Mathi is an integral part of evening snacks at my home. We savor these mathis salted, stuffed, and unsalted equally. The unsalted mathi tastes exquisite when paired with pickles and chutneys. The Mathis are crispy yet soft. When we bite a piece of mathi, it crumbles in the mouth. (My mouth has started to water as I am describing it.) 

A friend of my father is a sweets maker near our ancestral home in the old city. He makes one of the finest unsalted Mathi. The unsalted mathi is also known as Suhali in the local language. The Suhali is one of the best parts of the combo of the sweet distributed with the wedding invitation in my community. When my youngest aunt got married, we hired a chef to make them at our home. Despite distributing them by the boatload, we had plenty left for ourselves. We spent the next two months wolfing down the Suhali and malai chap. 

Although I love Suhalis and can gorge them like a piranha, the ones that are available locally are deeply fried. Haldiram’s in Delhi make one of the tastiest salted mathis. Unfortunately, these are not available locally, and Mousie(maternal aunt) would buy them for me whenever she visited Delhi. The fried ones are not only fattening but also unhealthy, whereas the baked ones are hard to find. And even when I succeed in finding the baked ones, they are either super expensive or of inferior quality. In my quest to eat healthily (and save money), I decided to cook them in the Air Fryer

I consider myself a rebel when it comes down to trying a recipe, but too much was at stake this time. My cravings had managed to reach great heights. Therefore, I forced myself to follow this recipe to the last dot.

As per the recipe I used

  • 1 and 1/2 cup Maida (All-Purpose Flour)
  • 1/4 Cup Sooji (Semolina)
  • 3 Tbsp Desi ghee (Clarified butter)
  • 1/2 Cup Water for kneading
  • 2 Tsp Ajwain (Carrom Seeds)
  • Black pepper
  • 1.5 Tsp Salt use as per taste

I mixed the dry ingredients and then kneaded the ghee in it.

Maida, sooji, ghee, salt & ajwain for mathi

I added water to the mixture and kneaded the dough with my hands to make a smooth tight dough.

Dough for mathi

I divided the dough into balls and rolled it into small discs.

Dough rolled into discs

These looked exactly like the Mathis I buy from Haldiram’s. I pre-heated the air-fryer at 180 degrees C and placed them in the cooking tray. After air fried them for 5 minutes, I turned them and put them in an air fryer for 4 minutes more. I waited for 10 minutes to let them cool off.

The final product looked gorgeous and extremely binge-worthy. I picked one and took a bite. Well, my teeth got the shock of their life. I want to pretend that the mathis I made were crispy. Instead, they were hard. It felt that I was trying to chew a rock. If the mathi were any heavier in weight, I could have easily used it as a paperweight or as a rock to bash heads. I took one mathi and threw it into a mortar, which I crushed it down with a pestle. I took the crumbs and put it into my mouth. To my utter surprise, it was delicious. It tasted exactly like the ones I buy from Haldiram’s. Although I was disappointed with the texture, I was pleased with the taste. It was a bittersweet attempt at making a mathi. 

Lesson
Later my mum tasted the mathi and inquired about the consistency of the dough. She observed that I should have added more water while kneading the dough.