Wednesday, July 4, 2012

CHEKKALU | PAPPU BILLALU | THATTAI | SAVORY RICE CRACKERS

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We Indians always stock up lots of snacks which are generally deep fried and these snack varieties vary from region to region. The snacks in North India is mostly prepared with Besan,wheat flour and maida while in South most of the snacks (60-70%) are prepared with rice flour apart from besan and maida.
Apart from the famous Chakli,another rice flour based snack which is quite famous is 'Savory Rice cracker' which is known in south India with various names; ' Chekkalu or Pappu Billalu' in Andhra,'Nippat' in Karnataka and 'Thattai' in Tamilnadu.While the basic ingredients are same Chekkalu and Thattai tastes and looks almost similar where as Nippat/Nippattu(of Karnataka) differs in thickness,taste and texture.Check my earlier 'Nippat masala' post to see how the nippattu looks like-there I used baby nippats but in general it is of 2-3" diameter.Chekkalu are made basically very thin and crispy and they are very light and you can easily have 5-6 chekkalu at one go, while you cannot have more than 2 nippats at one go.
Though they are easily available in many shops in south,it is very rare to find good quality and tasty ones in the rest of India or even abroad. So the only option is to always source them from south or make them by yourselves. It though takes some time to gain expertise in preparing these fried snacks-while it is an easy snack to prepare but if the quality of rice flour is not good, you can easily mess it and end up with hard crackers. I have highlighted a few pointers to get good chekkalu and I hope it would be of help.Now back to the recipe.
Pappu Chekkalu | Pabbilla | Thattai Recipe:
(makes around 20-22 small size)

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh Rice flour
1/4 cup Chana dal(or moong dal or both)
2 tbsp Sesame seeds
3-4 Green chillies
3/4" Ginger
2 tbsp finely chopped Curry leaves
1/2 tsp Red chili powder
1 tbsp Butter,softened at room temperature
Salt to taste
Oil,to deep fry

Method:
  • Soak chana dal for 2-3hrs.Drain well.You can use moong dal or a mix of both for this,they add nice taste to chekkalu.
  • Grind green chillies and ginger to a coarse paste in mixer.

  • In a big bowl mix rice flour with salt.
  • Add ground ginger-green chili mixture,sesame seeds,torn curry leaves,soaked and drained chana dal,red chili powder and butter and mix well thoroughly.
  • Just sprinkle few drops of water (1/4 cup approx) and knead into a dough.Do not add more water,use little amount amount of water just to combine to a dough.Knead well.If you take a small ball and try to flatten on ur palm it should crack at the ends which indicates right consistency.

  • Take a plastic sheet and smear oil over it.You can even use milk covers.
  • Mean while heat oil in a kadai over medium heat to its smoking point.
  • Take a very tiny gooseberry sized ball and flatten it using your palms to a disc,2-3" in diameter on the greased sheet.Repeat the process and make 6-7 for a batch.Prick them using a fork which ensures that they don't puff up in oil.Remember we got thin crisp chekkalu,not the soft pooris.:)
  • Drop them carefully from sides of the kadai taking care that they don't get fold while dropping into oil and fry them and turn them to the other side and fry until golden brown in color.Always fry in medium hot oil otherwise low heat will result in very hard chekkalu and high heat will result in soft chekkalu.It is always better to taste in between to check whether you are getting the right crispiness or not.

  • Drain them on kitchen napkins to remove excess oil.When you fry them they would have light golden color which turns out deep dark brown in color after they become cool and they also become more crunchy afterwards.
  • Cool them and store them in air tight container.
Serve as a evening snack with a cup of tea.
Notes:
  1. Always use freshly ground rice flour(flour mill or home made) instead of the one available in grocery stores for good and crispy chekkalu.Rice flour quality is the key factor for the taste and texture.If the rice flour is very finely ground(like what we get in grocery stores) it will result in hard chekkalu,if it is mill ground with a slight coarse texture they yield good crackers.
  2. If you want to double the recipe,always add 1 tbsp butter per 1 cup of flour and adjust the other seasonings as required.The spice level is according to your wish and also add the chana dal in proportionately.
  3. If you are making in a larger portion,once all the ingredients are mixed well add water to only some portion and make the batch and then add water to the remaining batch.It is very important to do it in small batches else the dough becomes soggy and not gives crispy chekkalu.
  4. You can even add 1/4 cup ground fried gram powder to the dough which adds nice taste to chekkalu,it is optional though.
  5. You can add roasted,peeled and coarsely ground groundnuts(1/4 cup) to the dough,it gives very nice and distinct taste to it.

