Bajra Papad – the Color Secret 

Okay so this somehow sounds boring… Bajra Papad??  Eeeuw… But no.. They taste really good.. And specially with the recipe that I’m going to provide here. 

Yes, since this is a novel recipe and I myself couldn’t find the recipe online (an authentic one that worked well), I’ll be attaching the recipe without which explaining the science behind it wouldn’t be given justice. 

So, bajra Papad Is made up of bajra flour and I have also added some rice flour to it for better consistency and taste. 

Recipe: 

Preparation Time: 5mins 

Cooking Time: 5-6mins 

Post cooking Time: 10-15mins 

Drying Time: 4-5hrs (sun drying)

Yield: 50g (No. Of Papad depends on the size) 

With my size it yielded 15-20 papads. 

Ingredients:

1+ 1/2cup (300ml)  water 

1/2 cup (100ml/60g) bajra (pearl millet)  flour 

1/2 cup (100ml/59~60g) rice flour 

5g Ginger – chilli paste (3:2)

1/2tsp salt(to taste) 

1tsp whole jeera (cumin seeds) 

1tsp ajwain (carom seeds) 

1tsp sodium bicarbonate 

Method: 

1. Boil the water, add the spices (do not add the sodium bicarbonate)

2. After 1 min, mix the two flours and add to the above boiling mixture.

3. Continuously mix with a wooden ladle or spoon till thick consistency, and it becomes dough like, and leaves the sides. No flour lumps should be present. 

4. Transfer it to another plate, add Sodium bicarbonate, mix a little and let it cool till your skin can tolerate the temperature. 

5. Knead it properly to form a smooth dough. Divide into equal sized balls. 

6. Roll these balls with oil as and when required (so that the dough does not stick during rolling and tear off) Roll in between plastic sheets or ohp sheets. (make sure that the plastic sheets do not give wrinkle marks to the rolled out papads or else they will crack during drying.)

7. In case you are bad at rolling(like I am), you can use a round cookie cutter of desired size to give it proper shape. The thickness should be 0.1mm – 0.2mm. Not too thick not too thin. 

8. Spread the papads on a cotton cloth and sun dry till they are hard. Collect and store in air tight containers. 

9. These can be microwaved / roasted / fried. (I would always prefer microwaved, since they give u the original flavour of the Papad, plus its super healthy!! ) Serve with khichdi, rice, pulao, or anything u wish. You can have it as a snack too if it’s microwaved!!  

Okay, so now let’s come to the science behind all of this. 

1. Cooking of the flour and making a dough: As discussed in my earlier blog, the Cereal (rice and bajra together) gels with the water and forms a Gelatinized mixture when heated at temperetures above 80 degrees. Therefore it forms a soft dough when it cools as all the water added has been trapped between the starch granules present in the flours. 

2. Addition of sodium bicarbonate: This chemical is a leavening agent, so as a result it contributes to the softness and crispiness of the Papad. If u notice, when u add the sodium bicarb and leave for a while, and then again knead it, the dough has already risen and increases in size and volume and becomes a little softer and porous. 

Also, when we eat papads, they are not very hard nor too soft. It has a perfect blend of softness and hardness owing this property to this magic element. 

Remember I had asked you not to add soda during the boiling of water? Why did I do so?

Simplest scientific reason being, sodium bicarbonate solution has a pH of 7, which is alkaline. And when pearl millet or bajra is added to this alkaline water,  it changes color to grey as reported by this particular study  by R. D. Reichert in 1979. Therefore it is very important to understand when sodium bicarbonate should be added in different preparations. when sodium bicarbonate is added in water, the color of the papads  is brownish grey and when the soda is added after removing from the fire, the color remains green. Which is more appealing without compromising the effect of soda on the Papad. 

3. Drying: Drying is a process where the moisture content of the food is reduced to 10-12%. It is different from dehydration, since in dehydration, the moisture is reduced to less than 3%. So when we dry, the moisture content of the Papad gets evaporated and we get the hard texture of the Papad. 

Yes I know that sun drying is the most unhygienic way of drying the papads, but at this level this can be done inside homes to make it more hygienic. But if u have access to a tray dryer, you are most welcome to use it for drying the papads. 

I’m also a nutritionist, and so I would recommend healthiest of ways to eat.. You can trust me with this though!  

So, here are some tips to make these papads more healthy: 

1. You can use sprouted bajra flour instead of normal bajra flour. 

2. You can add spinach / carrot / beetroot puree or any other vegetable puree that you want. Just make sure to adjust the amount of water added. 

3. Garnish the papads with salad and coriander leaves and have it as a starter instead of an accompaniment. 

So this is all that you need to know about bajra papads. All the best for your endeavour with making good scientific papads!!