Papad: The Beloved Side Dish Finds It’s Mention In Buddhist-Jain Literature
Image Credit: Papad is not just made with dal/lentils but also with tapioca, potatoes/ Pic- Freepix

Most meals are incomplete without some papad on the table. Even a simple meal like dal, chawal and papad tastes much soulful. This crispy, spicy , crunchy mostly round shaped condiment also varies accordingly to state like it’s called Appalam in Tamilnadu, Appadam in Andhra Pradesh, pappadam in Kerala, and Papad, papar, pampad, happala, poppadam, puppodum and so on. Interestingly still in many houses in India, this is made at home the traditional way. An integral part of the meal also sees a much interestingly history. Papadum the word is derived from the Sanskrit word parpaṭa (पर्पट) ( means a flattened disc).

The history of this inevitable condiment dates back to 500 BC. This one also finds its mention in Buddhist-Jain canonical literature. The same is documented in a book named ‘A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food’ that has been authored by food historian and author KT Achaya. In the book this one is seen made using de using urad, masoor and chana dal.

Papad is not just made with dal/lentils but also with tapioca, potatoes and prawns too. Prawn papad or the Chinese prawn crackers are made of a mixture of dried shrimp and tapioca flour. Historical records show that this humble side is almost more than 1500 years old. Not many know that drying of vegetables and storing then is an age old technique and this was most prominently seen in the Marwari Jain trader community as they would dry vegetables that was available in season and then store them. Vegetables were rehydrated and stored so that later when they travel for trade it can be used. 

Mostly made with Urad Dal, papad industry in South started by Ambika Appalams and Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad – or simply Lijjat Papad are iconic brands till date. Lijjat Papad happens to be brain child of seven Gujarati women and today this women’s cooperative is a great source of employment for many. While the Ambika Appalams that are a century old now is a family-run brand. 

Today this side is not just a side but has also seen it’s many new look in the form of curries like Papad mangodi ki subzi, papad ki sabzi , papad ki churi, Papad ki bhurji and many more. 

Sometime back Chef Saransh Goila took to Instagram and make some Papad aglio e olio . He wrote “Papad aglio e olio. People are making chips with pasta so I thought why not make pasta with papad 😂 🍝 After all cooking has no boundaries. I dared myself and made this for lunch what was bound to fail ended up being VERY VERY TASTY! In all its desi-ness this papad pasta is the cheapest (Rs. 25-30) gluten free copy of a pappardelle! While nothing will ever come close to the OG this is OH SO GOOD and I've come to believe with food anything is possible. You have to be open to experiment. Don't take my word for it just try it (Side note - papad is usually very thin do not boil it for too long). Tell me if you did and if you liked it or not! Use the #papadpasta so I can find you.

Also few people in the morning guessed papad right in my post. I am just amazed with how many creative cooks already knew that this is possible.