Chekkalu are a traditional fried snack from Andhra pradesh that are crunchy, delicious and addictive. These are made in most Telugu speaking homes during festivals & kids’ school holidays. Chekkalu are made using rice flour, channa dal and spices. They are a variation of the Karnataka Nippattu and Tamilnadu Thattai.
Ingredients like ginger, jeera, green chilies and curry leaves flavor up the chekkalu. Channa dal is another key ingredients that is used. It can be replaced with moong dal. Even split peanuts can be added but the traditional recipe never had them.
To make chekkalu I have used store bought flour. Traditionally these were made by washing the rice, drying and then milling rice in a flour mill. The recipe method shared in this post will give you thin, crunchy and tasty chekkalu. I have also shared tips on how to prevent them from turning soft or chewy after a few days.
Tips to make crunchy chekkalu
1. Always make them as thin as possible otherwise they will not remain crisp for a long time. After a day or 2 they may turn chewy and soft.
2. Fry chekkalu on a medium high heat. Frying them on a low heat may make them rock hard (if fried for too long). They may also turn soft with in a day or 2 if they are not fried enough.
3. Always ensure the oil is hot enough before frying. Otherwise chekkalu tend to soak up lot of oil and will not keep crisp for long time.
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp chana dal
- 1/3 to ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp chilli powder
- 2 sprigs curry leaves
- 1 tsp ginger paste or 1½ tsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 green chilli paste or minced (optional)
- ¾ tsp jeera or cumin
How to make the recipe
Preparation for chekkalu
- Wash and soak chana dal for 30 mins. or You can also soak in hot water for 10 mins.
- Add rice flour, salt, jeera, chili powder, ginger, chilli paste, curry leaves to a mixing bowl.
- Mix everything well. Discard the water and add chana dal too.
- Bring 6 tbsps water to a boil and add butter to it. Allow the butter to melt. Then pour it to the rice flour.
- The mixture will turn hot. Carefully mix well. Pour more hot to warm water and make a non sticky dough. Do not knead. Check salt and add more if needed. Cover until the mixture is used up.
How to make chekkalu
- Heat oil in a kadai.
- While the oil heats up, make 14 to 15 equal sized balls.
- Spread a clean and dry white cloth. or use a parchment paper.
- Place the balls and begin to flatten them to a thin puri (as thin as possible). The dough begins to crack, just stick it up or dip your fingers in water and continue to spread.
- Ensure chekkalu are thin and even. To prevent puffing you can also prick them randomly with a fork.
- Test if the oil is hot enough by dropping a small flat piece of dough to the oil. It must rise immediately without browning.
- Gently remove the chekkalu and drop them in hot oil. The flame has to be medium high.
- When golden flip & fry until golden and crunchy. Bubbles will cease when they are done.
- Remove them to a colander to keep them crunchy.
- Cool chekkalu completely and transfer to a air tight jar.
Preparation for chekkalu
I doubled the recipe so you will find the quantities more.
1. Wash and soak chana dal for 30 mins. I washed and soaked in hot water for 10 mins.
2. Add rice flour to a mixing bowl. I used store bought rice flour. If using store bought please use a Indian brand rice flour as the texture of chekkalu will be different.
3. Next add chopped curry leaves, ginger paste, salt, red chilli powder and cumin. I used ginger garlic paste.
4. Mix up everything well.
5. Drain the water from chana dal. Bring about 6 tbsps water to a boil and add butter to it. I used the same pan I used for soaking chana dal.
6. The butter must melt off in the hot water.
7. Pour this to the flour and add chana dal.
8. The mixture will be hot just be careful. Mix everything well.
9. Pour more warm to hot water as needed and make a non sticky dough without kneading. Don’t worry if it is crumbly. Taste the dough and add more salt if needed.
10. Keep it covered until the entire dough is used up.
How to make chekkalu
11. Pour oil to a kadai and begin to heat up on a medium flame. While the oil heats up, make chekkalu on a clean dry white cloth or parchment paper. Divide the dough to 14 to 15 parts and roll them to balls.
12. Begin to spread the balls. As you flatten the ball, the edges will crack a lot. Just join them with fingers. You can also dip your fingers in a bowl of water and spread.
Chekkalu must be as thin as possible otherwise they will not turn crunchy. If you do not want them to puff then, prick randomly each one with a fork. If there is less chana dal in the dough then they are most likely to puff. Puffed chekkalu must be fried well otherwise they may turn soft.
13. Check if the oil turns hot by dropping a small flat piece of dough. It must come up immediately without browning.
14. The flame must be medium high flame and the oil must be hot. Then remove the chekkalu gently from the cloth and drop them in the oil. Flip and fry.
15. When they turn crisp and golden remove them.
16. Transfer to a wide colander. This helps the air to circulate. They will keep crisp and cool them quickly.
Cool chekkalu completely. Store in a air tight as soon as they cool.