Papad, Papadum, Poppers, and Flat Bread are all names for the same thing. I think Poppers is an American-Indian slang for them because as the papads are cooked the bread or cracker will pop up.
Papad are just spicy crackers. I take them to pot luck parties and most Americans seem to like them. While they are bland and mild by Indian standards they are spicy for Americans.
The papad you are served in a restaurant looks vastly different then the papad you buy in a store which must be cooked.
A papad is about the size of a Mexican tostada. Before the papad is cooked it looks like a thin piece of plastic or a communion wafer. You wouldn’t even want to think about eating it.
After the papad is cooked it pops up all over like a cracker.
Papads come in a variety of flavors. The ones I give to Americans and eat my self are Udad, which is the blandest of the papads. The other is Punjabi Masala which is a spicy hot padad. Initially I though Punjabi Masala papads would be too hot for most Americans, but oddly the people I give them to love them.
Papadas come in packs of 20 which cost about $1 or $2 for a pack.
Indians often put mint chutney on papads when they eat them which makes the papad even spicer. Mint chutney is a blend of mint leaves and jalapeño peppers that is very tasty.
You can cook papads in oil. I never cook them that way.
You can also cook a papad in a microwave oven. Cook one side for about 30 seconds, and then flip the papad and cook the other side for about 30 seconds. If I just want one to munch on I will cook it in a microwave.
If I am going to cook 20 or 40 papads for a party I will cook them over the burner on a stove. You can use either a gas or electric stove. The Indian grocery stores sell screens for you to put over the burner to make it easier to cook the papad, but it is not needed.
I grab the papad with a pair of tongs. I then cook one forth of the papad at a time. I flip the papad over several times holding it close to the burner. After each fourth of the papad is cooked I switch to the next forth of the papad. It usually takes 60 seconds to cook each papad on a gas or electric stove.
You should always store papads in a dry place. If you don’t they will suck the moisture from the air and not cook properly. In dry Arizona you can open the pack and leave it out for a while. But if a monsoon comes along and it gets humid the papads will quickly go bad if left out and not cook properly. You can store them any where but a lot of Indians store their papads in the freezer.
Friends don’t let friends buy spices at American grocery stores!
Mike’s Hot Spicy Food Recipes