Namak Para is a popular Indian spiced fried cracker made with flour, melted ghee/ oil, black pepper/red chilli powder and other spices. This anytime/ tea-time snack is deep fried to a beautiful golden brown but you can always air fry or bake it in the oven for a healthier version with the help of my instructions. Namak para is a perfect snack when you want something crunchy and savory with the slight heat from Indian spices.
If you’re looking for a dish to balance all the sweets you’re having for Diwali, why not add this savory finger food to the mix?
This spicy fried biscuit is with wheat flour and a hint of spices. Like its sweet sibling, (Shankarpali) this is crispy, flaky and downright delicious!
Savory diamonds, tukdi, nimki, call it what you want, this snack adds a refreshing zing to your snack table on regular days and on special occasions. Make a big batch and ensure the kids have something much home cooked and healthier to eat when hungry rather than store bought junk food.
About Namak Para
Namak Para is a rolled-out dough snack made with flour, oil and spices, shaped into diamonds or squares, and deep fried to get the golden-brown texture and crunchy mouthfeel.
While the regular namak para is made with maida, I have made it healthier by using whole wheat flour. Substitute a portion of the flour with besan for a unique version and different taste.
Kids love these flaky para, both the savory and sweet version. As this food stores well, namak para makes a good snack and party appetizer option.
While these savories are cut into squares or diamonds, you can shape it any way, from circles and triangles to flowers and stars using cookie cutters.
Difference between Namak Pare and Shankarpali?
While shankarpali is the sweet biscuit, namak pare is its savory twin. One is made with maida or whole wheat flour, sugar syrup and cardamom. The other contains plain flour or whole wheat flour, chili powder, pepper powder and ajwain.
The ingredients are different but the prepping and cooking technique is the same. Both the enriched doughs are rolled and cut the same way into diamonds before being fried in oil, or baked in the air fryer/oven.
Namak para is again an easy to make recipe and comes together rather quickly.
How to Make Namak Para (Stepwise photos)
This recipe has three main steps – mixing the dough, shaping spiced dough and deep frying or air frying.
Prepare the dough
1. To a large mixing bowl, add the following:
- 2 cups of whole wheat flour/ atta or (1¾ cup all-purpose flour + ¼ cup semolina/suji)
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ajwain
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon crushed black pepper (ground pepper)
- ¼ teaspoon hing (optional)
- 5 tablespoon (75 ml) oil or melted ghee (or 4 tbsps (60 ml) if using all-purpose flour)
2. Mix well to combine with both your hands, until the oil is well incorporated into the flour. Slowly add water little by little (start with ⅓ cup) and mix to form a tight/stiff dough, adding more water as required. You will need a little more than half cup. This will vary depending on the kind of flour.
3. It should look something like this when you form the dough.
4. Knead it a little until slightly smooth for 1 to 2 mins. It should look smoother but not softer. Namak Para will soak up more oil if the dough is softer. If the dough is too tight they will come out harder.
5. Divide the dough into 4 parts, roll them to balls, cover and set aside.
Make Namak Para
6. Grease the rolling area or board with oil but don’t flour it. Take one ball, flatten with your fingers and start rolling.
7. Roll it into a 9-inch roti or chapati. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife, draw lines ¾ to 1 inch apart from each other. Start from one corner and now draw diagonal lines to get the diamond shapes. (Refer to the pictures below). You can also cut them to thin strips or squares.
8. Separate the namak para and remove to a greased plate. You can roll 3 balls and shape them. While you fry make roll the 4th ball, this saves some time.
Fry the Namak Para
9. Heat oil in a kadai on a medium heat. To test if the oil is medium hot, drop a piece of dough into the hot oil. If it sinks and rises up slowly, the oil is perfect for frying. If the oil is very hot, namak para will remain uncooked and burn easily.
10. Gently slide them, a few at a time into the oil. Add as many as your kadai can handle (don’t overcrowd it). Stir them immediately and continue frying on a medium heat.
11. Keep stirring at regular intervals to ensure both sides are evenly cooked. Fry until they turn golden brown and crunchy. Reduce the heat to low. Remove them to a plate or steel colander. Increase the heat to medium and fry the remaining batches.
Let the namak para cool completely before you transfer to an airtight steel or glass container. Avoid using plastic jars.
Store it for up to 2 weeks at room temperature.
Air Fryer Namak Para
The air fryer makes it easy to eat fried snacks guilt-free. You can definitely make a healthier version of this savory para by air frying for 13 minutes at 160C (300F). Flip them halfway through cooking. Constantly check them after the first 8 minutes to avoid burning. To get a browner shade, air fry for 3 to 4 minutes more at 180C (350F).
You can also bake it in the conventional oven or microwave with convection mode. Bake them for 10 to 15 minutes at 180C (375F). Check for doneness after the first 10 minutes.
- Make namak para with besan. If you don’t like the nutty flavor of besan, make the dough with equal parts of whole wheat and besan.
- Swap the oil with ghee while mixing the dough. This keeps them fresh for longer.
- Swap ajwain (carom seeds) with jeera (cumin seeds) or white til (sesame seeds).
- Make a stiff dough that is not too sticky or dry and crumbly.
- Roll the dough medium thick for even cooking when frying. Roll it too thick and you won’t get the crispiness. Besides the nama para will lose their crunchy and crispy texture in a few days.
- Fry on medium heat to ensure it remains crispy and well-cooked inside. Low heat frying will turn them into rocks and too high will brown them without cooking inside.
- Use unbleached and organic refined flour or maida instead of wheat flour.
Namak Para Recipe (Namak Pare)
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 2 cups atta/wheat flour (or 1¾ cup all-purpose flour + ¼ cup semolina/suji)
- 5 tablespoons oil or ghee (4 tablespoons if using all-purpose flour)
- ¼ teaspoon hing / asafoetida (optional)
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 teaspoon ajwain /carom seeds
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon black pepper crushed
- ½ cup water (+more as needed)
- Oil as required to deep fry
- Mix together flour, salt , soda, hing, ajwain & pepper. Pour oil & nicely rub the flour well in between your palms until the oil is well incorporated into the flour.
- Pour water little by little only as needed (start with ⅓ cup) and form a stiff/tight dough (not as soft as roti dough). Taste the dough and check the spice and salt level, if needed add more salt or ajwain or pepper.
- Knead it for 1 to 2 mins, avoid over kneading. Divide the dough to 4 parts and roll them to balls. Keep them covered with a moist cloth.
How to Make Namak Para
- Grease a rolling board with a few drops of oil. Begin to roll the ball to a 8 to 9 inch even chapati / roti.
- With the help of a knife or a pizza cutter, begin to cut vertically drawing straight lines that are 1 inch apart . Begin to cut from the corners to get diamond shaped cuts. You can also cut them to squares or long strips.
- Transfer these to a large greased plate and set aside. Begin to make the rest.
- Heat oil in a deep pan on a medium heat. To test if the oil is hot enough, drop a small portion of dough, it should sizzle and rise to the surface without burning or turning brown.
- Gently slide the namak para to the hot oil, one after the other. Do not add a lot of namak para at one time. Fry them stirring often until golden and crisp.
- Remove to a steel colander and cool completely. Fry them in batches. Make sure the oil is not too hot before you fry the next batch. You can refry if any of the batches are not crisp.
- Transfer the cooled namak para to a air tight jar and serve within 2 weeks.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Namak para recipe first published in August 2016. Updated and republished in October 2022.
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me
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