Pappadam Strategies
May 24, 2004 3:02 PM   Subscribe

Anyone have a good method of cooking Papads/Pappadam? (Care to clue me in on the proper word while you're at it?) I've tried laying them on a hot frying pan and baking them: on the frying pan, they burned before they cooked nicely; I don't remember what happened when I tried the oven but I do know it wasn't successful. At this point, I'm holding them over the open gas with two tongs. This is awkward, time-consuming, and worse - quite dangerous! Some sites mention a microwave; has anyone had success with that? I don't have one but if it helps me get my delicious lentil crispies more easily, I'll purchase one of the loathesome things.
posted by mimi to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I use the old tongs/fingers over the open flame approach. Works well, but yes, there are drawbacks. Deep frying also has interesting results.
posted by luriete at 3:09 PM on May 24, 2004

I cut them in half, and dangle them inside the toaster.

Deep frying is most delicious, however.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:15 PM on May 24, 2004

I've sauteed 'em in a little olive oil. Quite tasty. If you're having burning problems, (1) make sure the bottom of your pan is adequately coated with oil, and (2) turn down the heat a bit. No need for high flame, medium will do just fine.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 3:37 PM on May 24, 2004

I use the microwave. Do not purchase a microwave solely for this purpose: they come out tasting like lightly seasoned cardstock.
But for those who want to try, put a single papadam in the micro for 30 seconds, but do not walk away. You'll watch the sucker puff up, and you must take it out once it has fully puffed, or it will burn and taste even worse.
Best way to cook them? Fill a wok with oil to a depth of two inches. Fry them in the oil one at a time. Tastes just like at the curry hut.
posted by nprigoda at 3:40 PM on May 24, 2004

The deep frying method is what my partner uses. He keeps a bottle of oil just for pappadums and funnels it all back in afterwards. At nprigoda suggested, fill wok (or deep frying pan) with a couple inches of oil. Let it get really hot. Test by breaking off a tiny bit of pappadum and tossing it in. If it puffs up right away, it's ready. He does one at a time and they're seriously only in the oil for about five seconds. He uses tongs to drop one in and then immediately presses down on it in the center with a spoon (to keep them flatter, as the edges have a tendency to curl up a lot). Then he pulls them out and drains them on paper towel. They're really yummy...
posted by web-goddess at 4:01 PM on May 24, 2004

Like indian shrimp chips or krupuk. This is making me hungry.
posted by luriete at 4:15 PM on May 24, 2004

deep frying is the only way
posted by gravelshoes at 4:28 PM on May 24, 2004

Microwave works in a pinch, but I concur that a brief submersion in hot oil works the best.
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 4:40 PM on May 24, 2004

I'd like to fry, but usually grill/broil. I have to watch v. closely, as the critical time zone between 'puffing up' and 'spontaneously combusting' seems to be about 10 seconds. I do like oily papads, though.
posted by carter at 6:15 PM on May 24, 2004

Lightly oil with a pastry brush then on absorbent paper try the microwave.Just keep a look out.1 min max.
posted by johnny7 at 6:15 PM on May 24, 2004

Response by poster: Really! Interesting. I'd have thought that frying them would work out quite greasy. I'm going to have to give it a whirl, esp. if it's a) safer than dangling with tongs and b) cheaper than buying a microwave*.

Do you have a preference for oils? I've just purchased a Madhur Jeffrey book and she keeps referring to "vegetable oil" -- which I have on hand for reasons I'm no longer sure. Wouldn't ghee be more accurate, or...? I'm afraid that while I mmmmmlurve Indian food, I'm quite a novice in this region.

Lightly toasted cardstock... eep! Joe's Spleen, I'd love to see that :-)

*I'm not sure why I have such a thing against them, they just seem to take up an awful lot of kitchen real estate when I can accomplish the same thing just as easily with the stove... though they do make good bacon.
posted by mimi at 6:53 PM on May 24, 2004

Just roast them on open flame using tongs. That's definitely the classic way.

You can deep dry 'em, once they float, take 'em out and let the oil drip out for a bit.

You can deep fry, then top with chopped onions, cilantro and red chilli powder. :)
posted by riffola at 7:05 PM on May 24, 2004

Ah, we've got Madhur Jaffrey too. She rocks. I think Rodd just uses normal vegetable oil, nothing too exotic.
posted by web-goddess at 7:12 PM on May 24, 2004

Indians tend to use groundnut oil (peanut oil).
posted by riffola at 7:18 PM on May 24, 2004

My friend showed me the roasting over a gas stove trick, and while the dangling over the flame disturbed me, the result was delicious - lighter and not as greasy as deep fried.
posted by jb at 11:08 PM on May 24, 2004

Toasters are great, I tell you: intense, dry heat over a wide surface.

Just don't electrocute yourself, you can't sue New Zealanders...

posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:48 AM on May 25, 2004

Response by poster: Riffola - thanks! I'll switch over to that. Joe's Spleen, I'm going to try the toaster method right now and will report back. Thank you.
posted by mimi at 9:33 AM on May 25, 2004

I've made them in the microwave with some success with a very very very quick hit of non-stick cooking oil spray first. You have to be sparing and even with the spray, so it's a bit of a challenge. Also micros without a rotating platform seem to do a worse job, blasting one area, leaving others undone.
posted by Stoatfarm at 9:35 AM on May 25, 2004

Response by poster: Update:
Pappadam test results

Who wants to give it a go with a creme brulee torch??
posted by mimi at 11:34 AM on May 25, 2004

Response by poster: PS: full results here and larger image here.
posted by mimi at 11:36 AM on May 25, 2004

Oh mimi! You have to pull them out before the toaster pops! Oy, must I spell everything out for you?

my mefi food-cred is ruined for ever, thanks to you... sniff....

But top marks indeed for taking the ball and running with it.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:11 PM on May 25, 2004

Response by poster: That was before the toaster popped! I was broiling one, and turned around to see a big, black plume emanating from said toaster. I'll try it again but keeping a VERY close eye on it. :-)
posted by mimi at 1:26 PM on May 25, 2004

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