Mar 18, 2013

Nipattu (Thenga Vadai)

It was a cloudy Saturday and I was on a roll in the kitchen. I was already baking and decided to throw in a fried snack to perk up our palate. One of my most persistent memories of childhood are of eating pakoda and other fried snacks on rainy days sitting snugly on the divan (settee) under a blanket with a Hardy Boys book in hand and with Kishore Kumar songs to boost if my dad was in town. It is not every day that I deep fry with puris as well making a rare appearance in our house. But I definitely dont want V to miss out on the comfort of such a memory.
I was deciding between Kodbale (where I realise now that I dont have a pic of the finished product!!) or Thenga Vadai (also called Nippattu in Kannada) and T decided on Nippattu. Nippattu is traditionally a "thindi" or a snack made for Gokulashtmi but my mom is known to make it for many special occasions and sometimes on just a whim. The recipe I have used here is hers and is time tested for perfection. On all the previous occasions that I have made it, I have always added onion to the batter which gives it a very tasty MaddurVada-ish twist. This time however I went ahead and made it without the onion. I ended up with a good number of pieces to bring it along for a party that we were invited to in the evening. And I am happy to say that it got me a lot of praise and most of them thought it was store-bought till they came to know I had made it at home.

 Nippattu, also called Thenga vadai in Tamil

Servings: 30 pieces
Prep Time: 1.5 hours   Cook Time: 30 - 45 minutes


1 cup Rice flour
1/4 cup All Purpose Flour (APF)
1/4 cup Fine Semolina
1/4 cup Dalia
1/4 cup Groundnuts
1/4 cup grated Dry coconut or Copra
A pinch of asafoetida
Few Curry leaves
6 tsp Oil (to mix in batter)
2 tsp Red chilli powder (or to taste)
1/2 cup Water
Salt to taste
Oil for frying


  1. Dry roast the dalia and grind it into a fine powder.
  2. Dry roast the groundnuts, remove the skin off and grind it into a coarse powder. I used readily roasted, halved and peeled groundnuts which made this step easier.
  3. Dry roast the APF till warm to the touch.
  4. Now mix all the dry ingredients together. This is the point where salt and spice should be ratified.
  5. Add in the curry leaves as well.
  6. Add the 6 tsp of oil into the dry ingredients and mix well with hand till crumbly.
  7. Add water, a little at a time, and continue to knead till the dough forms a soft ball.
  8. Keep the dough in a covered container and allow it to sit for an hour.
  9. After an hour, heat oil in a deep heavy bottomed vesel. Spread a small polythene sheet on a flat surface and lightly oil it.
  10. Pinch off table-tennis size balls of dough and flatten it to a disk on the polythene sheet. Fingers or the base of a glass could be used for this.
  11. To get really crisp Nippattu, the dough disk needs to be real thin.
  12. Prick holes into the disk with a fork to prevent it from ballooning when it is fried
  13. Peel the disk off the plastic sheet and slide it into the hot oil.
  14. Fry till golden brown on medium heat.

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