By Dr M S Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD.
It has become a usual custom to order Masala papad along with soup as starter while having the lunch in India. Soup and Papad serves as a good appetizer. This culture even though developed in recent years in the restaurants, usage of Masala papad was there several centuries back itself.
The classical masala papadam, its basic ingredients, actions and health benefits are discussed here below –
Classical reference: Bhavaprakasha – Kritaanna varga/44, 45
Dhoomasi (Fine flour of Black gram – nutritive, energizer, bulk enhancer, aphrodisiac etc.
Hingu (asafoetida) – carminative, digestive, anti spasmodic, anti flatulent etc.
Lavana (Rock salt) – Digestive, appetizer, stimulant etc.
Jeeraka (Cumin seeds) – Anti flatulent, carminative, anti inflammatory etc.
Sarjika kshara (baking soda) – Appetizer, anti flatulent, digestive, scraping etc.
Method of preparation
Black gram flour is taken and added to water; mean while fine powder of the remaining ingredients is also added and mixed thoroughly to make into the dough.
This is spread over a plantain leaf or any suitable even plane and kept for drying in sunshine. Now a days plastic sheets, leaf mattress, cement planes etc arte also used for this purpose. Mechanical or electrical drying planes are also used in large scale manufacturing.
On complete drying (which takes 2 – 3 days duration)the papads are collected and stored.
This is kept over a warm surface of a pan or directly placed over the burning charcoal and baked. Thus obtained papad is used for serving.
While serving, now a days sliced tomato, grated mango, onion, carrot etc are also placed over the papad and garnished.
Qualities, actions, applications
Ruksha (dry), Kinchit guru (moderately heavy), ushna (warm to the body) etc.
Appetizer (ruchya), Carminative (agni deepana), Digestive (pachana) etc.
As it is a digestive, carminative and appetizer, during the fever – tastelessness – indigestion etc it can be taken.
Now a days people very often take the junk food and packed food as free time snacks. Instead, such papads are used surely it will protect the health and good benefits also obtained.
Even though papads are fried in oil in few houses, it will be always better if it is baked over the hot pan or charcoal.
Bhavaprakasha further explains that the papad prepared out of green gram is lighter in nature. The papad of Bengal gram possesses slightly Vata aggravating properties. Further he adds the caution note that the papad if fried with oil its quality is declined.
Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD