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Savories For the Season

Nov/03/2021 / by RASHMI GOPAL RAO

Come Diwali aka Deepawali, and it is time for fire crackers, family get-togethers, parties and delectable food. With a plethora of sweets and savories for the festive season, Diwali is all about good food and great vibes.

THENKUZHAL MURUKKU OR THENGOL

One of the most loved savory dishes for the festive season is thenkuzhal murukku, or thengol. A crunchy snack and a perfect accompaniment to the festive meal, this snack is asymmetrical and, when broken, is akin to khara sev.

Here is a simple, tried and tested way to make the most delicious thenkuzhal murukku.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups rice flour, sieved well
  • 1 cup split black gram flour (urad dal flour)
  • 3-4 tbsp fried gram, powdered fine
  • 3-4 tbsp butter, melted at room temperature
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • Coconut oil for deep frying
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. Dry roast fried gram in a pan until it is aromatic. Cool and grind to a fine powder.
  2. In a wide bowl, add the powder, both the flours, and the remaining ingredients. Mix well into a dough. Keep adding water in small quantities as required. The consistency of the dough should be similar to that of the one for chapatis.
  3. Load the dough into the tube of the murukku press which has been fitted with a mold with 3 or 4 holes
  4. Keep ready 7-8 pieces of butter paper or parchment paper cut into medium size squares. You can also use greased banana leaves.
  5. Press the dough onto the butter paper with your hands into a circular shape.
  6. Gently remove the pressed dough and lower it into heated coconut oil.
  7. Deep fry on medium flame by flipping the murukku in oil till golden/slightly dark brown. Ensure that it is evenly cooked on both sides.

Some Chef Tips!

  • Ensure that both flours are fine by running them through a sieve.
  • You can prepare urad dal flour at home by dry roasting the lentils till aromatic and slightly brown. Cool and grind to a fine powder. Run it through a sieve in case of any large particles.
  • Ensure that they dough is soft, moist but firm. If it is too dry or crumbly add some more butter.
  • You can add piping hot oil instead of butter while mixing the dough.
  • In order to check if the oil is hot enough, drop a small piece of dough into the oil. If it remains flat, the oil is not yet hot, if it sizzles, then it is the right temperature.

CHAKLI: CRUNCHY SAVORY SPIRALS

Chakli (also spelt Chakkli) is a popular savory snack prepared on festive occasions, especially in south India. These crunchy, savory spirals with a spiked surface, made from rice and lentils are hard to stop eating. Paired with coffee or high tea, it is perfect when you have guests and extended family around.

The Recipe

There are several ways to prepare this chakli. While it is popular to use split black gram flour, some people also use gram flour (besan). You can also add spices as per your taste. Here is a simple, tried and tested recipe that makes the most delicious of them.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups rice flour, sieved well
  • 1 cup split black gram flour (urad dal flour)
  • ¾-1 cup thick coconut milk
  • 2-3 tbsp butter, melted at room temperature
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • Coconut oil for deep frying
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. In a wide bowl, add both flours and the remaining ingredients. Mix well into a dough, adding water in small quantities as required. The consistency of the dough should be similar to the one used to prepare chapatis.
  2. Load the dough into the tube of a chakli press fitted with a star-shaped mold.
  3. Keep ready 7-8 pieces of butter paper or parchment paper cut into medium size squares. You can also use pieces of greased banana leaves for the purpose.
  4. Press the dough onto the butter paper with your hands, and turn them to form spirals.
  5. Gently remove the spirals and lower them into the oil.
  6. Deep fry on medium flame by flipping the chaklis in oil till it is golden/slightly dark brown. Ensure that it is evenly cooked on both sides.

Some Chef Tips!

  • Ensure that both flours are fine by running them through a sieve.
  • You can prepare urad dal flour at home by dry roasting the lentils till aromatic and slightly brown. Cool and grind to a fine powder. Run it through a sieve in case of any large particles.
  • You can add sesame seeds or carom seeds instead of cumin seeds. You can also add chili powder to the dough in case you want a hint of spice in your chakli.
  • Ensure that the dough is soft, moist but firm. If it is too dry or crumbly, add some more butter.
  • You can add piping hot oil instead of butter while mixing the dough.
  • You can use store-bought coconut milk if extracting milk from coconuts in difficult.