Welcome to my childhood!
Nimki, as we call it, is an integral part of my childhood. Be it festivals, relatives visiting or general summer vacation love, my grandmom used to make Nimki as a special treat. These aromatic little diamonds of fried goodness are best had warm. And with pickle or ketchup. Yes, ketchup (I’m a little weird that way).
My sister and I would keep going into the kitchen when we knew prep was on, sneaking in tastes of the dough and waiting for the fresh, hot, crispy goodness to come off the stove. YUM.
Only when I went to college and then to the working world, did I realize that no one in Delhi knows what Nimki is. Cue shock and disbelief! How had these people survived without this simple, tasty snack?? Well, turns out, something similar in North India is called Namakpara and in the east it is Nimki. Hello, Bihari heritage 🙂 I have never got around to calling it Namakpara and now people I know are aware of the word ‘Nimki’!
What made me try to make this at home (which is in Mumbai and not in Delhi)? It’s a rather random story. But a fun one to tell.
There is a little kitchenware (utensils, appliances etc) store I have discovered near by dentist’s clinic – something good had to come out of the all the doc visits, right? Being the impulsive shopper I am, I went there after a doc visit and the first thing that popped into my head was a vessel to knead dough in. Back home (and I’m sure across most Indian houses), there is a specific large, flat bottomed, slightly inclined sided steel vessel that is specifically for kneading dough. I didn’t have one with me in Mumbai and anyway dough is something I’m not yet too comfortable with. Rice for the win!
At the store, I felt that if I had the right utensil, maybe I would make more dough (rotis, paranthas and maybe even pasta, who knows!). Purchase in hand I was heading back home in the cab and started thinking about what I will make first. And out of nowhere, Nimki popped into my head. It could be that since I was in pain (dentists 😦 ) I just thought of the warmth and the aroma of Nimki. Which by the way, I haven’t eaten since I left home. Quick scan a few recipes and some major memory recall later, I walked into the apartment and went straight to the kitchen.
This version is an attempt at me being healthier (just an attempt) so it is baked and made with whole wheat flour. Feel free to replace with all purpose flour and/or fry this if you are brave or blessed with super metabolism 🙂
I hope this snack gives you the same warm, happy feeling as it does to me and my family. Also, remember to try it with sauce 😉
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
salt to taste
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp water
- Mix the flour, salt, ajwain, baking powder with a whisk so they are well blended
- Add the oil and mix till it resembles crumb texture
- Add 3-4 tbsp of water and knead to get a pliable dough – shouldn’t be too soft or too tough. Should take around 5 minutes.
- Form a ball and rest under a damp cloth for 20 minutes
- Pre heat the oven to 180C
- Roll out the dough onto a flat non-sticky surface. Make a rectangle about 1/4 – 1/8 inch thick – like a parantha. Be careful not to make it too think.
- Use a knife to cut the dough into diamonds – diagonal cuts top to bottom and them left to right
- Separate the pieces and place them on a baking tray. I have a small-ish oven, so had to do this in two batches
- Bake for about 20-25 mins till they are cooked through, golden brown, crispy and rise slightly. Stir them around midway to avoid sticking/burning.
- Take them out of the oven, cool for 5 mins and serve. With tea. With ketchup. With pickle. Or as is 🙂