This post has been lying in my drafts for a long time. I made these during Diwali (November of last year) and wanted to post them before Diwali but somehow that never happened.
Since I am hardly cooking here in India, (I do bake though and am learning a little from the talented cook my parents have at their house), I thought I should make use of that fact and post recipes that have been pending for a long time.
Mathri or Matthi is a very famous indian tea time snack option in North Indian homes. They are crisp, flaky, buttery biscuits/cookies/crackers, usually salty but can be made sweet as well. The basic mathri is a blend of hot melted ghee, salt and refined flour to which one can add a variety of spices such as ajwain(carom seeds), kalaunji (onion seeds), kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves), shahjeera(caraway seeds) and even peppercorn.
Mathris use hot oil/ghee to form a crumbly dough, which makes the mathris extremely flaky or ‘khasta’ as they say in Hindi, and helps it preserve for long periods. The thumb rule is to not compromise on the fat, less sprinkling of water and a stiff dough to get that really flaky, crunchy texture.
You will find mathris in different shapes. Some are thin and perfect to have with pickle. Some are long strips and perfect one-two bite snacks. Growing up and spending a lot of time in Punjab during holidays, I have always had the slightly thick version with black peppercorn in the mathri.
The original recipe which I had noted down from one of my mom’s diaries the last time I came to India calls for all purpose flour. To make it a slightly healthy, I used whole wheat flour. Next time I will try baking instead of frying them.
- 600 gms all purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour)
- 2 tsp ajjwain
- 4 tbsp ghee or groundnut oil or butter
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tbsp whole black pepper
- oil for frying
- Knead all the ingredients into a hard dough, making sure that you mix the ghee/oil with the flour gently, which will make the mathri crisp.
- Add very little water to make a tight dough from all the ingredients.
- Leave the dough covered with a wet cloth for 15 minutes.
- Make balls and flatten them slightly.
- Put the flattened balls into hot oil and cook on low flame till golden brown in color (remember the color of the Mathris will become one more shade darker once you have taken them out from the oil).
- Keep turning the Mathris while frying on low flame so that they are cooked nicely from both sides.
- Fry on medium-low heat. If cooked on high flame, the mathris will become brown in color quickly but will not come out crisp and will be soft.
- You can store the mathris for about 20 -25 days in an airtight container. They taste good with pickles.
- Some suggest to puncture the mathris with fork or knife in some places (so that they don't puff up like pooris), but sincemine were little thick, I didn't puncture them as I knew they won't puff up.
- You could substitute a little semolina flour in combination with wheat flour.
- You can use any combination of flavor you like- dried fenugreek leaves, onion seeds, carom seeds, caraway seeds, peppercorn- adding/removing whatever you like/don't like.