi on Lakshmi puja day before Diwali starts.
Being the only granddaughter of the house for many years, my uncle and aunt would pamper me with dresses and chocolates.
But the most cherished and awaited gift to me was the silky satin ‘Gagara-choli’ (traditional attire) my granny would stitch for me – the one embellished with colourful beads and sitaras for every Diwali.
And what a timely and thoughtful Diwali gift I got this year, a set of trendy looking boxes from Tupperware.
I have been using many of their products over the last 10 years, water bottles, lunch-boxes, and small container to name a few and love the quality and standards maintained by the company.
And yes, these boxes come very handy to store my wet Dosa (crepes) batter and dough in fridge and also helps keep vegetables and dry food products fresh for days.
Baked Spicy Flat-bread Crackers or Namkeenpare
Coming back to the recipe, Namkeenpare or Nimkis or close cousins of Ribbon pakoda from South India is a popular savory Indian Tea-time snack. The basic ingredients used to make this savory are chickpea flour, rice flour and all purpose flour at different proportions.
I remember my granny’s Namkeenpare had just besan (chickpea flour), carom seed (ajwain) and salt as the main ingredients, and the chickpea flour was generously kneaded with desi ghee (pure ghee) to get the most crispiest of Namkeenpare.
This recipe is also a take on traditional deep fried Namkeenpare. The addition of millet and certain aromatic spices and herbs such as Kasuri methi and Nigella seeds (kalonji dana) make it more flavorful and delicious.
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour
- 1/4 cup rice flour
- 1/4 cup semolina
- 3 tbsp curd
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp Kasuri methi
- 1 tsp. red chilly powder
- 1 tsp Nigella seeds
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- A pinch of asafetida powder
Method; Pre heat oven to 180°C for 10 minutes.
Add chickpea flour, rice flour and semolina (rawa/suji) in a large bowl and combine well with a spoon or fork.
Add red chilly powder, turmeric powder, asafetida powder (hing), Nigella seeds (kalonji dana), salt and crushed Kasuri methi leaves (dried fenugreek) in the bowl.
Now add oil and rub all the ingredients together with fingers.
Pour a little curd at a time and knead into semi-hard dough.
Dust a little dry flour on a board and pinch a large ball of dough.
Arrange these stripes onto a greased baking tray and bake for 180°C for 15 minutes.
Do keep checking the crackers in between so that they don’t get over browned or burn.
Flip each of the crackers to other side and bake again for about 5-6 minutes.
Let the crackers cool completely before storing in an air tight container.
Pack the savories in an sir tight container to keep them fresh for days.
My verdict; Baked Namkeenpare wins hands down over deep fried ones.
Garlicky Pearl Millet Crackers
- 1 cup Pearl millet flour (Bajra)
- 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2-3 garlic pearls
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp chilly flakes
- 1/4 tsp. baking powder
Method; Pre heat oven to 180°C for 10 minutes and grease a large baking tray.
Peel and crush 2-3 garlic pearls using a knife or stone.
Combine all the ingredients except water in a large bowl and rub with your fingers till the mixture becomes crumbly.
Pour water little at a time and knead it into semi hard dough.
Pinch a large ball of dough and roll it out into thin sheet on a board dusted with dry flour. Poke the rolled out dough with a fork so that it does not puff up while baking.
Use a sharp knife to cut it into diamond shapes or any other shape you desire.
Place all the diamonds on the greased baking tray and bake at 180°C for 15 minutes.
Flip each diamond to other side and bake again for 6-7 minutes or till they turn olden brown in colour.
Let the crackers cool completely and store them in an air tight container. I store my sweets and savories in large Tupperware containers and they stay fresh and retain their crispiness for 20-25 days.
- The thinner you roll the dough for chickpea crackers, crispier the crackers will come out.
- Do not knead the dough for long time this will reduce the crispiness of the crackers.
- Avoid too much water to knead the dough and keep it slightly hard. This will make sure that the crackers come out crisp.
- You can deep fry the crackers to get one another indulging version of the same recipe.
- You can brush each cracker with little oil before baking to bake them more crispier.
- Baking time certainly depends upon the thickness of your crackers. It they are thick you need to bake them for loner time and if they are thin they will get baked quickly.