Champakali / Panasa Thonalu / Namkeen Karela - Savoury Version
Festivals and celebrations are closely associated with and revolve around particular types of food. 'Deepavali' means gifts, crackers, new clothes, and "food"! Bakshanams (Snacks) are a norm. In Chettinad the delicacies are Kai Murukku, Manaholam and Mavurundai. We also like to and are proud of to serve something new. This year especially, bombarded by the umpteen number of snacks and sweet eats on Facebook there was no room for excuses and I set about making Aval Mixture and this savoury version of Karela / Champakali along with Boppai Halwa (Papaya Halwa).
The sweet version of this snack dipped in sugar syrup is called Champakali (after a flower) in Maharashtra, and Panasa Thonalu (resembling a jack fruit pod) in Andhra Pradesh. As it looks like a Bittergourd, the savoury version is known as Namkeen Karela!
Deep fried savoury snacks are must have for tea time. I have tasted the 'Namkeen Karela' in a Chaat (used in the place of Papadi), and so made a dough similar to papadi dough.
Maida - 1/2 Kg
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Peppercorns - 1/3 teaspoon coarsely crushed
Ajwain (Omam) - 1/3 teaspoon coarsely crushed
Oil / Ghee - 3 tablespoon
Water as needed.
Oil for deep frying
Mix salt, pepper, ajwain and 3 tablespoon oil/ghee into the flour.
Add enough water and make a dough (like Puri dough).
Roll out into thin discs.
Shape enough Karela's to fill your pan. While it is cooking, make the next batch.
Deep fry in hot oil (over a medium flame) until golden.
Drain well. Once cool, store in airtight containers.