When you live away from the place where you were born, bred and spread, there are times when nostalgia hits and it hits you hard. Although rarely, there are times when I do miss Bangalore terribly. However, the nostalgia is never about the incredible sights or the malls or the shopping sprees. It's about those simple and silly things that we mostly tend to take for granted. Like the smell of ink on the news paper (we never get the news paper here) or the rasam my ajji made or amma's rava kesari, etc.
Apart from all these, one memory (or should I say aroma) that makes me most nostalgic is the Iyengar bakeries of Bangalore. These omnipresent bakeries dot every large street in Bangalore Suburb. My own haunts in Jayanagar and Banashankari had some of the best bakeries. The honey cakes, dil pasand and dilkush and the toasts were a regular part of my growing years. If these catered to my sweet tooth then the vegetable puffs, the toast and the palya buns were the obvious choice when it came to my savory cravings.
In spite of all these wide range off goodies, that the Iyengar bakeries offered, I became particularly addicted to these savory crackers. There was something about these sweet and spicy discs that made it hard to resist. There was a time when one was sure to find two packets of these crackers in the cookie jar. Even after all these years, I make sure to gorge on at least one packet of baked nippattu when I visit bangalore. S tells me that he can see the pure joy spread on my face whenever I take a bite of this herb filled cracker.
So on my last visit to Bangalore, I decided to carry the two packets of nippattus (I would have carried more if it wasn't for the weight restrictions). But then they were over before I knew it and I started craving for them again. But this time, I decided to make these myself. I had read the ingredients on the label and I vaguely remembered it. So I just decided to give it a try.
Bingo!! The crackers turned out very close to the ones they sell in the Iyengar bakeries. The taste was a brilliant combo of slightly sweet and spicy and the texture was super crispy. These crackers were a perfect accompaniment to my evening coffee. So here's my version of the famous baked nippattu.
Baked Nippattu recipe:
Preparation time: 20min
Baking time: 15-20 min
Makes- approximately 3-4 dozen crackers
All purpose flour- 2cups or 480gms+ 3tbsp to dust
Corn flour- 1tbsp
Milk powder- 2tsp
Baking soda- 1tsp
Salt- 1to 1tspn or to taste
Paprika powder- 1tsp
Butter- 4tbsp melted
Vegetable oil- 3tbsp
Coriander leaves- 2tbsp finely chopped
Mint leaves- 2tbsp finely chopped
Curry leaves- 10-12 finely chopped
Onion- 1 large, finely chopped
Green chilies- 2, finely chopped
Asafetida- a large pinch
White sesame seeds- 1-1/2tbsp, toasted
Water to knead as required
- Sift the all purpose flour along with the corn flour, milk powder, baking soda and salt to a large bowl. Add the sugar and mix well.
- Add chopped coriander leaves, mint leaves, curry leaves, asafetida, chopped onion, green chilies, toasted sesame seeds, melted butter and oil and mix well.
- Sprinkle water a few spoons at a time and mix to form a stiff dough. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 15-20min
- Divide the dough into four portions and roll each portion into a disc of 1mm thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut out the crackers into desired shapes and prick holes into the dough using a fork.
- Alternatively, pinch small lemon sized balls, place them between two plastic sheet and press to flatten it into a disc.
- Arrange the crackers on a prepared baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 15-20 min, flipping once after 10min.
- Repeat the procedure with the remaining dough.
- Allow the crackers to cool completely before storing them in air tight containers.