In the northern and north-western parts of India, there is a delightfully crunchy teatime snack called Mathri. Food historians say that Mathri originated in Rajasthan. In ancient times, merchants had to travel long distances across the desert to ply their trade and they needed to carry a food item that would not turn stale and rancid over time. The Mathri emerged as a convenient snack that could be packed and carried by these merchants from place to place.
It is this delightful snack that we’ll be making today – but ours will be a healthier version made using cold-pressed Mustard Oil. The commercially prepared Mathri and the ones made by roadside tea stalls are fried in oils of dubious quality. Our homemade version will be safe and hygienic so you can reach out and grab a few whenever you feel a little peckish.
Here are the ingredients that you will require.
All-Purpose Flour (Maida): 250 grams
Whole Wheat Flour (Atta): 60 grams
Mustard Oil: 50 millilitres
Ghee: 3 tablespoons
Dry Fenugreek (Methi) Leaves: 2 teaspoons
Cumin (Jeera) Seeds: 1 teaspoon
Carom (Ajwain) Seeds: 2 teaspoons
Asafoetida (Heeng): Just a pinch
Black Peppercorns: 2 teaspoons
Salt: to taste
The quantities mentioned above are for preparing a batch of around thirty pieces of Mathri. Adjust the quantities proportionately to suit the number that you require.
Coarsely grind the black peppercorns.
Crumble the dry fenugreek leaves into flakes.
Let’s begin with the dough for your Mathri. Heat the ghee and pour it into a mixing bowl. Add the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, fenugreek, cumin, carom, asafoetida, ground black pepper and salt. Use a spoon to mix all the ingredients.
When the mixture is cool enough to touch, use your hands to mix the ghee evenly with the flour and dry spices.
Make sure that the mixture is dry and granular (like crumbs). This will ensure that your Mathri will have a crisp flaky texture – the way it is meant to be.
Add water, a little at a time, to make soft dough. You don’t have to knead this dough the way you do while making Chapatti. Just make sure the dough holds all the ingredients together without falling apart. When the dough is ready, cover it with a moist kitchen towel and keep aside for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, divide the dough into small portions that can be rolled into little balls using the palms of your hands. You should have approximately 30 balls of dough when you are done.
Use a rolling pin to flatten each ball to medium thickness. You don’t have to roll them into perfect round shapes; Mathri tends to be a bit irregular. You may also notice that the edges are slightly broken; that doesn’t matter either.
When you are done rolling, use a fork to prick holes in the round dough pieces. This will ensure proper, uniform frying.
Heat the Mustard Oil in a pan on Medium heat. After a while the oil will reach its smoking point and will emit whiffs of aromatic white smoke. Your oil is now ready for you to start the deep-frying process.
Deep-fry the round pieces of dough, turning them over at frequent intervals to ensure even frying on both sides. Fry till they turn golden brown in colour.
If you find the fried dough turning dark brown (or getting burnt rather quickly), turn the flame down to Low.
Do the deep-frying in batches to make the process more manageable and to avoid burning the dough.
Place the freshly fried Mathri on paper towels to drain the excess oil. Let them cool down to room temperature and then store them in an airtight container.
Your delicious homemade Mathri is an ideal accompaniment for a hot cup of tea. In north India, it is also eaten as a snack with mango pickle.
You can find more recipes at : https://www.purioilmills.com/recipes-in-english/