'Pappadam' or 'papad' or 'appalam' is undoubtedly the most common food item consumed by Indians across regions. From a glass of hot black tea to elaborate sadya (feast), the crispy papad is eaten as an accompaniment with a variety of dishes. Crumbled papad add texture to breakfast dishes of Kerala like upma, puttu, and idli while it tastes amazing with the usual Kerala meals or even biryani for lunch. Papad enjoys a significant position in the Indian cuisine, almost similar to what the crispy French fries enjoys in the west.
Papadam becomes appalam in Tamil Nadu and 'apadam' in Andhra Pradesh. In Karnataka, it is called 'happala' and papad in North India. Besides India, papad is extremely popular in countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan as well.
Urad dal is the main ingredient of papad. Gram flour and potatoes, too, are used to make delicious papad varieties. Baking soda is a common ingredient which is added in it. In South India, spices aren't usually added in the thinly rolled papadams. However, in North India, the papads are loaded with black pepper, chillies and even cumin for flavour. These papads won't rise when fried in oil like the ones that are available in South India. It would usually be 7 inches in diameter. South Indian pappadams are generally smaller with up to just 4 inches in diameter. Tamil Nadu appalams won't rise up like our pappadams. However, they are larger and thinner as well. Just like Guruvayoor in Kerala, North Indian cities like Bikaner, Varanasi, and Amritsar, too, are famous for producing delicious papads.