Papadum are those wonderful crispy Indian appetizers they serve up at Indian restaurants to start the meal. Try them with red onion chutney and mint raita for your next Indian dinner party.
If you’ve never had papadum think corn chips, Indian style. Except instead of corn masa they are made with lentil flour. Seasoned with black pepper or cumin seed. Crunchy. Tasty. Fun.
People say papadum are a flat bread. I don’t see it. I don’t deep fry my bread. Maybe I should try that. Might be onto something. Never say never. Pretty much everything that hits a deep fryer is tasty in my book.
But I think papadum are chips. Or crisps. Depends where you’re from. Not potato. Not corn. But chips. And every bit as addictive as chips.
Papadum is Indian
Papadum are Indian. For sure. I grew up eating them. With chutneys. Or spiced onions. Vegetables. Or straight up. Like chips.
Indians love to deep fry. Pakoras. Vada. Bhajis. The list of deep fried Indian appetizers is long. Papadum are the easiest to make. So I eat them often.
They go by all sorts names too. Where I grew up they were called papor. Some people call them poppadom. Or papad. Doesn’t matter really. All Indian.
But red onion chutney and mint raita are not
Not saying mint raita is not Indian. It is. But this is a westernized version. One you get at restaurants outside of India.
Flavourful. Just not super authentic. Pretty sure mint sauce isn’t Indian. But it makes for really good mint raita.
And red onion chutney. That is pure UK. There are red onion chutneys in India. Some crazy tasty ones from Sri Lanka. This is not that. It’s good. But it has ketchup in it. There’s no ketchup in any authentic Indian recipe I know.
I’ve never seen red onion chutney outside the UK. I haven’t been to Australia though. Maybe they have it there. But in North America it’s nowhere I’ve been.
If it doesn’t look like what you’re used to it’s because I’m leaving out the food colour. That’s why it isn’t day glo red in the pictures. If you want day glo a pinch of red food colouring will fix it right up. Entirely up to you.
This is not run of the mill red onion chutney
If you are looking for the exact same red onion chutney your local takeaway serves this is not it. Not completely different. But not the same either.
It wouldn’t be glebekitchen if this was just another copycat recipe. That’s not how I roll. And it’s not how you should roll either. Let’s all dare to be different.
This is a more complex version. It has stronger Indian flavours. It’s not just ketchup and chili powder with a bit of cumin seed.
There are two things that make this special. The big one is chili masala sauce. That’s one of my new favourites. I use it in masala chicken curry. Eggs. Burgers. And red onion chutney. It’s my new ketchup. Try it.
The more subtle addition is amchoor powder. That’s dried mango powder. Adds a little tang. A hint of sour. Another great ingredient you need to learn about.
Easy mint raita is still delicious
This is about as easy as it gets. But still really tasty. I have more elaborate versions. Mint and green chili chutney from scratch. Mixed with yoghurt. Tasty stuff. But real work.
This is about mixing some stuff together in a bowl. Nothing more than that. If you can measure and you can stir then you can make this. Seriously.
It’s almost too easy. Nobody is going to believe there’s nothing to it. It’s perfect for papadum. Nice with curries that have a little sugar in them as well. Or with chicken tikka. You’ll see when you taste it.
Buy your papadum – it’s just easier
I don’t make papadum from scratch. I don’t say that often. This whole blog is about scratch cooking.
I haven’t sold out. Don’t write me off. Sometimes it just isn’t worth it. This is one of those times. You can just buy them for next to nothing. They are cheap. And tasty.
There’s a certain satisfaction you get from scratch cooking. At least I do. But sometimes it’s too much. Pretty sure most restaurants don’t make papadum from scratch either.
So give yourself a break this one time. Cooking Indian is a lot of work. If people complain make them boiled hot dogs next time. I bet they smarten up.
I’m not such a fan of the big brand pappadum. You know the ones I mean. From the company with all the Indian pastes and sauces. They are too thick. Too heavy. And way too expensive. Just not worth it.
I go for the ones you get at Indian grocers. I like them better. Like the ones you get at restaurants. They have different flavours. Plain. Black pepper. Cumin seed. All good.
