Namak Para Recipe
Mar 14, 2023
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Namak Para is crispy fried savory Indian snack made with flour, spices and ghee (or oil). These are best enjoyed with a cup of masala chai. My mom would often make a batch of these crunchy namak para during festivals like Holi & Diwali. But if you ask me. you don’t need an occasion to munch on them. They are highly addictive! They are traditionally deep fried but you can also air fry or bake them for a healthier option.
When mom used to prepare for Indian festivals back home, I used to be most excited about the homemade snacks, like chivda, khurma and particularly Namak Para. Ever since I can remember these have been my favorite snack. They are so basic yet so good. You don’t need a ton of ingredients to make namak para at home, just some flour, semolina for the crunch and spices to flavor it.
Table of Contents
What is Namak Para
Namak Para (or namak pare) is a fried savory crunchy snack which is often made for Indian festivals like Diwali/Holi. It can be known by various names, like in my home, we would often just call it “mathri”. Some people also call it “nimki”. They are crunchy and have a flaky texture.
Namak Para is usually diamond shaped although we sometimes also make them rectangular or square. But usually in stores you will find them to have a diamond shape. They are flavored with spices like ajwain /carom seeds (most common), chilli powder, black pepper powder, kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves), cumin seeds etc.
All purpose flour (maida): the traditional namak para is made with plain flour aka maida. Using maida makes the namak para lighter. You can make them with atta (whole wheat flour) to make them healthier. Or even replace 50% of the all purpose flour with atta. You can even add oats to the dough and make Oats Namak Pare. This namak para recipe uses just plain flour.
Semolina (sooji): adding sooji to your namak para dough makes the namak pare crispy. This is however optional, you can get crispy namak para even without the sooji.
Spices: I like flavoring the namak para with ajwain (carom seeds), this is an absolute must. You can also add some black pepper or kasuri methi for flavor. And of course you have to add salt, that is non-negotiable.
Oil (or ghee): Adding melted ghee or oil to fried snacks is a common practice which results in a flaky texture. You need to add the oil or ghee and then rub it between your palms to incorporate it well with the flour.
Step by Step Pictures – How to Make Namak Para
1- To a large bowl/paraat add the following:
- 2 cups all purpose flour/maida (260 grams)
- 4 tablespoons sooji/semolina (56 grams)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ajwain (carom seeds)
2- Mix everything together using your hands or wire whisk.
3- Then add 3 tablespoons of melted ghee (or you can also use oil).
4- Mix the ghee into the flour by rubbing it between your palms. Do this for 2 minutes until the flour mixture resembles crumbs. This will ensure that the ghee is well incorporated into the flour and your namak para is flaky.
5- Press some flour between your palm and it should hold its shape and not crumble- this indicates that ghee was enough and well incorporated.
6- Now, start adding water, little by little.
7- You would need around 1/2 cup water but this amount may differ depending on the quality of the flour being used.
8- Knead to make a slightly tight dough.
9- Cover the dough with a damp cloth or paper towel and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
10- Once the dough has rested, divide it into 2 parts. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rough circle of 1/4-inch thickness.
11- Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into diamond cut/shape by cutting vertically first and then cutting horizontally at an angle. You can also cut them into square or rectangle shapes but diamond shape is more popular with namak para.
12- Roll and cut until you are done with all the dough.
13- You can make them thinner if you like, I keep them 1/4 inch thick.
14- Once all the dough is cut and shaped, transfer all the namak pare into a tray or plate.
15- Heat oil in a wok/kadai on medium low heat. Drop the namak para into the kadai once the oil is hot. Do not overcrowd the kadai and fry them in batches. Fry on low heat until they are golden brown in color, this takes around 8 to 10 minutes so be patient and don’t increase the heat to high. If you fry them in hot oil, your namak para will not turn out crispy.
