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Sourdough Surprises: Papadum crackers

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

This month's Sourdough Surprises challenge was to make crackers. I like crackers but I do have a problem with them – I tend to eat too many! They're really hard to resist, savoury ones especially, but even the plain type is moreish. It must have something to do with reliving our childhood – or further back, our baby years, when we were given rusks to chew on while we were teething. 
Well, I'm no psychologist so I shall get back to what we came here for: crackers. I decided to try making sourdough papadum.
Banana leaf rice lunch served in South Indian restaurants in Malaysia. Papadum is at top right.
Although papadums are eaten as a snack or used to scoop up dip, they're typically an accompaniment to a South Indian banana leaf lunch – rice is placed in the centre of a large piece of banana leaf and the meat, fish and vegetable dishes are placed around it with the curry poured over the rice. The food is usually eaten with the right hand although some people use a spoon and fork. The discs of papadum are crushed by hand and mixed in with the rice.
Papadum is made from a variety of flours. The dough is rolled out thinly into discs and dried out under the sun. I think all the papadum we find in Malaysia is imported from India; I doubt if anyone actually makes their own as it's so easily available.
I've seen dried papadum being cooked directly on a flame and parts of it will char, but when cooking a large batch, as in a restaurant, they are simply fried. The puff up immediately and are drained quickly, then stored in large air-tight containers.
Sourdough papadum ingredients
Besides the sourdough starter, my papadum contains multi-grain and rice flours, ghee, asafoetida powder and dried chillies flakes. I divided the dough into small rounds, then rolled them out into thin discs (about 10cm wide) on greaseproof paper. I didn't put them out in the open air but simply dried them out in a low oven, then cooked some of the papadum directly on a flame and shallow fried the others. The fried ones came out with little blisters all over the surface.
My recipe is sketchy because I didn't really measure anything but just went with the feel of the dough. Roughly, there's three-quarters of a cup of sourdough starter, a quarter cup of rice flour, two tablespoons of ghee, then enough multi-grain flour to mix into a firm dough. After that salt, asafoetida powder and chilli flakes to taste. I left the dough overnight and then carried on with the rolling and drying.


  1. I've never heard of papadum before. Pretty cool.

  2. Wow! What time is Dinner:) Great job! Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

  3. Neat! I always learn something new at sourdough sharing days!

  4. Wow, they look great! I'm really bad with padadums - like you said with crackers, they're just impossible to stop eating.

  5. YUM!!!!! Fantastic looking papadum.

  6. These are new to me as well, but they sound amazing! Thanks for the introduction!

  7. Your papadum look delicious - I totally want to give these a try.

  8. YUM! We love crackers here, too! We cannot even buy them at the store because they are gone before the day is gone. Love the papadums, they look great!

  9. Yummy! I love papadum and kept asking for more, it's free at the Indian curry house where I used to have my roti:D The waiter gave me dirty looks after a few refills:P

  10. How interesting! I never knew how papadum were made but I love eating them. I'll have to try this.

  11. I've never heard of papadum before, but it sure sounds good. Thanks for sharing!


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