These lentil-bean wafers are eaten throughout India as a snack the way one would eat potato chips or popcorn in America. They may also be served along with or at the end of the meal. In India, for a snack, we would make a quick salad of onion and hot peppers tossed with lemon juice, served on top of roasted papadum. All you have to do is cook them quickly to make them crisp. In the north of India, they are preferred roasted, and, in the south, papadum is deep-fried.


To roast the papadum on a gas stove, turn the flame to medium-high. Grasping a papadum with flat tongs, hold it over the flame so that the flame just touches it, and roast, turning constantly to ensure oven roasting, until the papadum loses its pale plastic look and turn an off-white color with some black spots, 30 seconds to a minute. Serve immediately.

If you have an electric stove, you’ll need to deep-fry the papadum: Pour over 2 inches of oil into a large saucepan or medium kadai, and heat to 360°F. (To gauge the temperature of the oil without using a thermometer, drop a piece of bread about 1-inch square into the hot oil over medium heat, turning often. When the oil reaches 360°F the bread should begin to brown almost immediately and turn golden brown all over – like a crouton – in about 30 seconds). Slide a papadum into the hot oil, and cook until it puffs and turns a sandy beige color (if it browns it’s overcooked), 3 to 5 seconds. Remove from the oil with tongs, and drain on paper towels while you fry the rest of the papadums.

© Recipe Property of Suvir Saran