16- Once fried, take them on a plate or baking tray lined with a paper towel to soak any excess oil. Fry the remaining batches similarly. Let them cool down and then store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Air Fryer Namak Para
I knew you guys would ask if we could air fry the namak para and so don’t worry, I tried it for you guys. You will follow the same recipe and after cutting them into diamond shape, preheat your air fryer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Then place the namak para into your air fryer in a single layer. You will need to air fry in batches depending on the size of your air fryer. Spray the namak pare with an oil spray and air fry at 370 F for 10 to 12 minutes in a single later. Air fry all the batches similarly. Every air fryer is different so keep an eye after 8 minutes.
The difference I find between deep fried namak para and air fried namak para is in the texture. They both are crispy but the deep fried ones are more flaky. The air fried ones are just plain crispy (but good nonetheless).
Baked Namak Para
To bake the namak para, use the same recipe and then preheat your oven to 375 F degrees. Arrange the cut namak pare on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375 F degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Flip them at the halfway mark. Keep an eye after 15 minutes as you don’t want them to burn.
Namak Para with Atta (Whole Wheat Flour)
If you wish, you can replace the plain flour with atta (whole wheat flour) in this recipe. The resulting whole wheat namak para are heavier in texture than the traditional ones made with maida. You would also need more water in the dough if you are replacing all the flour with maida. Since whole wheat flour absorbs more water, you will need more water to bring the dough together.
You can either deep fry or air fry these as well.
Store namak para in an airtight container at room temperature. They stay good for 2 weeks or even more. I always finish them way before that.
Expert Tips & Notes
- Do not skip sooji/semolina in this recipe, it makes the namak pare crispy and also flaky. I have made namak para with flour only and while that turns out okay, the one with added sooji is much better.
- I flavored these namak pare with only salt and carom seeds (ajwain). There’s so much more you can add to flavor these, like kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves), sesame seeds, cumin seeds, black pepper, or spices of your choice. But the very basic namak para is usually just flavored with salt and ajwain.
- Make sure to incorporate the ghee very well with the flour. Rub the flour between your palms after adding ghee for a good 2 to 3 minutes. This is what makes the namak para flaky. Once it’s nicely incorporated, the mixture will resemble crumbs.
- Do not forget to fry these on a low heat. It will take some time for these to get done but if you lose your patience and increase the heat to high, your namak pare might not turn out as crispy as you want them to be. So, fry on low heat.
This post has been updated from the recipe archives, first published in October 2014.
Namak Para Recipe
- 2 cups all purpose flour maida, 260 grams
- 4 tablespoons sooji semolina, 56 grams
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ajwain carom seeds, can reduce to 3/4 teaspoon if you find the flavor too strong
- 3 tablespoons ghee melted, 45 ml (or use oil)
- water to knead the dough, around 1/2 cup (4 oz/120 ml)
- Take a large bowl, and to that add flour, sooji, 1 teaspoon salt and ajwain. Mix with your hands or a whisk.
- Add 3 tablespoons of melted ghee (or you can also use oil) to the flour. Start mixing the ghee with the flour by rubbing it between your palms. This step is important for the flaky texture of the namak para so do this for 2 minutes. Once done, the dough should hold its shape when pressed between palm.
- Now, start adding water, little by little and knead to make a slightly tight dough. I used around 1/2 cup water. Cover the dough with a damp cloth of paper towel and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Once the dough has rested, divide it into 2 parts. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rough circle of 1/4-inch thickness (or you can make them thinner). Use a sharp knife (or pizza cutter) to cut them into diamond shape. Cut the dough vertically first and then cut horizontally at an angle. Use all the dough similarly to prepare your namak para.
- Heat oil in a wok or kadai (about 2 inches of oil) on medium low heat. Once the oil is hot, drop the namak para into the kadai. Fry on low heat until they are golden brown in color. If you fry them on high heat they will not be crispy.
- Once fried, take them on a plate or baking tray lined with a paper towel to soak any excess oil. Fry the remaining batches similarly. Let them cool down and then store in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Fry on medium-low heat for crispy and crunchy namak para. If you fry these on high heat, they won’t be crispy.
- Remember to rub the ghee with the flour very well. This will ensure flaky texture of the namak para.
- Sometimes, ajwain (carom seeds) can be very strong, in such case you can use 3/4 teaspoon of ajwain in place of 1 teaspoon.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.