This post is the last one covering my Diwali sweets/snacks preparation. I am covering 3 snacks in one go – Mathri, Namkeen, and Shakarpare. All these are traditional classic North Indian tea time snacks. These are made with all-purpose flour, carom seeds (for the flavour) and, some oil/clarified butter (to make it crispy/flaky). Note that these snacks are not limited to Diwali only; they are prepared at Holi and perhaps throughout the year.
A brief on each of these savouries:
- Namkeen is a diamond shaped crispy salted cracker, made using all-purpose flour.
- Mathri is a flaky biscuit (slightly thick and round) made using all-purpose flour.
- Shakarpare is made of whole wheat flour and sugar, and is a soft sweet cracker.
I prepared these savouries for Diwali using only one dough, except for Shakarpara. Feel free to be creative in giving shapes to these savoury treats.
The ingredients for Namkeen and Mathri are:
- All-purpose Flour (Plain flour / Maida) : 4 cup
- Carom seeds (Ajwain) : 1 tsp
- Salt : 1 1/2 tsp or to taste
- Oil / clarified butter (ghee) : 5 Tbsp ( I have used oil)
- Water : as needed (warm)
- Oil : for deep frying
Method (for Dough):
Take a big bowl and add all-purpose flour, oil, carom seeds, and salt. Mix them well with hands.
The oil, which we add in the flour before kneading, is called moyan (in local Hindi / North Indian dialect). Moyan defines the level of crispiness, softness and flakiness of these snacks. If the moyan is less than perfect, the namkeen / mathris will turn out hard. To achieve/check the right level of moyan, mix oil / ghee well with the all-purpose flour. Now take some of this flour in your hand, try to make a fist with it and, then open your hand again. If the flour holds its shape then the moyan is right but if it gets scattered then you may need to add more oil / ghee.
Now slowly add warm water to the all-purpose flour mix (the all-purpose flour will need less water) and knead a firm dough. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and keep it aside for 20-30 minutes.
Divide this dough into 3 equal parts.
Method for Namkeen (also known as Nimki / Matar):
Take 1 part of the dough and roll it out as a very big circle. Remember that the rolled out dough should not be too thin or too thick.
Now cut this big circle with a knife in shape of parallel vertical lines. Now cut this diagonally so that you get diamond shapes.
Place these diamond shaped raw Namkeens on a paper or a paper towel for at least 1-2 hours so that it become a bit dry and thus will absorb less oil while deep frying.
Now deep fry these raw Namkeens on a medium flame till they turn golden brown in colour. Drain out the excess oil on the Namkeens by using a paper towel.
Serve these Namkeens warm with tea / coffee or, store in an airtight container for consuming over the next 3-4 weeks.
Method for Mathri (also known as Mathi / Papdi):
Take 1 part of the dough and pinch out very small balls. Press them with hands and make thick round Mathris.
You can use a rolling pin to roll out the balls into small roundels or use a cookie cutter to give perfect round shape. I personally love the irregular shaped Mathris created by pressing the dough by hands.
Place these Mathris on a paper for 1-2 hours so that they become a bit dry and thus will absorb less oil while deep frying.
Deep fry these Mathris in oil on a medium flame; note that these Mathris will take more time than Namkeens as they are thick. Deep fry till they become golden brown in colour. Drain out the excess oil on the Mathris by using a paper towel.
Serve these crispy, soft and flaky Mathris with tea / coffee or, enjoy them with pickle or, store in an airtight container for consuming over the next 3-4 weeks.
Now I am describing below a beautiful version of Mathri – Rose Mathri. I have learnt this from my dear friend Garima. She had given a very beautiful rose shape to the Mathri; and being a rose lover I couldn’t resist myself to make those pretty Rose Mathris. They looked so beautiful; even while making I was very happy to see each of them blooming in my kitchen. 🙂 Thanks Garima for this !
The process to make the raw rose Mathri is outlined below. Note that once prepared, they will need to be deep fried in the same manner as described above for Mathri.
Take 1 part of dough and roll it out in a very big circle. This should be thin and not thick. Now take a cookie cutter or a small bowl and cut in the small circles. Take out these circles and mix the residues in the remaining dough.
Take 5 such small circles and arrange them overlapping to each other.
Now start rolling from the upper circle and roll till the last circle, so that it looks like a cylinder.
Then cut this cylinder in the middle by a knife.
You will get 2 equal parts and each of them will look like a rose. Hence the name Rose Mathri !!
I prepared these Rose Mathris a day before Diwali, and am still contemplating eating them as they simply look gorgeous in the airtight container 🙂
The ingredients for Shakarpare are:
- Whole wheat flour : 1 cup
- Sugar syrup : 1 cup (these are mainly made from jiggery but I have utilised the leftover sugar syrup after making Gulab Jamun)
- Oil / Clarified butter : 1 Tbsp
Method for Shakarpare:
Take the whole wheat flour in a big bowl, and mix oil in it. Now slowly add the sugar syrup in it and, knead a hard dough. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and keep it aside for 20-30 minutes.
Divide this dough into 2 parts. Roll out the dough in a very big and thick circle. Now cut the circle in vertically parallel lines by a knife and then cut in horizontal lines also to make square shaped Shakarpare. (or you can make any shape that you fancy).
Place these raw Shakarpare on a paper or a paper towel for 1-2 hours so that they become a bit dry and thus will absorb less oil while deep frying.
Deep fry these raw Shakarpare in a medium hot oil till it they become golden brown in colour. These will cook quickly as compared to Namkeen/Mathri (because of the use of whole wheat flour). Drain out the excess oil on the Shakarpare by using a paper towel
Serve these sweet Shakarpare warm or, store in an airtight container for consuming over the next 3-4 weeks.
Insider Tips / Finer Points:
- You can add some whole wheat flour and semolina with the all-purpose flour to make it more healthy but note that the taste will also vary.
- You may add dried fenugreek leaves and black pepper in the Mathris to make masala Mathris.
- You may give different shapes by using cookie cutter (like heart, star, moon etc.,).
- You can even bake these snacks instead of deep frying. Bake them on 180°C for 10-20 minutes; baking time will depend on the thickness of Namkeen / Mathri. If they are thick then it will take more time so check in between and, bake them till they become golden brown.