NRI Pulse

What's Cooking?

Readers' favorites: Kaaja & urad flour chakli

What’s Cooking? by P.S. Lakshmi Rao


Photos and styling by late Dr. P.V. Rao.

3 cups all purpose flour (maida)

1/2 cup hot oil

3/4 cups water to make stiff dough plus one tablespoon more water as needed

1/2 cup flour for dusting the dough balls and puries

1/4 cup ghee for brushing puries

1 table spoon rice flour to sprinkle on top of puries

2 or 3 cups oil for frying

In a large mixing bowl mix flour and hot oil with a fork first and with hand when it is cold. Add 3/4 cup water to the flour mixture and knead until it becomes stiff dough. The dough should be little harder than puri dough. Add a table spoon more water if the dough is too hard to roll. Keep it covered for 30 minutes. Make 12 equal size balls and dust them with flour.

Sugar syrup

3 1/2 cups sugar

3 cups water

Mix sugar and water in a 4 quart-sauce pan and boil it for 10 minutes in high heat mixing continuously. After 10 minutes turn the heat to low and let the syrup simmer for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off. Keep the syrup aside.

Take one maida ball and roll it with a rolling pin in to 9 inch diameter puri. Brush or rub some melted ghee on top of puri and sprinkle some rice flour. Repeat this with two more maida balls. Stack the three puries one over the other. Fold them together like a jellyroll or mat. Cut the rolled puri into 1/2 inch strips. Press each strip (kaaja) gently to make them little flat. Repeat this process with rest of the maida balls.

In a medium (8 inch) heavy flat frying pan, heat oil at medium low. Drop five or six kaajas slowly into the oil and fry in slow heat until the folds in the kaajas are opened inside and turn very light brown both sides. If the oil is too hot kaja will unwind and go out of shape, also they don’t cook in the middle.

When the kaajas are light brown remove them from oil with a slotted spoon and put them in sugar syrup. Remove kaajas from the syrup immediately using a separate slotted spoon and place them in a tray. Repeat with rest of the kaajas. At the end if you have some syrup left, boil it until the syrup gets thick and drizzle over the kaajas. If the kaajas are soft that means the syrup is too watery.

Urad Flour Chakli (Minappindi Janthikalu)

When we are growing up my sister-in-law used to make these on a rainy day. Even though there was so much to do , we didn’t feel like doing anything but sit around,  sipping hot tea or coffee and eating crunchy snacks like chaklies. For this special issue, I thought this was a perfect recipe to share with our readers.

1 cup urad flour

3 cups rice flour

1 table spoon salt

1 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds

1 table spoon ground red pepper

2 table spoons butter

31/4 cups boiling water

2 table spoons sesame seeds (skinless and white)

2 to  3  cups vegetable oil for deep frying  depending upon the size of the frying pan.

In a large bowl mix first six ingredients. Add boiling water and mix with a long spoon. When the dough is cold enough  add sesame seeds. Grease your hand with half a teaspoon of oil and mix chakli dough thoroughly with hand. At this point you can taste a small piece of dough for salt and pepper and add whatever your taste buds tells you to. If you think it is too salty or spicy hot you can add  urad  flour,  rice flour  and little water.

Heat oil to medium high temperature in the frying pan. It is safe to use round and deep stir fry pan.

Place a 1/8 inch diameter holes disc in the chakli maker, fill it with chakli dough and  press the dough in to hot oil. Let it fry for a minute and turn it until both sides are crisp. Remove the chakli on to a paper towel to absorb any excessive oil.  If the oil is not hot enough the chaklies will come out hard.

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