Mama’s Punjabi Recipes – Punjabi Namkeen Matthi (Punjabi Salted Fried Crackers)


The beauty of the Indian marketplace is that there are so many types of snacks – both sweet and salty – that you can never get tired of eating all of them, although you could certainly put on lots of weight if you did! There are almost as many types of sweet snacks – sweetmeats as they are called in India – as there are salty and spicy ones.

Matthis or fried crackers have been around from ancient times, but are now available in ready-made packs, like potato chips all across India and the globe. When we were little, there would be twig-baskets full of matthis in our rasoi or kitchen during the cold months. In the Punjab, there are several varieties of matthis.  At the halwai’s (confectioner’s) shop, you can find the super large, thin ones with little salt and the tiny bite sized ones which are thick; then there are the ones with kali mirch (black peppercorns) and others with jeera (cumin seeds).

Usually there is a huge demand for matthis during the winter months when people will eat them over hot tea, sitting in the sun. The large ones thinner and crispier and are usually taste especially good when eaten with just the saunf (fennel seed), mustard oil and spices masala from the amb da achar (green mango pickle) jar. But these taste just as well with mittha achar (sweet and sour vegetable pickle) too.

The matthis made at home, though, are so much better than the ones you can buy in the markets which have a lot of salt, oil and bajra in them. You can easily make them out of wheat flour at home. If you prefer using maida (self-rising flour), just replace the atta with it in the recipe.


5 cups atta (whole wheat flour)

1 cup barikh suji (fine semolina)

1 cup garam dahi (whole milk plain yogurt – warm, room temperature)

1 cup tael (oil: sunflower or canola is best)

1 cup pani (water)

1 tsp namak (salt)

2 tsp ajawain (carom seeds)


1.  In a large bowl, pour in the atta and suji and mix well.

2.    Pour in the oil and warm yogurt and continue to mix well. Add the salt, ajawain and knead the mixture with your hands. Don’t use the yogurt directly from the refrigerator as the matthis will not puff up.

3.   Add some warm water to make the dough a little hard.

4.  Take each ball and flatten it with a rolling pin till it is about 2.5 inches round. Contnue to flatten the rest of the balls.

5.  In a kadai or wok, warm some oil over medium heat. When warm, gently slip the round patties into the oil and fry till they are golden but not very brown.

6.  Take out of the oil and let the matthis rest on some paper towels to soak up any excess oil.

7.  Once the matthis are cooled down, you can store them in a container with a tight lid. They will keep for many weeks.




Too many times, I have noticed how people will pack hot rotis or naan in aluminum foil, especially when they get it from restaurants. When they open the foil to reuse them, the breads are soggy and sticky.

This is because the condensing vapors from the heat will wet the breads. The best way to avoid this is to pack the breads either in a clean paundna (muslin cloth) or between paper towels and them place cover them in the foil. The cloth or paper will soak up the vapor away from the bread and leave the bread fresh and not soggy.


mamas recipe inside3

Shakuntla Malhotra is a skilled cook of Punjabi dishes made in the old-fashioned style that she learnt as a young woman in her ancestral home in Lyallpur, India before it became part of Pakistan after the Partition in 1947. People have often admired her cooking for its simplicity and taste that comes with each mouthful. Even in her mid-eighties, she continues to cook daily and agreed to share some of her delectable Punjabi recipes.