My happiest food memories as a kid are related to Diwali and Janmashtami (Gokulashtami/Krishna Jayanti), the birthday of Lord Krishna. It is a happy time for most children. When else do you get such sweets and savouries as Thirattipal (or pal khova/palgoa; similar to the north Indian), thattai (a deep fried savoury biscuit made with rice powder), seedai (a fried M&M sized savoury), murukku (another fried savoury made with a rice powder-based dough with twisted concentric circles)!
I was always the first one at home to dig into these goodies as soon as they were offered to Krishna after the evening Pooja. Ok, I have to concede that was because I am ten years elder than my li’l brother and I could physically edge him out in such challenges! As a kid, I’d down one fried savoury dish after another without any problem. Over the years though, guilt started kicking in.
After I started blogging, I came across a lot of blogs that had ‘baked’ versions of traditional fried stuff. That set me thinking. Why shouldn’t I try my hand at baking thattais this Janmashtami? This was over two months ago in August. I did end up baking half the dough. The other half was deep fried to compare the two. Hubby’s office colleagues gave rave reviews for the baked version.
The two darker thattais on the left are fried. The rest are baked ones. I must apologise for the ridiculously bad image. I had taken a hurried picture right after the puja and planned to shoot proper pictures the next day. Sadly, most of the thattais were distributed and eaten before i managed more pictures.
While I liked both, the baked version felt somewhat gritty thanks to all that rice flour in there. I think cutting down rice a little and using additional urad dal or roasted gram flour to compensate, plus some extra butter in the dough would have made it much better. I’m hoping to try this with changes this Diwali.
Have you tried baking thattais or any other traditional fried goodies with success? Let me know. Do share your recipes/post links too, if you can.
Raw rice – 1 cup
Urad dal – 2 tbsp (See notes)
Butter – 2 tbsp
Coconut grated – 4 tbsp
Red chilly powder – 2 tsp
Salt – 1 tbsp (to taste)
Asafoetida – 1 tsp
Roasted gram/groundnuts – 2 tsp (Optional)
Curry Leaves – a few (Optional)
Oil (if you plan to fry)
Wash rice well and drain in a colander for 30 mins OR drain water and spread on a dry clean piece of cloth and let dry for 30 mins
The rice will be more or less dry at this stage. Do not worry if it seems damp. Grind it to a very fine powder (See NOTES)
Dry roast rice flour for a couple of mins till the grains seem separate. No need to roast till it changes colour. Roasting the flour makes the resulting thattai very crisp
Dry roast urad dal till it becomes fragrant; no need to let it turn red/brown. Grind it into a fine powder once cool (See NOTES)
Mix all dry ingredients and rub butter into it
Add enough water (roughly ¾ cup – 1 cup) to make a soft pliable dough (like you’d make for rotis)
Preheat oven to 180 deg C OR Heat oil at this stage if you plan to fry
Pinch out 1 tbsp-sized balls
Flatten on your greased palm (2-3 inch diameter) and carefully place on baking tray OR drop into hot oil and deep fry
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 mins. Then flip over very carefully (some may be brittle and might break) and bake for another 14-15 mins.
1. It is difficult to powder just 2 tbsp of urad dal. So, you could powder 4-5 tbsp and use 2 tbsp in this recipe and keep rest for later
2. You can use roasted gram instead of urad dal. No need to roast these
3. We usually get the roasted rice ground at a mill. You could do this at home too. Just powder the stuff in small batches in your mixer-grinder or food processor
4. We made thattais with 4 cups of rice and got around 65 of them. They were not evenly sized. They were anywhere between 2.5 inches and 3.5 inches wide