Namak Para (plural Namak Pare) are crispy, tasty, spiced and savory fried bites made with wheat flour, a few spices, oil or ghee and seasonings. These are a popular snack across North India. I share a Punjabi style crispy namak pare that you can enjoy as a snack with tea or make these during festivals like Diwali.
About Namak Para
The word ‘namak’ means salt and ‘para’ or ‘pare’ means pieces. Hence the name namak pare literally means salty or salted pieces or call them salty bites or salty crackers. These are also called as Nimki or Salty Diamond Cuts.
All you need is to make a firm savory pastry dough. Roll and cut the dough into strips, square shapes or diamond shape and then deep fry.
This delicious snack is very easy to prepare and does not require many ingredients. Most of your time will be spent frying them as they need to be fried in batches.
There are many variations of namak para. Namak para can be crispy, flaky, spicy or savory. This recipe makes crispy namak para that will puff up while frying. You can also scale the recipe to make a large batch for festivals.
This Namak pare recipe contains whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour for crispiness but you can make them with one of the two flours instead. I prefer to use whole wheat flour wherever possible.
You can make them in bulk and store them in an airtight container and enjoy them with tea for the next few weeks. They are excellent tea-time snacks and are also made during festive occasions like Karwa Chauth or Diwali.
How to Make Namak Para
Make Namak Para Dough
1. Mix all of the ingredients for the pastry dough listed below and knead into a firm and stiff dough. Cover the dough with a moist kitchen cotton towel and set aside for 30 minutes. Add water in parts when kneading the dough.
- 1 cup of whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
- 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt or as required
- 2 tablespoons oil or ghee – if using oil, use a neutral oil
- ½ to ¾ cup water or as needed to make a stiff dough
2. Pinch a medium-sized ball from the dough. Roll it to a neat smooth dough ball between your palms. Place it on a lightly dusted board. Sprinkle a bit of flour on top of the dough ball.
Tip: Dusting the surface with flour prevents the dough from sticking to the board when rolling.
Roll and Cut
3. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough and make sure it is not too thick or thin, about 3 to 4 mm in thickness. Also ensure that you have lightly dusted the dough and board. If you prefer opt out of dusting the dough and board with flour.
4. Use a serrated knife to slice diagonally cuts on the rolled dough. The dough should have equal-shaped diamonds.
5. Add the diamond-shaped dough to a plate and cover them with a cloth. Set aside for frying later.
Fry Namak Pare
6. Heat oil for frying in a kadai (wok). Keep the heat to medium to medium-high. The oil has to be moderately hot.
Gently and carefully place some namak para pieces in the hot oil. Make sure not to make the pan over crowded with the namak para pieces.
Turn over with a slotted spoon when one side has become crisp and golden. Fry the second side and turn over again when golden. Turning over a few times fry namak pare for even browning.
Tip: Make sure the oil is not too hot as you don’t want the namak para to burn.
7. Fry until golden-brown and crisp. Drain them on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Fry the remaining batches this way.
8. As soon as they cool, store them in an air-tight jar or container. Serve namak pare with a cup of tea or as a snack.
These keep well for a couple of weeks in an air-tight container at room temperature.
- Flour: For this recipe I used whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour to make namak pare. However, you can use one or the other depending on your preference. I typically opt for whole wheat flour because it is a healthier option and the results are just as delicious.
- Dough: You want to make sure that your dough is the right texture to achieve the perfect results. The dough should not be too dry as this may cause the dough to crack while rolling and will also make the texture dense. If the dough is too wet then the namak para may come out soft.
- Oil: I normally fry namak para in peanut or sunflower oil. Peanut oil adds a delicious nutty flavor while sunflower oil has more of a neutral taste. Feel free to use any of these two oils for the perfect namak para.
- Variations: Namak pare is a versatile snack that has a variety of flavors and textures. It can be spicy, herby, flaky or crispy. Depending on the amount of fat used in the dough, the resulting texture can be flaky or have a crispy hollow structure. Add spices and herbs like dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi), crushed fennel seeds, nigella seeds, asafoetida (hing), turmeric powder and red chilli powder to make different variations of this snack.
- Baking: To make a baked version of namak pare, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil or ghee when making the dough. Keep the raw cut dough pieces on a baking tray. Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius/356 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Bake until crispy and golden at the same temperature for about 20 to 25 minutes or as required. If needed turn over the namak pare pieces halfway through the baking.
This may be because there is not enough water in the dough. When the dough is too dry the dough will crack so you need to add more water and knead it until the dough is smooth to avoid this.
In this particular recipe you can use baking soda and baking powder interchangeably and still get amazing results. Add about ½ teaspoon of baking powder instead of baking soda.
In order for the namak pare to be crispy the dough must be stiff and firm. Before frying, the dough should not be too soft and the namak pare should be fried on a medium heat. The longer you fry them, the crispier they will become.
Namak pare will still taste just as good without baking soda but adding baking soda gives the namak pare a light and crispy texture.
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Namak Para (Savory Diamond Cuts)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour (atta)
- 1 cup all purpose flour (maida)
- 1 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
- 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper – optional
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds – optional
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons oil or ghee – I used sunflower oil
- ½ to ¾ cup water or as needed
- ½ teaspoon salt or as required
- oil for deep frying, as required
- Sieve the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking soda and salt together.
- Add the carom seeds, crushed black pepper, cumin seeds and salt. Mix these spices and seasonings with the sifted ingredients.
- Add the oil or ghee. Add water in parts and start to knead the dough.
- The dough should not be soft, but firm and tight. Cover and set aside the dough to rest for 30 minutes. You can either cover the bowl with a lid or place a moist kitchen towel on the dough.
Making namak pare
- Take medium sized balls from the dough. Roll them to a neat round ball between your palms. Place one ball on a lightly dusted floured surface or rolling board.
- With a rolling pin, roll into a disc or round neither too thin nor too thick and about 3 to 4 mm thick.
- With a serrated knife make criss cross patterns on the rolled dough.
- Remove the diamond shaped patterns and deep fry them in hot oil till crisp and golden browned.
- Drain them on paper napkins to remove excess oil. Fry the remaining namak pare or diamond cuts in batches.
- Once they cool at room temperature, then store them in an airtight jar. These keep well for a couple of week when stored in an air-tight container or jar.
- You can serve namak para with tea or as a snack.
- Add water in parts when kneading to make a stiff and firm dough. Do not make it soft like a roti or chapati dough.
- You can opt to use only all-purpose flour or only whole wheat flour to make the dough.
- Deep fry in a moderately hot oil until crispy and golden. A lesser hot oil will make the namak para absorb too much of oil. If the oil is very hot, the namak pare will get browned faster from outside and the inside dough can be undercooked.
- Leave out the spices for making only a salted version of namak para. Alternatively you can add ground spices and herbs like red chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, crushed fennel seeds, nigella seeds and dry fenugreek leaves.
- If you want to bake namak pare, add 3 to 4 tablespoons oil or ghee to the dough. Place the raw cut dough pieces on a baking tray. Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes. Bake at the same temperature for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and crispy. Turn over the namak pare pieces if needed halfway through the baking.
- This recipe can be scaled to make a smaller serving or a larger serving.
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
This Namak Para recipe post from the archives, first published on November 2012 has been republished and updated on 21 October 2021.