Monday, November 19, 2012

Ompudi - crispy savory treats with chickpea flour

What does a family get together mean to you? For me, it is lot of hugs, non stop chatter and unending supply of food whether you are meeting each other after a long gap or you have seen each other just last week. Moving away from India a decade back, the one thing I constantly miss is the impromptu visits of family & friends. I don't remember nammamma ever making food just enough for the people at home for any meal, she would always cook extra as we almost always had someone drop in unannounced. Growing up as the youngest of the cousins in the family, I saw nammamma prepare akki rotti after akki rotti for my college going older cousins during breakfast, cooking up big pots of flavorful masala uppittu for friends that dropped by on their way to some place. She would always have anna, huli/saaru (typical meals in most South Indian homes) ready for someone that might show up at lunch time or decide to stay over the night in Mysore. I have that habit ingrained in me and find it very difficult to cook in smaller quantities but am consciously making an effort to reduce the large spreads as I don't like to waste food.

Summer times were meant to be fun and completely adhoc with us kids unlike the totally planned 8-6pm summer camps my daughter is used to :-(, Summer also meant constantly looking for food in the kitchen and running out to play with friends. Nammamma used these 2 foot long metal tins we referred to them as akki dabbas - I am not sure if it was because they usually held the rice or they were meant for rice storage. These tins were also used to hold snacks (especially the savory variety) such as chaklis, kodubales, ompudi etc. While I was an impartial lover of all things spicy and all things deep fried, the ompudi held a very captivated audience in me. A bowl of ompudi and one of my favorite novels, a bowl of ompudi and a few friends to laugh around with, a bowl of ompudi and a drama club in the backyard.. you get the idea. Younger brother with a sweet tooth gave me full claim on the savory snacks in those tins as he could be easily whisked away with a couple of rave undes which I would happily give up any day for his bowl ompudi :-), I was sneaky.

I always envy my friends that somehow end up living in the same city as their siblings/cousins/family here in the US, it is so very precious. I look forward to having family over whenever possible and I am glad that we are atleast within reasonable distances. When brother & family came over for the weekend, as both me & my brother have the same unending appetite for deep fried snacks, I made some ompudi following nammamma's recipe. Weather was perfect and we made the best use of time with some outing and some time spent at home watching a movie.

On that note, have you guys watched Kahaani - the recent Vidya Balan's movie? I think she is one of the best actresses in Bollywood that can pull off any role. We liked the movie too, very well made and nicely told story. Watch it if you haven't yet. I believe it ran well in theaters in India too and it is heartening to know that people do watch a movie with a pregnant woman as protogonist, without any heroes or songs sung while dancing in parks. Not that I have anything against them and I thouroughly enjoy my quota of DDLJ too. But Kahaani is a different kind of movie which is worth your time and money spent on it.

Having finished the ompudi over the weekend, here I am with the recipe. Let me warn you that this is a very addictive snack and unless you have amazing control over mind (which I completely suck at) you won't be able to stop eating them.
What do you need to make Ompudi?
Keeps 4 snack greedy people happy for 48 hours
4 cups of basan/chickpea flour/kadle hittu
1 cup rice flour
1 Tblsp butter
1 Tsp red chili powder (adjust to taste)
1 Tblsp salt (adjust to taste)
1 Tblsp ajwain
1/4 Tsp turmeric powder
pinch of baking soda
About 1.5 cups water
Oil to deep fry (I used Sunflower oil)
For making ompudi mixture: 
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup kadle/chatney dal/fried gram
1/2 cup grated dry coconut
1 Tblsp mustard
1/4 Tsp asafoetida
10-12 curry leaves

