mathri recipe | crispy, savory, flaky indian crackers | tea time snack recipes

Mathri is a crispy, savory, flaky Indian cracker that has a great shelf life, goes along well as a travel snack, can be enjoyed with some lemon pickle, and is a perfect accompaniment to Chai - the Indian tea.

And making mathri is very simple - for lazy people like me, what could be better than making something one time and enjoying it for the rest of the month?!  Pretty much on the same lines of namak paare and shakkar paare.

mathri - savory, crispy, flaky, Indian crackers
Mathri is mixed with ghee or oil, flavored with carom seeds (ajwain) or cumin seeds (jeera), and eaten with tea, lemon pickle, or as is.  I wanted to know if there was any difference between using oil or ghee and using ajwain or jeera in making mathri.  So I experimented with both.  Since the procedure is exact for both kinds of mathri, it was not much effort testing both recipes.

Result: both kinds of mathri have the same texture and taste the same.  If you are more of an ajwain lover or jeera lover, then only your preference for the flavor and aroma of mathri would make a difference to which recipe you want to choose.

Recipe for Mathri
adapted from Shobha Indani
yield: about 18-20 mathri

What you need to make mathri:
1 cup all-purpose flour (maida) - scoop & sweep method
2 Tbsp fine semolina flour (sooji)
1 tsp carom seeds (ajwain) or cumin seeds (jeera) – slightly crushed
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp melted ghee or oil
¼ cup water

How I made these mathri:
1.  Mix dry ingredients together: all-purpose flour + semolina flour + seeds + salt.  Rub ghee/oil into dry ingredients until you can form lumps as shown in picture below.  Then add 1 Tbsp water at a time and try forming a dough but do not overknead it.  Also, DO NOT ADD ALL THE WATER AT ONCE.  The dough has to be thick and firm using just the minimal amount of water required.  Cover the dough and keep aside for 30 minutes.

2.  First divide the dough into 18-20 balls, flatten between palms, then roll out each.  Does not have to be perfect round or flat or perfectly shaped into round mathri.  The imperfections of a mathri make them look even better.  Something to think about.
roll out mathri
3.  With a fork, prick each side of each rolled out mathri so that it does not puff up when frying.  Although in masala mathri one could add spices and methi kind of things, for a plain mathri this is the kind of mathri I have been seeing and eating since childhood.  So if I see that a so-called mathri is not pricked, OR if it is puffed up like gol gappa instead of flat, OR if it is rolled out large like a papdi/khaaja instead of small pieces - then that is NOT mathri to me.
prick with fork all over to avoid puffing up
4.  Heat enough oil on medium heat in the wok/kadhai to fy at least 6-7 mathri at a time.  When the oil is hot (test by dropping a tiny piece of dough), put the heat on medium and fry mathri in batches.  Adjust between medium-low and medium heat.  Fry until golden brown or light brown.

Do NOT fry on low or high heat.  If you fry on very low heat, a) it wastes time unnecessarily, b) dough drinks more oil, c) mathri becomes hard.  If you fry on high heat, a) mathri will not fry well from inside, b) mathri will become soft instead of remaining crisp rest of the month.
fry mathri on medium-low heat
After frying, let the excess oil from mathri drain on a paper towel/absorbent paper/newspaper.  When the mathri cools down completely, transfer to an airtight container, and enjoy it for the rest of the month with chai (Indian tea), achaar (pickle), or take it along with you when you are traveling.
crispy, savory, flaky mathri
Baked Mathri:
I reserved some of the rolled out mathri and baked them @ 350F for 15 minutes on one side, then flipped and baked for another 15 minutes.  It was a successful experiment and I came to the conclusion that there is a lot of consumption of oil you can avoid if you bake mathri instead of frying.
Baked Mathri - 15 mins @ 350F on each side
If I mix the fried and baked mathri together, there are certain ways you could tell the difference between the two.  For example baked mathri has an even color whereas fried mathri could have some lighter-darker brown shades.  Baked mathri is completely flat whereas fried mathri has a slight curve and slight crease.  Fried stuff will definitely taste better, but baked mathri was still good enough and crisp, but not flaky.  Though you could increase oil/ghee by 1-2 Tbsp in the dough (and avoid the excess frying in oil) for a more flaky baked mathri.

mathri with chai
mathri - indian crackers

Your challenge:  What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear "mathri"?
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1 comment:

  1. Mathri and chai is all time fav combo ...looks so yum ..baking is sure good


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