Poppadoms are typically served as an accompaniment to a meal in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka or as an appetiser or snack, sometimes with toppings such as chopped onions, chopped carrots, chutneys or other dips, and condiments. In Pakistan, these are made of rice and often used as a snack or meal accompaniment. In certain parts of India, poppadoms which have been dried, but not cooked, are used in curries and vegetable dishes. Poppadom has been a part of the Indian subcontinent for generations and is an intrisic part of everyday meals.
Poppadoms are called appalam in Tamil Nadu, pappadum in Kerala, appadam in Andhra/Telangana, happala in Karnataka, and papad in other parts of India. They are mainly made in Rajasthan and Maharastra in the north. In the south, Kerala, Madurai district in Tamil Nadu, Kanchipuram, and Chennai are major manufacturers.
Salt and peanut oil are added to make a dough, which can be flavoured with seasonings such as chili, cumin, garlic, or black pepper. Sometimes, baking soda or slaked lime is also added. The dough is shaped into a thin, round flatbread and then dried (traditionally in the sun), and can be cooked by deep frying, roasting over an open flame, toasting, or microwaving, depending on the desired texture.
Papadam can be prepared from different ingredients and methods. Arguably, the most popular recipe uses flour ground from hulled split black gram mixed with black pepper, salt, and a small amount of vegetable oil and a food-grade alkali, and the mixture is kneaded. A well-kneaded dough is then flattened into very thin rounds and then dried and stored for later preparation and consumption. It may also contain rice, jackfruit, sabudana, etc., as main ingredients. Cracked black pepper, red chilli powder, asafoetida, or cumin or sesame seeds are often used as flavouring agents.