These Papri Crackers are delicious on their own but are even more delectable in this Dahi Papri Chaat dish. Enjoy these at Bollywood Theater restaurant in Portland, Oregon, or for the culinary adventurers, you can try their recipe at home!
Cheers to Friday!
We made it. My daughter had her last softball game of the year on Monday, my son is giving his final big presentation in class today, and now we’re plowing through class party planning (next week is our last week), end of year teacher gifts, and summer planning…while also trying to tackle client work and my current list of blog posts in the hopper. I counted, folks: there are 34 blog posts I am currently actively writing, photographing, and editing…so much good stuff that I think you will love, and I promise to get them all out as timely as I can!
I’m sending virtual cheers to all of my fellow parents out there for the last week of school. The drink above is The Don, at the Bollywood Theater restaurant in Portland, Oregon. It’s full of bourbon (of course), pomegranate juice, ginger liquer, and bitters. It’s the perfect drink to celebrate the weekend ahead!
Before we get to the weekend, let’s talk about Papri Crackers – AKA, crack crackers that are ridiculously addictive.
Recently I had the opportunity to meet Bollywood Theater Chef/Owner Troy Maclarty, who gave our media group a behind-the-scenes look at his SE Portland location. Once a farm-to-table chef who worked in Berkeley’s Chez Panisse Café, he came to Portland around 2005 to make his own name for himself and find his food calling. He now owns two locations of Bollywood Theater, and was gracious enough to share some of his recipes with us.
The one I fell in love with and I’m pretty sure you will too: Papri Crackers. These are crunchy crackers with nigella seeds and are probably the best fresh crackers I have ever tasted in my entire life. No exaggeration. Watching them make these crackers is almost trance-like as eating them.
Papri crackers are also, I’ve learned, sometimes called Papdi crackers, which are similar but use different seeds. These crackers can be baked or fried, and I’ve included the baked version here.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons nigella seed
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- Water as needed
- 36 papri crackers see recipe above
- 1 cup Yukon gold potatoes cooked, finely diced
- 1 cup black chickpeas cooked
- 1/2 cup tomatoes finely diced
- 1 tablespoon Serrano chiles minced
- 2 tablespoons red onions finely diced
- Kosher salt to taste
- 3 cups drained yogurt thinned with water
- 1 teaspoon chaat masala
- 1/2 teaspoon Kashmir chili powder
- 2 tablespoons green chutney make your own or buy
- 6 tablespoons tamarand chutney make your own or buy
- 3/4 cup sev
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- Mix flours, nigella seeds, and salt.
- Slowly add oil until mealy.
- Add water as needed to form a stiff dough.
- Allow the dough to rest.
- Roll into thin sheets, then use a cookie cutter or pastry cutter to cut out circles. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 350 degrees until the edges are slightly browned, which is about 18-20 minutes.
- Create an even base layer with the papri crackers on a dish and top in layers with remaining ingredients.
- Serve immediately.
I seriously am craving a plate of Dahi Papri Chaat right now. I can taste the chutneys and the crunch of those crackers!
Bollywood Theater restaurant
If you don’t want to make these crackers or chaat yourself, hop on over to one of the two Bollywood Theater locations in Portland, Oregon. Maclarty opened the original Bollywood Theater restaurant in Northeast Portland in 2012. Two years later, he opened up a second location in Southeast Portland (pictured throughout this post).
There aren’t a lot of options for Indian food in Portland, and Bollywood Theater offers to transport diners to the streets of Mumbai. Here, large communal tables are filled with friends who meet for cocktails and an assortment of Indian street food served on steel plates. There’s a buzz of constant commotion in the air, so even though you may be seated, you feel as if you’re in a bustling market surrounded by colorful lanterns and soaked in the aroma of vibrant spices permeating the air from the kitchen.
After making a few trips to India, Maclarty has brought back some amazing street food recipes to his kitchen. In addition to the amazing Dahi Papri Chaat above, here are a couple more of my favorites.
The Mixed Dal, Fava Bean and Paneer Pakoras pictured above were crunchy and packed with flavor, served with Rhubarb Strawberry Achaar, which is like a sweet and slightly savory chutney.
The Grilled Asparagus in a creamy Green Garlic and Turmeric Curry with a Raisin, Almond, and Currant Chutney is an incredible burst of textures and spices in each bite. This dish is a creative interpretation of Indian street food, and is Maclarty’s answer to the question, “if you cooked with asparagus in India, what might that dish look like?”
Maclarty is committed to making almost every single component of his dishes from scratch using the best ingredients, which can be a challenge both economically and logistically – let’s face it, $6.50 for a plate of food that includes numerous ingredients that are all house made is A CRAZY GOOD DEAL!!
And if you just can’t leave the restaurant without taking a piece of it home with you, you can: there’s a small kitchen shop to the side of the dining room where you can pick up things like fresh ghee and Bollywood Theater’s spice blends.
2039 NE Alberta
Portland, OR 972
3010 SE Division
HOURS: 11am – 10pm, both locations
They do not take reservations.
Which dish seen here would you most like to try? What’s your favorite Indian food dish?
Many thanks to Bollywood Theater for hosting our media group, and for sharing these recipes. As always, all opinions and photos are my own.