Alexander McNabb

The Simple, Crispy Joy of the Kerala Poppadom

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We’re very fond of the Kerala poppadoms, the little four-inch diameter numbers made from garam flour and coconut oil. They’re probably the one thing with coconut oil in that I’d eat.

The little cold store around the corner from us has been christened Poppadom Man because of the fuss he and his massive extended family of helpers like to make when I buy them.

“Pappadum? You want eat pappadum? This Indian food!”

Yes, yes, I know. Just hand out the poppadoms before I kill you.

They’re kept in the little fridge behind the Kit-Kats, little plastic packs with a paper insert proudly proclaiming them as Kerala Poppadum. Toss ’em in a small, hot pan and dry fry ’em and they puff up and crisp – ideal for a crispy side on a curry night, just right for a slather of hot chutney – as evidenced by my ancient post over on The Fat Expat.

Of course, we quickly reached the point where my entry into the shop was greeted with much grinning and  “Wanting pappadum?” But that hasn’t detracted by any means from the fun game of feigning surprise at the feringhi who eats pappad.

I have my revenge occasionally, usually when I drop in for something else (their herbs are good, certainly better than the droopy specimens so often found decorating Spinneys’ Ajman branch) and the usual question isn’t forthcoming, signifying they don’t have any poppadums in.

This is when I ask for them on purpose, only to be told ‘Poppadum not having, sir’ therefore providing my queue to cause an almighty fuss about how any self-respecting Keralite cold store would never run out of poppadum. I mean, what kind of supply chain management do they have around here?

We all must take our amusement as we find it…

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