At Down To Earth, we have researched the age-old recipes to make papads that can remind you of the perfect homemade taste and provide the zing to this appetizer cum mouth freshener.
Our organic Moong Masala papad is a plain papad with some spices in an appropriate proportion to make it more delicious. It is crispy and has a well balanced highly acceptable taste. Level of incorporation of spices with mung dal (green gram) is at which the taste and flavour of the spices used are just perceptible and gives a spicy taste.
Papad on frying has a bright yellow colour, presents good snappiness, attractive appearance and high expansion ratio.
I tasted my first papad in London when I was living there some years ago. There was an abundance of Indian restaurants near my accommodation, offering an amazing variety of regional foods, but every meal was accompanied by a huge plate of papads (or papadums) at no charge - this was the appetiser and was a great way of ensuring the diners did not go hungry while they were waiting for their meal to be prepared. I was never quite sure what the correct term was: one person said it was related to the thickness, while another said it depended on what pulse was used as the base. I am sure I would have got many more different answers (and spelling variations) if I had continued asking, so stopped wondering. After all, the product was what mattered, not the name.
We tried the Green Gram (Moong) Masala variety with some friends. I found the papads exceptionally easy to cook. The instructions were straightforward; it was easy to cook one each initially then go back to prepare more if necessary. They took around 40 seconds each to prepare, given that I stopped the microwave after the first 20 seconds as instructed, and they then emerged golden and still slightly soft. After a few seconds in the air, however, they reached full crispness and were ready to eat. Everyone took a piece of papad to nibble before we sat down to our meal, and most agreed that the spice factor was about right - not too hot but having a pleasant tang. Only one of our friends thought they were a bit too spicy to eat alone.
The family had greeted us with a big pot of home-made vegetable soup, ideal for having with the papads as it was very chunky so bread would have been too heavy to serve with it. They had added lentils and a good selection of spices, and then topped it with a good serve of cream. The combination of the spices in the soup and the papads left us with our mouths tingling and an amazing after-taste; although the soup was not quite as spicy as the papads, it could hold its own with them. An ideal food for an icy Otago day!
Being conservationists and strict vegetarians, our friends were interested to read all the information on the packet. All of us were intrigued to see just how unadulterated the product is, and they kept the packet so they could follow up online. They were also impressed by the shelf life (two years from the date of production) as they are sometimes confined to the house during bad weather, especially in winter, so like to keep a stock of essential items in the cupboard.
There were seven of us at dinner, but even then we did not finish all the papads. Because the uncooked product is very thin, there are a lot of papads crammed into the one packet. When we next visit them, I know what we will be taking as a present!
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