From Appalam To Shakuli: Exploring 10 Types Of Papad In India

In India, the tradition of making papads is a cultural practice passed down through generations. Typically prepared once a year, especially during the hot summer months, the process involves several steps. A mixture of lentil or gram flour, spices, and other ingredients is kneaded into a stiff dough, rolled into thin, round discs, and then left out to dry in the scorching sun until they become crispy. These homemade papads are stored for the entire year and are a staple in Indian households. 

Papads are thin wafers made from lentils, rice, millets, or potatoes that find their way into Indian cuisine and are commonly served as an accompaniment to main meals, acting as a crunchy side dish that complements curries, dals, and rice. There are many regional variations to this crispy wafer. In North India, they are often roasted or fried on a fire or tava and served with yoghurt or chutneys as a popular snack. In the South, particularly in South Indian thalis, you'll find papads called appalam, which is thinner and lighter and is often enjoyed with rice and a variety of spicy pickles.

Among the wide variety of papads that India has to offer, here are ten that must be tried at least once:


Applam, also known as papadum, is a cherished Indian snack with regional variations in both its ingredients and accompaniments. In South India, particularly in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, applam is a staple often enjoyed with rasam, a spicy tamarind-based soup. These thin, crispy discs are typically made from a mixture of urad dal (black gram lentils) or rice flour, flavoured with various spices and seasonings. The contrast between the crunchy papad and the hot, tangy rasam is a perfect pairing.

However, across different states in India, the ingredients and pairings can vary significantly. In North India, papadum is made from a mixture of ground dal and black pepper and is frequently served as an accompaniment to meals, paired with dal and rice, or used as a crunchy topping for various snacks and payasams too. 

Moong Dal Papad  

Moong dal papad is a thin and delicate papad variety made from mung bean flour. It has a mild, nutty flavour and a crispy texture, making it a versatile accompaniment enjoyed throughout India. While moong dal papad can be found and appreciated in many states across the country, it is particularly popular in North India.

In North Indian cuisine, moong dal papad is often roasted or fried and served as a side dish alongside various meals. It pairs exceptionally well with dishes like dals, rice, sabzis, and yogurt-based preparations. The light and crunchy nature of moong dal papad makes it a favourite snack as well. It's commonly enjoyed with chutneys, pickles, or as a standalone crunchy treat.  

Methi Papad  

Methi papad, a speciality of certain regions in India, infuses a unique herbal note into the world of papads. These papads are crafted by incorporating dried fenugreek leaves or fenugreek seeds (methi dana) into the dough mixture, along with spices, salt, and oil. The resulting papad has a slightly bitter yet aromatic taste that sets it apart.

Methi papad is particularly famous in the western state of Rajasthan, where it has earned a special place in regional cuisine. In Rajasthan, methi papad is a beloved accompaniment, often served alongside traditional Rajasthani meals. It complements dishes like dal-baati-churma. The bitter undertone of methi papad balances the richness of these dishes.

Potato Papad  

Potato papad, with its delicious potato flavour and irresistible crunch, is a true delight for the taste buds. These papads are thinly sliced potatoes seasoned with a blend of spices and then sun-dried to perfection. The result is a snack that is not only addictive but also incredibly versatile. Potato papads can be enjoyed just as they are, providing a satisfyingly crispy and savoury treat. Their rich potato taste makes them a favourite choice for snacking, especially during tea.

Additionally, they make excellent accompaniments to a variety of dishes. Pair them with dal and rice to add crunch to the porridge-y texture or serve them alongside a meal as a crunchy side dish. Their ability to complement different cuisines makes potato papads a cherished component of Indian cuisine.  

Garlic Papad  

Garlic papad is infused with the pungent and aromatic flavour of garlic. These papads are typically made by blending garlic paste or powder with gram flour, spices, salt, and oil. The dough is then rolled into thin discs and sun-dried until it achieves a crisp texture. Garlic papads are enjoyed across India but are particularly cherished in regions where garlic is a prominent ingredient in the cuisine. Additionally, garlic papads are popular as a snack, often roasted or fried and served with chutneys or pickles. 

Sabudana Papad  

Sabudana papad is a popular choice during fasting (vrat) periods in India. Made from tapioca pearls, these papads offer a gluten-free and healthy alternative to traditional grain-based papads. Tapioca pearls are soaked, mashed, and seasoned with rock salt and sometimes red chilli powder, creating a dough that is rolled into thin discs and sun-dried to achieve a crisp texture.

The result is a crunchy and nutritious snack that is not only gluten-free but also suitable for those seeking healthier options during fasting days. Sabudana papads are a versatile accompaniment, enjoyed with yoghurt or various chutneys, making them a delicious and satisfying choice for those adhering to dietary restrictions or simply looking for a unique and wholesome snack. 

Khichiya Papad  

Khichiya papad is a popular Indian snack, famous for its thin, crispy texture and versatility. It hails from the state of Gujarat, and its main ingredients include urad dal (black gram lentils) or rice flour, along with spices like cumin seeds, black pepper, and salt for seasoning. The dough is rolled into thin circles and sun-dried until it becomes a delicate, crunchy papad.

Khichiya papad is known for its slightly spicy and salty flavour. It's often served as an appetiser or snack with chutneys, pickles, or a dollop of yoghurt, and it's particularly beloved during festive occasions and as a staple in Gujarati cuisine. The unique combination of ingredients and its crispiness make Khichiya Papad a tasty addition to Indian cuisine.  


Shakuli is a part of Himachal Pradesh's Pahadi cuisine and is often featured in a traditional Pahadi thali. This is crafted from a combination of wholesome ingredients like wheat flour, spices, and sometimes even a touch of ghee (clarified butter). What sets Shakuli apart is its rustic, earthy taste, characterised by a blend of aromatic spices and a hearty, grainy texture. These bite-sized snacks are typically roasted to crispy perfection, ensuring a delightful crunch with every bite. Shakuli perfectly embodies the simplicity and earthy flavours that are synonymous with Pahadi cuisine. 

Ragi Papad   

Ragi papad is a wholesome and nutritious alternative for health-conscious individuals, particularly those seeking gluten-free options. Made from finger millet flour (ragi), these papads are a rich source of dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals. They are known for their gluten-free nature, making them an ideal choice for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. Ragi is also considered a superfood due to its high calcium content, which is beneficial for bone health, and its low glycemic index, which helps regulate blood sugar levels. Ragi papads are a combination of snacking and being healthy.  

Bajra Papad 

Bajra na Papad comes from the state of Gujarat. It's primarily made from bajra flour, also known as pearl millet, along with a blend of spices, salt, and sometimes other ingredients like sesame seeds or cumin seeds for added flavour. The dough is rolled into thin, round discs and sun-dried. Bajra na Papad is famous for its unique taste, which boasts a mildly nutty and earthy flavour with a subtle crunch. Bajra na Papad is not only a flavourful addition to Gujarati cuisine but also a gluten-free one. They pair exceptionally well with various regional dishes like Gujarati kadhi, oondhiyu, and khichdi.