East Indian Paprees (Wedding Rice Crackers)
Paprees are rice crackers made in traditional East-Indian weddings. A rice flour batter is spread over plates, steamed then dried before deep-frying. It is labor our love and often made as a community project for the upcoming wedding.
I have only ever seen these paprees made during East Indian weddings and for good reason. The traditional method is quite labor-intensive which involves soaking the rice for 2 to 3 days and then sun drying it again for a few days. The rice was then sent to the flour mill to make rice flour. While this is a lot of work the main purpose was to ensure the final batter is smooth and not gritty.
These days due to the availability of good blenders soaking for just overnight works too. If you use less water to grind into a paste, it will be smoother. You can add more water later to bring the batter to the right consistency.
- Stainless steel plates
- 1/2 kg Rice
- 120 grams Jaggery grated
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- Soak rice in water overnight, next morning change the water and soak again. Do that two more times – 8 hours each. This will ensure the final batter is soft not gritty
- Then wash and drain the rice. Dry the rice in the sun until crisp
- Next, send to the flour mill to grind into rice flour. (make sure no other flour is mixed in with this)
- Combine rice flour, jaggery, salt, and enough water to make a thick pouring consistency similar to chitaps or pan rolls.
- Strain thru a sieve and divide into different bowls to make different colors.
- Soak the rice overnight – wash and drain well in the moring.
- Blend to a smooth paste with a little water in the mixer (if the rice is not soaked long enough the mixer will be grainy, so soak longer than you think you need, and use less water when grinding)
- Combine with the jaggery and strain thru a sieve
Steaming the paprees
- To make the paprees you will need a few stainless plates, a steamer with water and another bowl with cold water ready
- Tip – stainless steel plates are easier to work with. Do not use ceramic. Coated tin plates tend to get ruined when dried, this is due to the heat/coolling in the steaming process
- Pour a few tablespoons of batter on the back of the plate.
- Tip – The final fried paprees become almost twice their size so don't make large ones. (otherwise you will need a big wide pot of oil)
- Swirl the plate to help spread the batter into a thin sheet
- Place the plate in the steamer and steam for 3 minutes until opaque or no longer wet
- Remove from the steamer and dip the plate into cold water. Use a small knife to loosen the edges of the papree.
- Then carefully peel it off the plate. This needs to be done patiently and delicately to prevent them from tearing
- Tip– A little ice in the water makes them easier to peel
- Place them on clean kitchen cloths, or cheesecloths to dry. Traditionally, these were dried in the sun for a few days (they can also be dried under the fan)
- Tip – These get stuck to the cloth so try not to move them. Once dried they will release easily
Deep fry the paprees
- Once dried the paprees must be stored in airtight containers.
- These are then deep-fried in oil for 30 seconds, turning once.
- These are made with rice so are supposed to be pale white in color (or the colors you made) Don't expect them to be golden when frying.
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