Check out other Diwali savouries in my blog here:
Also check out the wide collection of Diwali Sweets Recipes and Payasam/Kheer Varieties.

29 comments:

Nisha said...

Fantastic. I'm bookmarking because now I'm bored of making mathri, namak pare, and shakkar pare regularly and need variety.

I have never eaten these crackers, but I like making snacks at one time that last a month. This is what a lazy girl like me does :D

APARNARAJESHKUMAR said...

loved it :)

LG said...

Nippattu mastagi kantha ide Pratibha. Hasive haage shuru aythu photos nodtha nodtha

Chandrani said...

Crunchy and yummy snacks.

Cuisine Delights
My Monthly Event - Spotlight:Curries/Gravies".

radha said...

I was admonished since I came back from a Chennai trip without Grand Sweets thattai. This one looks even better than what is available there.

Priya said...

My all time favourite thattais,wish to get some rite now.

Vijayalakshmi Dharmaraj said...

looks crispy thattai... long time back i tasted... ll try soon...
if u have time plz visit my space n join with me
VIRUNTHU UNNA VAANGA

jeyashrisuresh said...

Ahh pratiba, i can't take my eyes out from these beautiful clicks . Very inviting thattais

Shanthi said...

Wonderful and tempting recipe!!

Shama Nagarajan said...

beautiful presentation dear!!...invititng

Kaveri Venkatesh said...

Crispy and crunchy thattais...perfect with the evening cuppa tea

runnergirlinthekitchen.blogspot.com said...

Love the clicks and always ready for a crunchy yummy snack!

Chitra said...

wow, delicious thattai.. love to try it..

Supriya's Rasoi said...

Pratibha beautifully presented. I am sure the crackers will taste cracking.

Spice up the Curry said...

very crispy and nice one

Sharmilee! :) said...

Crispy and perfect thattais...lovely clicks!

Valarmathi Sanjeev said...

Perfectly done, thattai looks crispy and yummy. Nice presentation.

Nagashree said...

Lovely nippattus, looks very crispy perfect for snacking with chai.

Kavi said...

Amazing photographs!

Prathima Rao said...

I cant stand store bought chekkalu..But thanks to u i can now make this fav faarsaan at home!!! Looks so crispy & so well explained Prathy..
Prathima Rao
Prats Corner

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Wish to steal away that small box from the screen ;-) I bet these were crunchy and yummy. Nicely presented

Saraswathi Iyer said...

Looks so tempting, crunchy. Send me some. Feeling hungry. Just love snacks.

Srimathi said...

Looks so perfect. I love that tai, but lack the patience to make it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef,
Lovely recipe. Is it possible to bake these crackers, in order to avoid deep frying?

Anonymous said...

Hi,
very nice recipe... can u post the karnataka style nippattu recipe plz.. will b waiting..thank u

prathibha Garre said...

@anonymous...I have not tried baking these in the oven..But I have baked chaklis successfully,try adding a fat pinch of cooking soda to the dough and bake.I am sure it should work to bake.

@anonymous...I will try to post the nippattu recipe in the near future..

Arthy Suman said...

Very crispy n crunchy.....perfecto...

Anonymous said...

hi..how did you fry these thattais, what device have you used? I have an electric stove and a regular Kadai won't work since it is not flat. thanks

prathibha Garre said...

@anonymous..I fried it in a deep bottomed kadai on a regular stove...You can use heavy bottomed flat pan instead for deep frying, it should work

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