Thattai or thattu vadai are one of the popular deep fried Snacks from Tamil cuisine. Traditionally these were made with rice flour, urad dal flour, salt and other ingredients. Festivals are incomplete without thattai and murukku in most South Indian homes. Thattai are known as Nippattu in karnataka and chekkalu in Andhra. However all these 3 are different in texture and taste as they are made with different proportions and ingredients.
Each home has their own recipe of making these to suit their personal preference. This recipe yields light, tasty and crispy thattai that you can make for a tea time snack. Traditionally to make these home made snacks, rice was washed, drained and dried. Then milled to flour as the fresh ground flour enhances the aroma & texture of these snacks
To make thattai and murukku, I follow the same traditional method & make rice flour at home using raw rice during festivals. However this time I have made these using store bought rice flour. If you have a helping hand home then I suggest making thattai with homemade rice flour as they taste the best.
If using store bought rice flour make sure you use the one from an Indian brand preferably South Indian brands. There are tons of varieties of rice flour available in the market – made with long rice, sticky rice, glutinous rice, boiled rice etc. Many of these do not work well to make these rice crackers. Unknowingly I had tried these snacks a few years ago with different kinds of flours and they turned out to be soft within hours. So the key to tasty and crunchy thattai is good rice flour.
Thattai recipe or thattu vadai
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
Ingredients for thattai
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1 tbsp butter (unsalted)
- 1½ tsp urad dal or 1½ tbsp peanuts
- 2 tbsp fried gram or roasted gram or pottukadalai
- 1 tbsp chana dal or bengal gram (soaked for 1 hour)
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds (crushed, optional, use fresh)
- ½ tsp red chilli powder (use 1 tsp for spicy)
- ¼ tsp asafoetida or hing
- Salt as needed
- 1 sprig curry leaves chopped finely
- Water as needed
- Oil for deep frying as needed
How to make the recipe
- Wash and soak chana dal for 1 hour. Drain and set aside.
- Dry roast urad dal or peanuts until lightly golden and cool them. If using peanuts, remove the skin.
- Add urad dal to a blender jar along with fried gram. Make a fine powder. If using peanuts, then powder fried gram very fine, then add skinned peanuts and make a coarse powder. You can also powder sesame seeds.
- To a mixing bowl, add rice flour, urad dal & fried gram powder, red chili powder, hing, salt, sesame seeds and drained chana dal. Also add soft butter.
- Pour little water and begin to mix everything to make dough.
- Dough has to be non sticky, stiff and smooth. Divide the dough to 14 to 16 balls.
How to make thattai
- Heat oil on a medium flame. Spread a dry cloth, grease your fingers.
- Place a ball on the cloth and begin to spread them as thin as possible. If the edges begin to crack then join them together.
- Make as many thattai as possible till the oil heats up.
- Check if the oil is hot by dropping a tiny flat piece of dough. It should rise and not sink.
- Transfer one thattai at a time to the hot oil. You can fry more than one thattai at one time if there is space in your kadai. But do not crowd them as they will not fry properly.
- Make sure the flame is set to medium.
- Flip them when fried on one side. Flip as needed to both the sides and fry until evenly golden.
- Drain them on a kitchen tissue.
- Repeat frying them in batches.
- When they cool down, transfer them immediately to a tight air tight container.
- Serve thattai as a snack. They keep good for about 2 weeks if fried in fresh oil.
Video of thattai recipe
Recipe notes for thattai recipeTo prevent thattai from turning soft and to keep them crisp for many days, make them as thin as possible, Fry them on a medium heat until crispy. Transfer them immediately once cool down to an airtight jar / box. If you plan to offer this as naivedyam then replace chilli powder with pepper. Urad dal is added for flavor and to make the thattai light, you can also use peanuts. Do not over fry them for long time on a low flame they turn hard.
Preparation for thattai recipe
1. Wash and soak chana dal for 1 hour, drain it completely and set aside.
2. Roast urad dal or peanuts on a low to medium flame till golden. Cool completely. Remove the skin of peanuts.
3. Add roasted dal and fried gram to a blender jar. If using peanuts, first powder the fried gram very fine. Then add peanuts and make a coarse powder. You can also powder sesame seeds and use.
4. I used urad dal & fried gram so i made a fine powder together.
5. Add rice flour, urad dal and fried gram flour, salt, red chili powder, drained chana dal and sesame seeds. Sometimes sesame seeds splutter while frying, so make sure they are lightly crushed.
6. Add curry leaves and butter.
7. Mix up gently and add water little by little.
8. Make a stiff and non sticky soft dough.
9. Divide the dough to 14 to 16 balls.
How to make thattai recipe
10. Spread a dry cloth. Grease your fingers. Begin to make thattai by flattening the dough ball.
11. Flatten the dough as much as possible. You will see the balls begin to crack towards the edges. That is just fine, join up the cracks. Grease your fingers as needed. You can also flatten these with the base of a greased steel bowl or a greased lid. I am comfortable making these with fingers as the thattai turns out even with fingers.
12. Make these thin as shown in the picture.
13. Heat oil in a deep kadai. When the oil is hot enough, drop a small flat piece of dough to check if the oil is hot enough. The dough should come up and not sink to the bottom. Add thattai in the hot oil. Take cake while you drop. Flip and fry on both sides until golden. You can fry more than one thattai at one time if there is enough space in the kadai.
14. The bubbles begin to reduce when they are well fried. Drain them to a kitchen towel. Cool them completely.
Now comes the very important part of storing them well. Not only the method of preparing thattai even the way they are stored is very important to keep them fresh and crispy for many days.
Do use a clean and moisture free air tight container. I use air tight stainless steel containers to store thattai, chakli, murukku.
Do not leave them too long to the air/fan/ air con once they are cooled down. As soon as you notice them cooled transfer them to the jar.
Thattai should be completely cool before moving to the jar. These keep good for 2 weeks.