My friend Hetal from Milk & Cardamom and I have collaborated to create a beautiful Diwali box, with plenty of sweet and savory ideas that you can make for your near and dear ones for Diwali! 🙂 Diwali is a time for celebration, sharing, family time, love and laughter. Diwali brings color and light to the home and to our hearts. Both of us will be making 3 sweets and 1 savory dish to share with you – one each day, and we will share the final Diwali box next week! 🙂 We are so excited to share all these goodies with you!! I hope you enjoy them as much as we have enjoyed making them and photographing them.
The third recipe I am sharing today is a savory recipe : Bajra or Pearl Millet Crackers. Mom would make these bajra puris or Millet Puris, made with millet flour. Millet flour is very good for you, and much better for health than using whole wheat flour which is difficult for digestion. If you want to read about the health benefits of millet, I have linked an article here. My Ba or maternal grandmother loves using bajra in her foods. They are good for you, and especially help to keep you warm, with the heat that is generated in the body because of the millet flour. My Ba has bajra rotis especially in the winter time, as winters are freezing in London(that’s where she stays!). My parents used to love bajra rotlas too and we would eat it with fenugreek cooked in Indian spices with jaggery on the side. A very simple meal but yet so very satisfying for the soul.
Mom would make bajra puris, which are pure pearl millet flour, in which she would add fenugreek, cilantro, sesame seeds, carom seeds for easy digestion(since the puris are fried), cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, green chillies, turmeric, salt, mango powder(for a tad bit sourness), and sugar(to balance out all the flavors). It is all mixed together to form a dough. Since Bajra flour is gluten-free, it is hard to roll it out like whole wheat dough for rotis. So she would make little round balls, and using a flat base, she would put each ball between 2 sturdy plastic sheets, and press to form a round flat bread. This would be fried in hot oil. It puffs up ever so slightly, and is fantastic with some masala chai! It is one of the most quintessential Gujarati snacks, that are so popular. All Gujarati snacks require a hot cup of masala chai lol. Else it does not work!
So this third recipe is inspired by these bajra puris. I use the same dough, but I vary the proportions of the dough to add in whole wheat flour, along with the pearl millet flour so that it can be easily rolled out thin enough to cut into little squares, to make crackers. I also add in dried fenugreek leaves instead of fresh, because it is not the season for fresh currently. I make the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes to half hour. Then I divide the dough into two halves. I roll out the dough pretty thin, and use this Ateco Pastry Cutter to cut equal squares. You can determine your size, but I do like 1 inch squares. This pastry cutter helps to get even pieces, and is great for cutting cheesecake squares, blondie squares, even for making Danish or croissants! Once they are cut into squares, place them on a baking sheet with parchment paper, that has been sprayed with olive oil spray to prevent it from drying out. Once they are placed neatly on the sheet, spray all the crackers again with the olive oil spray and bake them in the oven for 10-12 minutes. It bakes up pretty quickly, so you need to keep an eye out so that they do not burn.
They are pretty simple to make, and make a great addition to your Diwali box. They are fantastic with masala chai and I am quite happy with how these crackers turned out! 🙂 My kids think it tastes like theplas and they are not wrong LOL, as it has almost the same ingredients!
Check out Hetal’s recipe of Achaar Masala Crackers! They are crunchy and have that slight Indian pickle taste because of the pickle masala that she has put on them, and they are really delicious, especially with masala chai! Again its a great snack to take with you, in the car, picnics, while you are on the road, basically anywhere! 🙂
If you get a chance to make them, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab on Instagram and/or leave a comment below on this blog post!
Spiced Bajra(Pearl Millet) Crackers
- (Makes about 160 crackers)
- 1 cup(110 grams) millet flour or bajra flour
- ½ cup(75 grams) whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 tsp table salt
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- 2 tbsp(18 grams) sesame seeds
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ¾ tsp carom seeds
- 2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
- 2 tbsp fresh, finely chopped cilantro
- ½ tsp amchur powder
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 120 ml water water
- Oil for massaging after dough is ready
- Whole wheat flour for rolling
- Olive oil spray
- In a large bowl, add in all the dry ingredients, except oil and water and whisk to combine. Now add in the oil and water, and knead with your hands until the dough forms a nice ball. If it is still a bit dry, add in water, one teaspoon a time until it all combines well and forms a bowl. Now add in about 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and massage the dough. Cover and let it sit for half an hour.
- Now with half the dough, start rolling it into a thin layer, about 3 mm thick, into a 8*10 inch rectangle. Cut out into 1 1/2 inch squares.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Place a parchment paper on a baking tray. Use an olive oil spray to spray all over the paper. Place the squares on the baking tray. Using a fork, gently pierce each square with indentations. Spray with olive oil spray over the crackers. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Keep an eye out because the crackers cook very quickly. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.
- Place one tray at a time in the oven since the crackers cook pretty quickly. Repeat process with the second dough.
- Once cooled, store the crackers in an air tight container for a month. Enjoy with masala chai!