What Are Papadums? | 100% Delicious!

What Are Papadums? | 100% Delicious!

What could be nicer than starting an Indian meal off with a few rounds of papadums? Those golden and crispy discs go with just about anything. But what are papadums? Today we will look at what papadums are made of, how they are cooked, and the different ways of serving them

What are Papadums | Quick Answer

Papadums are a sort of flatbread served as an accompaniment to Indian food. They are normally made from lentil flour, oil and salt. They also contain a few raising agents that make them bubble up when cooked.

Before cooking, papadums look like very thin discs and are similar to lasagna sheets. Once they are submerged in hot oil, they puff up and expand to over double their original size.

To find out more about papadums, different ways to cook them and serve them, read on…


What is the difference between Poppadoms and Papadums?

There is absolutely no difference between poppadoms and papadums aside from the spelling. They are exactly the same thing.

The reason for the differences in spelling is because different regions in the Indian subcontinent spell the word slightly differently. Depending on how this is translated into English gives a slightly different spelling. Both ‘poppa’ and ‘papa’ are correct.

How are Papadums Made?

Papadums actually start life as dough.

Flour (either chickpea, lentil or rice flour) is combined with water, salt and oil. This dough is kneaded until smooth and then rolled into thin discs.

Traditionally this dough is left to dry in the sun. Although for the modern store-bought varieties, this isn’t the case.

Papadums can be cooked in a variety of different ways.

In the UK, the traditional method in which they are prepared is by deep frying in very hot oil. The dried discs are plunged into the oil. They rapidly expand and puff up and out. They are then left to drain for a minute or so, and they become really fluffy and crispy.

There is actually another way you can prepare papadums at home, it’s great if you are on a diet…

Simply place an individual papadum on a plate and microwave it for around 20 seconds.

 You’ll often hear advice telling you that you need to brush them in oil…

This is a fallacy.

As you will have seen above, papadums already contain oil, so there is no need to add extra to get them to puff up in a microwave.

Keep a close eye on your papadum while it is in the microwave. Because they are so thin, they can burn very easily. So, as soon as it has puffed up entirely, open the door and take them out!

What does Papadum Taste Like?

Papadums have a fairly neutral taste. They are slightly salty and slightly savoury. The best way to describe them would be to compare them to a cross between a cracker and a potato chip.

Because they are fried, papadums are very crispy and bubbly. They are pretty light and can taste be a little dry if you don’t accompany them with something to drizzle them with.

You’ll find that certain brands of papadums contain tiny seeds. You will hear them referred to as ‘spicy’ poppadoms, don’t worry, they are not hot. The little black seeds are normally cumin. This type of papadum tastes a little different from the ‘plain’ variety. They also tend to be a lot drier for some reason too!

Are Poppadoms Healthy?

According to MyFitnessPal, every single papadum holds about 49 calories, with around half the nutritional value being taken up by carbohydrates and the remaining half being split between fat and protein.

In a normal sitting, people would normally eat two or three. Which is about the equivalent of a bag of crisps!

So, are they healthy?

They aren’t bad for you and are fairly calorie sparse. Still, you must remember that they contain oil and are traditionally cooked in oil too.

If you microwave poppadoms, then this cuts down on the calories significantly as they don’t gain the benefit of any additional oil.

All that said, if you are going for an Indian meal, then other things are much higher in calories (namely your curry, and probably whatever you are drinking with it!)

What do You Eat Poppadoms with?  

Poppadoms can be eaten with a range of different accompaniments.

Traditionally they are served as a starter with a selection of dips. This varies between different curry houses, but generally, you’ll see these accompaniments: -

  • Chopped onions
  • Lime Pickle
  • Yoghurt and mint sauce
  • Mango chutney

How they are eaten depends very much on the individual. Some people take small spoonfuls of all of the above and drizzle them over the entire poppadom before eating. Other people break the popadum up into little shards and have a dip of what they prefer.

In Pakistan, papadums are broken up into tiny pieces and sprinkled over the top of the curry. We prefer to dip them into our curry as we go. They are great for soaking up seasoned oil!

While traditionally papadums are served as a side dish, they can also form a part of a light meal…

A meal? Really?

Yup, for a great snack (especially if you are on a diet), masala papad is light, tasty and really easy to make.

What is Masala Papad?

Masala papad is a poppadum topped with diced tomato, thinly sliced red onion, lime juice and coriander. If you want a little heat, you can also add chopped chilli pepper, but don’t complain to us if this has consequences.

Some people also add a crushed clove of garlic, but as it is uncooked, this can be really strong and will probably mean your partner won’t kiss you for the rest of the day!


What are papadums? Absolutely delicious is the answer! Hopefully, now that you’ve read our article, you feel like you know what they are all about… Discs of lentil flour fried until golden and bubbly, topped with a range of delicious condiments. How do you eat your papadums? Let us know in the comments!

Enjoy Making Curry Yourself?

Hey folks, thanks for reading this article. I hope you found it useful, and that you learned something new allowing you to make your curry extra special. Here are a few things that can really elevate your curry game to the next level. 

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A Complete Curry Kit: - Literally, everything you'll need to make curry all in one place. Cookware, storage, utensils, even the spices! This is my dedicated guide to getting you up and running all for the price of few takeaways.

Curry pans: - You need one, and one only. A frying pan exactly like this is really easy to use, and is exactly the type that authentic Indian chefs use to make the type of curry that you'll have in your local takeaway. You can see my full reviews of several pans right here...

Spice Storage: - Being organised is half the battle in making great curry. Spices can be notoriously hard to keep tidy. That's why I tend to use a spice rack like this. You can arrange your spices by size, heat, or any way you choose. I've got a detailed review of several Indian spice racks in this guide.

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