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What's a Pappadam?

Fine Cooking Issue 88
Photos: Scott Phillips
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Indian pappadams are tortilla-size, paper-thin, crisp wafers with a lovely nutty flavor. Made from lentil, chickpea, or rice flour, they’re available plain or accented with cumin, pepper, garlic, or chile. Usually served as a snack or as part of a meal, they add an unusual flourish to the Spinach Salad with Apples, Dried Apricots & Pappadam Croutons.

Look for them in Indian markets and in supermarkets with Indian food sections. Also spelled papad, papadum, pappadum, and poppadum, they come dried and need to be cooked briefly by frying, toasting, microwaving, or broiling (as in the salad recipe). If you can’t find them at a market, Shakti brand pappadams can be found at Pappadum.com,  we also liked the Madras brand at $3.99 for a 200-gram pack from Kalustyans.com, or try an Indian restaurant. They’ll sell them already cooked, so if you’re making the spinach salad, skip the broiling step. Well-wrapped cooked pappadams stay crisp for at least a day.


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