Serve your papadum straight from the pan
Don’t know that I need to add anything to that statement. Do not serve cold papadum. They need to be warm. Freshly fried. No way around it.
They get flat tasting when they are cold. Bad mouth feel. It’s almost work to eat them.
Just. Not. Good. If you take one thing away from this post this should be it. Do not wait.
Once they’ve cooled just enough to eat without burning your mouth. That’s where the magic is. Delicious straight up. Better with chutney and raita. The difference is kind of unbelievable. But believe it. Please. Believe it.
Papadum with red onion chutney and mint raita. Not much to it. Easy. But really tasty. Serve it to your friends. They will thank you.
papadum with red onion chutney and mint raita
- 6 papadum available at any Indian grocery
- oil to shallow fry about 1/2 inch deep
Red onion chutney
- 1/2 medium white onion sliced thin
- 1 1/2 tbsp chili masala sauce I like Tamarina brand
- 1 1/2 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tsp cumin seed
- 1/4 tsp salt – you can go up to 1/2 tsp depending on your taste
- 1/8 tsp amchoor powder for a bit of tang
Easy mint raita
- 1/4 cup plain yoghurt
- 2 tsp mint sauce – mint sauce is not mint jelly
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh mint minced
- 1 1/2 tsp cilantro minced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- milk to thin to your desired consistency 1-2 tsp (or none at all – up to you)
Red onion chutney
- Slice your onion thinly. Really thinly. Cut it in half lengthwise. Set a half down on your cutting board. Cut off the stem end but leave the root end . Slice across the onion so you get half moon rings. Once you are done slicing the first half cut the onion slices in half to form quarter rings. Repeat the whole process with the other half onion.
- Deflame the onion. Takes the bite out of it. Put the sliced onion in a fine mesh strainer. Rinse under cold water for about a minute. Transfer the onion to a bowl of cold water. Let the onions soak in the fridge for 10 minutes. Drain. You can do this when you are making salsa as well. Smooths all the rough edges of the onion. This is a good restaurant trick for anything with raw onions.
- Combine the ketchup, cumin seed, masala chili sauce, salt and amchoor powder. Stir to combine. If you taste it now it will seem pretty spicy. Depending on the chili masala sauce you pick of course. Don't worry. The onions will dilute the heat. And papadum seem to soak up the fire. If anything it could be spicier if that's what you like.
- Fold in the onions. Mix thoroughly to coat the onions with the tomato mixture. If you have time refrigerate the red onion chutney for about an hour to mellow the flavours. It's good right away. It's a little better after it sits for a while. Taste it right before you are ready to serve and adjust the salt.
Easy mint raita
- Combine all the ingredients except the milk in a small bowl. Stir it up. Now decide if you like the texture.
- If you want it thinner add some milk, a teaspoon at a time, until you get to your desired consistency. Taste and adjust salt.
How to cook papadum
- Have your red onion chutney and mint raita ready to go before you start cooking papadum. Papadum do not taste good once they cool too much. They are great hot. They are not great cold. Trust me on this one. Nobody will like cold papadum.
- Pick a skillet a little bigger than the papadum. 10 inch diameter is about perfect. Bigger is OK but it takes more oil.
- A good set of tongs is essential here. Have them ready when you start cooking.
- Pour enough oil into your pan to get it about 1/2 inch deep. Heat your oil to around 350F. Use a thermometer. Guessing never works well. If you must guess you want your papadum to cook in about 8-10 seconds and not wind up too brown. Thermometers are way easier. Better food through science.
- Have a plate with some paper towel on it nearby. You are going to need to have it close to the pan or you are going to drip oil everywhere.
- Slip a papadum into the oil. It will start to curl and cook immediately. After around 4-5 seconds grab it with your tongs and flip it. It will be pretty solid so this should be easy. Cook another 3-5 seconds. Grab one edge of the papadum and hold it vertically above the oil to drain a bit.
- Transfer the cooked papadum to the plate with the tongs. I like to have my tongs in my dominant hand and the plate in my other hand when I do this.
- Repeat no more than 6 times. Don't serve cold papdum. Just don't do it. Have I mentioned that?
- Serve the papadum with the red onion chutney and mint raita. Let your guests decide what they want to put on their papadum.