Its festival time and back at home in India this time the house will be busy with guests. Tea and snacks are the general entertainment almost every evening. Jantikalu is one of the most common snack made at home. Chekkalu are another common snack made during festival and holiday season. There are different varities, and each family has their own recipe. This simple snack is made with rice flour. Channa daal (senaga pappu) can be added for extra crunch. Those are called pappu chekkalu. Some add additional ingredients like ginger, garlic, curry leaves, sesame seeds and onions. I knew this recipe but perfected it recently when one of my friends mother-in-law visited us and gave me few additional tips.
2 cups Rice flour
4 Tbsp Channa dal ( Soak in water for 1-2 hrs) (optional)
Salt to taste
6-8 Green chillies (ground to paste)
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
4 tbsp butter
Water to make dough (1/4th-1/2 cup)
Oil for frying
Bring water to boil and add cumin seeds, chilli paste, salt and turn the heat to low. Slowly add flour to the water while mixing well. Add butter and mix again. Make sure that there are no lumps. The dough should be like samosa dough. Now shift the dough on to clean surface, adjsut the seasoning if needed and knead well.
Make the dough into small balls (25 cents size), I use ziplock bag (cut on 2 sides and opened it like a book) to flatten the dough. Now place the dough in the middle and gently press falt. I use a steel glass to press it. A roller can be used too. Heat oil in a deep kadai. Once the oil is hot enough, carefully peel the dough and slowly drop it in oil and fry till golden brown. Transfer on to paper to absorb excess oil .
Notes and Tips
To keep the chekkalu flat, while frying press them with back of the spoon or the easy way is to prick the dough with fork few times before frying. If you are adding channa daal then add them along with water and cook. If you are adding crushed onions and gralic then use cold water to mix the dough. Add 1/4th cup water and mix as onions contain moisture. Too much water will make the dough soft. If you are adding sesame seeds then add them at the end along with butter. Always add cold butter to the dough. Cold butter makes the dough flakey and crispy.