Reading gives you a place to go when you have to stay where you are. Only the person who loves to read will understand the depth of the above sentence. So what’s there in a book- a black and white book with no pictures? Why do people enjoy reading? Well a book is one’s best companion-The smell and the feel of the paper, the way the story visualizes right in the front of your eyes- it is so magical and satisfying. Blissful!
Mr. Husband and I, we both love to read and get lost in the world the writer has painted but our choices are so different. What kind of books do you like to read, ofcourse apart from cookbooks? I like the ones that are not real, one that is not based on true events- I prefer fictitious novels, the ones that are light, dramatic; the ones that I can envisage. For example, even though Harry Potter novels are not based on real happenings, I just cannot imagine the magic school, wizards etc, so I just don’t read them but Mr. Husband is a huge fan of Harry Potter series.
Recently I finished reading The Fault In Our Stars and I have to say it is such a masterpiece, so well written in plain simple words. Currently a friend who visited us from India gave me 3 novels. All these novels are written by Indian writers, ah! upcoming writers-the college graduates. The story, the description, the narration is so simple and plain that I finished 2 books in 2 days. Yours Sarcastically was just okay, nothing special-just okay. Oh! Shit Not Again was bad-a real bad novel; there was nothing impressive at all.
Out of the three, I am enjoying reading Urban Shots Bright Lights and I can say it’s good. It contains many short stories (2-3 pages each) written by fresh writers. Each story is light, clean, subtle and nice. Some stories are real heart touching ones that keeps you hooked; some gives you a message for life in the end; some you can just relate to; while some were just satisfactory. As I read and turn the pages I need something to nibble along. A cup of my favorite green tea with something namkeen/salty is my favorite thing.
Tea time snacks in India are must. Be it cold snacks like Mathri or Haldiram Channa Dal or be it hot snacks like Kanda Poha or Kothimbir Vadi. Well, having hot accompaniment with tea is a good idea but for morning teatime, in evening cold crispy snacks is what I wish for. And for such time, I stick to Plain Namak Pare, Cubes of Salted Crackers.
Namak Pare- are traditional snack made in India, generally during festive period. There is nothing special about them- yes, they are plain salty tiny bits of crackers that are deep fried for the crunchy finish. Some people add cumin (jeera) or even carom seeds (ajwain) in the dough but I think-The simplicity- no over use of spices and flavours is what make this snack outstanding from other Indian things. Plain and simple is better- All I can say is- Do try!
All purpose flour (Maida) - 1 cup
Semolina (coarse sooji or rava) - 2 tablespoons
Black pepper powder - ¼ teaspoon
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tablespoons +for frying
Water - ¼ cup + ½ tablespoon
Take all purpose flour, coarse sooji, salt in a bowl. Mix well.
Add oil. And rub it with flour mixture and it will resemble crumbly texture.
Now add little water at a time and start kneading the dough. Make semi-soft dough.
Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, knead the dough once again. Divide it into two equal portions.
Flatten it our between your palm. Start rolling it into a big circle (9 inch in diameter) using rolling pin and rolling board. While you are rolling, heat the oil in a pan on medium heat for frying namak para.
Cut into desired shape using sharp knife. (see notes)
Once oil is hot, add few pieces of namak para in the oil. Do not over crowd them. Flip them half way through for even browning. Fry it from both sides till it become golden brown and crispy.
Remove it to the paper towel lined plate, so it absorbs the excess oil.
Let it cool completely, about 20 minutes.
You can cut into any shape you want to. Like diamonds, squares and even rectangle.
I opted to make plain salted ones, you can add sesame(til), carom seeds(ajwain) or cumin seeds(jeera) if you want extra flavour.
For a healthier version, use half wheat flour and half all purpose flour.
Once it gets cooled completely, store it in air tight container. This stays fresh for 3-4 weeks.
Serve with tea or coffee, or enjoy as it is.
It is a great alternative to chips. So you can serve as a side with burgers, sandwiches or frankie rolls.