Natco Plain Madras Pappadoms

As the name implies these fine pappadoms have journeyed all the way from Madras to be here with us today. The city now know as Chennai, sits on the eastern coast of southern India dipping its toes in the Bay of Bengal. Chennai is the thriving capital city of the state of Tamil Nadu and is one of the busiest ports in India. An hour out (on a good traffic day, three or four on a not so good day) of the hustle and bustle, pappadoms are being quietly made using the same tradition seeped methods that have been passed down through generations. The perfect simplicity of a single pappadom belies the skill and technique of the craftspeople involved. Like any good artist, they make it look easy.

Work on the dough begins early in the morning. Fine urid flour is mixed with lime water. As the mixture takes form it is kneaded on a rough marble surface. Coconut oil stops the mixture from sticking, simultaneously filling the air with fragrant aromas. The doughing process requires keen instincts; if too much water is added the pappadoms will not dry properly and thus will not cook properly. If not enough oil is added the pappadoms will crack and splinter. Kneading aerates the dough suffusing it with microscopic bubbles.
When the consistency of the dough is perfect, and the pappadom is cooked at just the right temperature, its diameter will increase by a whole 4 inches as the countless air bubbles expand.
Once prepared, the dough is hand-rolled into flat wafer-thin pancakes and dusted with rice flour to stop the raw pappadoms from sticking to each other. They are then left to dry on sun soaked roofs.
Natco Plain Madras Pappadoms are hand rolled from a dough made of urid dal flour. There are only 5 ingredients in our Natco Plain Madras Pappadoms and they are all natural:
  • Urid Flour milled to a super-fine silky consistency
  • Salt (a very particular type of salt that unfortunately, we’re not allowed to divulge!)
  • Lime water (calcium carbonate solution)
  • Coconut oil native to the region
  • Rice Flour faintly dusting the surface
At 9.5 to 10 inches our pappadoms are perfect for sharing. They can be microwaved but are best fried in coconut oil (other oils can be used). Make sure the oil is boiling and then submerge for 3-4 seconds. Watch amazed as the pappadom expands*. Use tongs to remove and let the excess oil drip off before allowing to cool. Serve with raw diced onions, pickles, chutneys and sauces.
*if the pappadom doesn’t expand by at least 3 inches the oil is probably not hot enough.