Bobbari Garelu ~ Chekkalu – Rice Flour Black Eyed Peas Crackers
While drafting the post this morning, when adding the links to posts I posted on this day in yesteryears, I realized today is my blog anniversary!! I can’t believe I started this blog 8 years ago!! The blog that I created to kill boredom, to record some of my cooking experiments has survived 8 long years and is going strong!! Had I realized this sooner, I would have posted a sweet or a dessert to celebrate this milestone! For a change, lets celebrate it with a savory traditional Indian snack!!
As I mentioned in my previous posts, this past December when I was in India, I asked amma to make some non perishable snacks for the blog. I already posted chegodi and sakinalu last month. The third and the last snack we made that day was bobbari garelu or bobbari chekkalu. Bobbarlu are black eyed peas in Telugu.
This variety of garelu are made with rice flour and have a long shelf life unlike the garelu (vada) made with lentils. The main ingredient for these garelu or chekkalu is rice flour and these are named after the legumes used in the preparation.
The legume used here is split black eyed peas or bobbari pappu and hence bobbari garelu / chekkalu. Traditionally, peanuts or chana dal is used but we used blacked eyed peas this time. Except rice flour and black eyed peas, rest of the ingredient measures are approximate. Preparation looks lengthy but it is not. All you need to do is mix all the ingredients, make a dough, press the garelu or chekklau and deep fry. I gave a lengthy explanation of the preparation and hence a long recipe. Pardon the pictures. All these pictures were taken with my iPhone.
- 3 glasses Rice Flour
- 1 glass Bobbari Pappu ~ Black Eyed Peas, soaked for 1 hour (check notes)
- ¼ – ½ glass Sesame Seeds (can add less or more depending on one’s preference)
- 2 – 3 tbsp. Onion Garlic Cumin paste approx. (about 2 tbsp chopped onion, 2 garlic cloves and ½ tsp. Cumin )
- ¾ – 1 tsp. Cumin Seeds ~ Jeera
- ¾ – 1 tsp. Ajwain ~ Voma or Oma
- ½ – 1 tbsp Coriander Powder
- 2 tbsp. Chili Powder (approximately)
- Curry Leaves, chopped
- Coriander Leaves, chopped
- Green Onions, chopped (opt.)
- Salt to taste (approx. 2 tsp.)
- Water to make the dough
- Oil for deep frying
- Soak split black eyed peas for 1 hour. Wash and leave the peas in a colander to drain the water.
- If using sesame seeds, wash and drain the seeds.
- Make a paste of onion garlic and cumin.
- In a wide bowl, take all the ingredients except water and oil.
- Mix together all the ingredients until well blended. At this point, taste the flour mixture and adjust the seasoning to taste. If you can not really make out, sprinkle some water on a small portion of the flour mixture and taste it. It is easier to mix chili powder and salt at this point when the mixture is dry.
- Gradually add water and make a pliable dough. If making in large quantities, divide the dough into 3-4 portions. Take one portion into a smaller bowl and cover the rest of the dough portions. Dough will dry up if kept uncovered.
- Pinch some dough and make small lemon size balls. If the dough is dry, sprinkle some water and knead well. Then make small balls.
- Spread a cotton cloth on the ground; a thin old bedsheet, dupatta or a saree should work.
- Garelu / chekkalu can be made in two ways. Easiest way is to use a poori press and the other method is to press it with fingers. We used a poori press.
- Take a ziploc bag or a plastic sheet and cut it open. Apply some oil to it, place half the plastic sheet on the poori press, place a dough ball on it and cover the ball with the other half of the plastic sheet.
- Press the dough to make a round disc. Remove the top plastic sheet, shape the gare (singular of garelu) at the edges if shape is uneven, make a hole in the middle.
- Tip – easiest way to transfer this gare to the cotton cloth is to lift the plastic sheet, place it on the cloth in such a way that gare is facing down and plastic sheet is on the top. See the collage above. Gently pat the gare and pull off the plastic sheet.
- Apply some water or oil, to the plastic sheet and repeat the above two steps.
- When ⅔ or ¾ th of the garelu are pressed, heat oil for deep frying.
- When oil is hot, gently transfer a gare onto your fingers or hand. (Place your fingers or hand on the gare and lift the cloth, flip your hand in such away that gare is on your hands. Pull back the cloth.)
- Slide the gare into oil. Multiple garelu can be fried at a time, depending on how wide the pan is. We used a wide kadai (Indian wok) here.
- Fry garelu on medium to medium high flame, turning the garelu around. Once the garelu are golden brown, remove from oil and let drain.
- Let the garelu cool completely and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Substitutes – Blacked eyed peas can be substituted with chana dal or peanuts.
If using chana dal, soak for 3-4 hours.
If using peanuts, dry roast and remove the skin of the peanuts.
- Black eyed peas and flour Ratio – The ratio of black eyed peas to rice flour is 1:3 glasses dry black eyed peas to rice flour. If you forgot to measure black eyed peas before soaking, then use 1 : 2 soaked black eyed peas to rice flour. The same ratio applies to chana dal as well. For Peanuts it is 1:3 peanuts to rice flour and peanuts need to be dry roasted and DO NOT soak peanuts.
- Sesame Seeds – Some people add sesame seeds to the dough and few don’t.
- Glass Measure – The glass used is equal to ¼ kg of grains.
1 glass of rice = ¼ kg of rice
1 ½ glass of rice flour – ¼ kg rice flour
1 glass rice flour = 1 ½ US measuring cup rice flour
- Rice Flour – We used rice flour ground at the mill. You can also use store bought rice flour and I think it will work perfectly fine as I used store bought flour for odappalu.