Spicy Rice Flour Dough Balls (My Very Popular Khichi)

31 Jan

Spicy Rice Flour Dough Balls (My Very Popular Khichi)

Hot summer days during the school holidays, mother and aunties (in the broader sense, meaning women of mum’s age) in the kitchen boisterous and rosy. The wooden fence between us and the neighbours has been worn down to stubble from ever frequent visits by the neighbours kids indelicately climbing over them and aunties leaning over the fence, chit-chatting languidly after a hard day’s work.

The kitchen was spicy-steamy even though the windows and doors were wide open; the gleeful kids were darting between kitchen and garden. My mum would pick the hottest and least breezy days to make rice flour poppadum’s and I was the contented assistant; these goings-on were tradition for summer holidays. Mum and aunts simmered the chillies and spices in hot water leaving us all coughing, before adding the flour to make dough. It’s OK; we had strawberries and fresh fruit juices to distract our throats. They rolled the oiled dough to poppadum shapes; just a couple of millimetres thick and it was my starring role to lay them onto cleaned (but unwanted) wafting saris in the garden.  I collected heavy stones and bricks, full of purpose in my loud yellow and green floral dresses, to ensure the saris were controlled and I lay the papdi (the particular variety of poppadum) neatly, not overlapping them.   Barefoot in on the summer garden slabs, I enjoyed the heat under my feet.  I’d find a shady spot to intermittently paint under, whilst I safeguarded the poppadum’s from birds and insects too, or maybe it was the Bollywood music booming (and women singing) from the kitchen that did that!

The plan was to let the sun dry the dough out completely. Once dried out and microwaved or fried they taste impressively crunchy and crispy. They are deeper and slightly chewier than the poppadums you will find in restaurants, but they remain my favourite variety.  The smooth and slippery dough itself is delectably Moorish. When steamed its spongy, a little chewy, overflowing with punch and undeniably gutsy. Funnily enough the steamed dough is often eaten as a snack, with a little oil that’s infused with salt and chilli powder. Greasy fingers are typically all that remain once a plate of these gently green balls are served. Try it; tell me how you like it.


Deena’s Spicy Rice Flour Dough Balls; My Very Popular Kichi


3-4 green chillies, minced

800ml of water

1 ½ tsp. of cumin seeds

1 tsp. of carom seeds/ajwain

Salt to taste

½ tsp. of ground cinnamon

375g of rice flour

Method serves 4-5

  1. Pour the specified amount of water into a deep pan, before adding the spices and seasonings with the minced chillies and bring it to a gentle simmer. Turn the heat down and continue to simmer for 3-4 minutes
  2. Take a long wooden spoon and gently pour in the rice flour and beat into the water, avoiding clumps forming. Do this quickly, before removing the dough from the heat
  3. Pour the dough into a large plate and grease your palms. Form flattened balls of about 5-6cm diameter and dip your thumb in the centre to create a well (keep the well empty though) and then steam for about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove onto a plate and serve with oil infused with chilli powder and salt.

7 Responses to “Spicy Rice Flour Dough Balls (My Very Popular Khichi)”

  1. Amy's piece of cake December 29, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    Looks great! Just ate som Kichi at my moms place and I will also soon put it on my blog for the Swedish readers.

    • Deena Kakaya January 18, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

      Thank you Amy, thats great to hear! I hope you try some of the other recipes.

  2. Mala August 17, 2014 at 7:38 am #

    This is hilarious! We used to do the exact same during my childhood summer holidays and mum too would pick the hottest days to make papdi. We’d all then be treated to kichi soaked in oil with cold lemon and water juice! Enjoyed reading yor article made me giggle! Xx

    • Deena Kakaya August 17, 2014 at 7:48 am #

      Thanks so much for taking the time to tell me that you enjoyed this post Mala! Isn’t it lovely how many memories we have that are associated with food x

  3. flamencolime September 16, 2015 at 10:32 am #

    Hi Deena! thanks for the awesome recipe! I tried it and definitely closer than my last efforts! I think I didn’t put enough salt. Could you have a rough stab at how much to put in? I’m a terrible cook (but improving!). So excited to find your site. going to try loads of things now!

    • Deena Kakaya September 27, 2015 at 8:05 pm #

      Hello! thanks for getting in touch. I usually use 1 tsp. of salt. I hope that helps


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