Papads (or Pappadum) are chappathi sized (ok ok Tortilla sized) thin, crisp wafers made from lentil flour and accented by spices such as black pepper, cumin, garlic or chile. The good news, you can buy them ready to use from most Indian food stores. Making papad yourself is very labor intensive and requires intensive labor to prep the ingredients, roll them out and dry them in the sun for days. While I do remember papads drying on the terrace at my grandmother’s house almost all Indian cooks buy them from the store.
Generally in North India they are dry roasted over a flame, in the South they are fried. If you’re feeling adventurous roast them over an open flame. I tend to cook them on a tava (a convex flat iron griddle) by heating the lava over medium heat, putting the papad on and roasting till it looks like the picture (flip occasionally). If you want a quick snack pop a papad into the microwave and cook for 30 secs, flip and cook for another 30 secs.
Want to get fancy? Serve with any chutney you have handy (or in a pinch sales) A favorite snack when I was a kid was using papad to scoop up Indian yogurt.
As long as you don’t fry them, papads offer a healthy snack or an accompaniment to an Indian meal.