Omapodi| Tamilnadu Style Sev

Omapodi – the Tamilnadu version of sev – is synonymous with Diwali, for me. I grew up watching my grandmother and my mom making big boxes full of omapodi in the lead-up to Diwali, for the extended family and friends. The fragrance of the carom seeds in the omapodi dough frying in hot oil, would waft around the house, a sign that the festival of lights was very, very near. Till date, I can’t imagine celebrating Diwali without omapodi. Over time, though, as lives got busier and more stressful, I started resorting to store-bought omapodi to commemorate the festive season. This Diwali, though, thrown into introspection by the pandemic, I decided to make my own at home. A soul-satisfying experience, that!

Our family recipe for Omapodi

Omapodi, like I was saying earlier, can be referred to as the South Indian version of sev. The distinguishing feature here is the addition of carom seeds (omam) in the dough, which gives the dish a heady aroma and flavour, while also aiding in digestion.

Omapodi is a deep-fried savoury snack during Diwali, in the South of India. It is, actually, one of the easiest Diwali savouries there is. The omapodi can be eaten as is, or used in other savoury preparations like Mixture. Crispy and crunchy and delicious, I like munching on omapodi on its own, sometimes with a cup of tea on the side.

Today, I’m sharing our family recipe for omapodi, the way my grandma used to make it.

Diwali Fiesta at Foodie Monday Blog Hop

I’m sharing this recipe in association with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop.

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. This week, we decided to showcase special foods keeping in mind the fact that Diwali is fast approaching. This eternal favourite of mine wasn’t up on the blog, and this theme gave me the perfect foil to do so.

How to make Omapodi

This is how we go about it.
Ingredients (serves 6-8):

  1. 2 heaped teaspoons carom seeds (ajwain/omam)
  2. 3 cups gram flour (besan/ kadala maavu)
  3. 1 cup rice flour (chawal ka atta/ arisi maavu)
  4. 2 teaspoons salt
  5. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  6. 3/4 teaspoon red chilli powder
  7. Oil for deep frying

Method:

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Bottom left: The carom seed extract, Bottom right: Step 3

1. Soak the carom seeds in about 4 tablespoons of water for 15-20 minutes. Then, grind the carom seeds and the water together in a small mixer jar.

2. Strain the water using a strainer with a fine mesh. Little by little, add about 1/2 cup water to the ground carom seeds in the strainer, and squeeze out all the juice from them. Discard the ground carom seeds. I got about 3/4 cup of the carom seed extract. See the video below, to understand how to go about the process of extraction. Strain the extract once more to ensure that there are no coarse particles that remain.

3. Measure out the gram flour, rice flour, salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder in a large mixing bowl. Combine these ingredients well together.

4. Take the oil for deep-frying in a heavy-bottomed pan. Set on high flame. Allow the oil to get nice and hot.

5. In the meantime, fix the plate for sev or omapodi, the one with small holes, inside the press. We use a hand-held press with different plates for making different types of snacks – see the picture below for a clearer understanding.

6. Now, pour the carom seed water into the mixing bowl. Mix well. Add in about 2 tablespoons of the hot oil to the mixing bowl too. Bind into a dough that’s not watery or runny, yet not too stiff, as shown in the picture below. You may add in a little more water if required.

7. When the oil is ready for frying, reduce the flame down to medium. Take a large ball of the dough and place it inside the press.

8. Squeeze the press to release tiny ribbons of the dough into the hot oil. Deep-fry till crisp and slightly brown, then turn over and cook on the other side for a few seconds too. Transfer to a platter. The first batch of omapodi is ready.

9. Use all the dough in a similar fashion. Let the omapodi cool down fully, then transfer to a clean, dry, air-tight box.

Top left: Step 4, Top right: The hand-held press I used to make the omapodi, Centre left and right: Steps 5 and 6, Bottom left: Step 7, Bottom right: The deep-fried omapodi

Tips & Tricks

1. The soaking and grinding of carom seeds helps in extracting all the essence from them. If carom seeds are added as is or coarsely powdered, they might get stuck in the press.

2. Make sure you do not make the batter too stiff or too runny. It should be soft and pliable.

3. Do not overcrowd the pan while deep-frying. Squeeze out only a little of the dough in each batch, to ensure even frying.

4. Make sure the oil is hot and ready before adding in the dough. To check this, add in a small piece of the dough into the oil – if it sinks to the bottom, the oil isn’t ready. If it slowly rises to the surface and starts changing colour, it is ready.

5. Do not over-fry the omapodi. Just a few seconds on either side is good enough for the fine ribbons of batter.

6. You can use either the plate with super-fine or moderately fine holes in the press, to make this omapodi. Here, I have used the one with super-fine holes.

7. Adjust the amount of salt and red chilli powder as per personal taste preferences.

8. Allow the deep-fried omapodi to cool down fully before transferring it to a clean, dry, air-tight box. Stored this way, the omapodi stays well for a week to 10 days, at room temperature.

9. I have seen many these days avoid the addition of carom seeds in omapodi because the grinding and straining is a bit of a cumbersome process. However, for me, omapodi is not omapodi without the carom seeds. My grandma used to use them, and I do too.

10. Many families skip the addition of rice flour. However, we have always used it. A mix of gram flour and rice flour yields crispy omapodi, as does the addition of hot oil in the dough. The latter is a very important step too, so do not skip it.

12. You may add a little asafoetida (hing) to the batter. We usually don’t.

13. This is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, suited to those following a plant-based diet. It is entirely gluten-free too.

Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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17 thoughts on “Omapodi| Tamilnadu Style Sev

  1. Love this Savory besan sev. I liked the way you soak, grind and then extrctvthe carom seed water. I am sure the sev is full of flavors.

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  2. That’s a different way to ajawin flavour to sev.. i always add directly to the dough.. will try it next time .. must have added a nice flavour to crunchy and crispy sev

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    1. @FoodTrails

      This is the way ajwain extract is added to the batter, traditionally. If we add whole ajwain, it sometimes gets stuck in the holes of the press. It does add a lovely fragrance to the sev. πŸ™‚

      Like

  3. Omapodi looks super tempting. My Mil makes very tasty Omapodi and it is my hubby’s favourite. It is so tempting and just can’t stop eating. Perfect with Masala Chai.

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  4. What a wonderful idea to use carom flavored water to make the sev or omapodi dough. Since this sev is very thin, one cannot add whole ajwain to the dough as it gets stuck in the sieve.

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  5. Omapodi looking very tasty with lovely festive presentation Priya. Can imagine the aroma while frying this sev. Loved your tips, following those tips surely we will get perfect omapodi.

    Like

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