How do you make Ompudi? 
  • Bring the butter to room temperature by keeping it outside refrigerator for 20 minutes or so. 
  • Powder ajwain coarsely.
  • Sieve the basan, rice flour, salt, ajwain, red chili powder and baking soda together into a wide bowl. 
  • Cut the butter into chunks and add it to the dry flours, work it into the flour with your hands until it incorporates well. 
  • Heat oil in a wide pan. 
  • Add water slowly to the flours and mix well to get a soft and slightly sticky dough. 
  • Prepare the chakli/murukku press with the thin holed plate, add a handful of dough and press the mixture directly into hot oil.
  • Leave it untouched for a minute before picking up and turning over the entire ompudi with a slotted spoon. Let cook for another minute until the bubbles die down and the ompudi becomes crispy. 
  • Lift it out with a slotted spoon, drain out the oil and repeat for the remaining dough. 
How do you make ompudi mixture? 
  • You can stop at the above step and start eating the crispy ompudi, if you want to take it another notch up, follow the process below. 
  • Take a few of the ready ompudis in to a wide bowl. 
  • After finishing up all the dough, fry the peanuts and kadle in the same hot oil for a couple of minutes until peanuts start to pop and kadle turns light pink. Pick them up with a slotted spoon and drop them on top of the ompudi. 
  • Add the curry leaves into the hot oil and as soon as they turn crispy, remove them from oil and add to the peanut + kadle bowl.
  • Take a Tsp of oil, add asafoetida, mustard. Let mustard cracle, pour it over the ompudi.
  • Add the grated dry coconut on top. 
  • Crush the ompudi gently with fingers to break them into 1/2 inch long pieces, mix with the other ingredients. 
  • Take a vacation and enjoy the bowl of ompudi mixture. 
  • The recipe can be scaled up or down by adjusting the ingredients, keep the basan to rice flour ratio at 4:1. 
  • Cutting the butter into small pieces and working them into the flour gives a nice crispy texture to the ompudi. 
  • Adding chili powder is optional, you can skip it if you want it mild. 
  • If you are making a huge quantity, add water to only portions of the flour and mix them afresh as it is consumed. Else, baking soda will make the ompudi turn supple. 
  • I sometimes enjoy the ompudi mixture as a quick chat by adding a Tblsp of chopped onion (per bowl of ompudi mixture), a very finely chopped green chili, a Tblsp chopped cilantro. Mix it well and serve immediately. 
  • Keep the heat on medium high, each batch of ompudi will only need 2-3 minutes to completely cook.
  • Every time after the dough in the murukku press is finished, I smear the wall of the press with a couple of drops of water as this helps in pressing the ompudi and also makes it easy to handle the murukku press. 


prathibha Garre said...

Nice n yummy snack..I love to munch plain ompudi than in the form of mixture..

Premalatha Aravindhan said...

wow tempting snack,love it...

Kaveri Venkatesh said...

Very nicely made Omapodi...Haven't watched Kahaani but I did watch few other movies of Vidya Balan and I totally agree with you..She's one of the good actresses...

I did have MTR Lunch was too good and as you said worth the wait

LG said...

ahaaa.. I just want that bowl of mixture with a cuppa! slurrp I am drooling now :)

NamsVeni Pothas said...

yummy snack non stop munching and watching TV., or reading a novel . wow a rainyday timepass. very nice snack indeed. having family memebers around and chating ... you can re charge your batteries and mental energy. thanks for the nice snack.

Priya said...

I too share the same thoughts, missing all those chitchats with families here, we rarely have get together here and even i hate it,coz i dont feel that same happiness here.

Even i loved kahaani,indeed Vidya balan simply rocked, heard that there is a remake coming in future.

Ompudi,one of my fav snacks, but never did as urs. Will make some as this mixture form.

Julie said...

Crisp & tasty..perfect with a cup of tea:)
Join my ongoing EP events-Asafoetida OR Fennel seeds @ Divya's Culinary Journey

Roshni said...

yumm yumm.. loved reading your writeup.. it is sometimes not setting up a home away from home..

Kannada Cuisine said...

Yum crunchy stuff any time of the day :)

Murat said...

Ohhh Great.. I Liked.



Anonymous said...

Very nice write up .......just love the phrases " nammama" and Akki dabba.....coz Akki dabba was one place to look for some lips macking stuff ....completely nostalgic.....

First time here....but felt very homely,warm....
So u have a regular visitor...