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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Manapparai Murukku

For this month's Indian Cooking Challenge, we are traveling towards Tamilnadu. To be specific, towards a town called Manapparai in Tiruchi district. The town's name has somewhat become synonymous with their signature snack - The Manapparai Murukku. A man named Mani Iyer who used to run a vegetarian refreshment stall at the railway station had introduced these murukkus to the train passengers during 1920's. His murukku were so famous that passengers were drawn out of their compartments to buy them. Later these were sold in brown paper bags that were easily identified. Nowadays, murukku making has become a cottage industry in that town and they are available everywhere and are even exported to other countries.

Iyer used to mix butter to the rice flour and fry chaklis in coconut oil. The unique feature of these chaklis are that they are fried twice unlike the regular chaklis that are fried only once. I haven't personally seen or tasted these specific murukkus and going by the reference we had, I am sure that Mr.Iyer's recipe is safely locked somewhere in a vault. :))

The recipe we got for trial had a kilogram of rice flour with a dash of urad flour. Any seasoned chakli maker would tell you that the recipe is nothing but a disaster. Going against my instincts, I tried a small portion, following the recipe to the T, hoping to prove myself wrong and the result was hard to bite chaklis. Then I increased the urad dal quantity and got the good variety ones though the chakli dough somewhat is similar to thenkuzhal/thentharlu one. I fried them until they attained a lighter hue though I am not sure whether they should attain a light / dark golden hue.

And coming to the flours. Usually it is a practice to prepare the flours from scratch in India while preparing chaklis. I always use the store bought ones and they work just fine as the freshly prepared flours. Besides they cut down the work.

2 cups rice flour
1/2 cup urad flour / Black gram flour
1 tbsp butter / hot oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp carom seeds / ajwain (I didn't add any.)
Salt to taste
Oil to fry (I used canola oil.)

1. Combine everything in a mixing bowl. Add water gradually and make a firm dough.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a wok / wide frying pan. Drop a bit of dough into the hot oil. When it sizzles and comes to surface, then the oil is hot enough for frying. If the dough doesn't rise to surface, heat oil for a couple of minutes more. However there is no need to bring the oil to a smoking point.
3. Fit a single star disc / 5 holed disc to the chakli press, fill the dough into the nozzle and press the dough circle on the back of a ladle. I did it on the backside of a greased, stainless steel plate. Allow the shaped dough circles to rest for about 5 minutes.
4. Drop the dough circles into the hot oil. Fit as many as the frying pan can hold without overcrowding. Fry them in hot oil for about 3 - 4 minutes, flipping in between. (Chaklis are only partially fried at this point.) Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent towels to cool them a bit.
5. Now repeat the steps as above and partially fry another batch of chaklis. Remove them as well and drain on plates covered with absorbent towels.
6. Now drop the partially fried first batch of chaklis (from the step 4) into hot oil again and fry until they turn crisp. I kept them light hued but one can fry until they attain a dark golden hue.
7. Now fry the partially fried second batch chaklis from step 5 until they are completely done.
8. Repeat the steps of double frying the chaklis with the remaining dough.
9. Let cool and store them in an airtight container. 



Srivalli said...

Wow Suma, yours have the perfect colour as I remember buying from the shop..Yes the mannappari murukku looks lighter in colour. Did you roast the rice flour?..I roasted my store bought it and I think that's the reason for the golden colour..will try next without roasting...Great job on the perfect shape as well!

Corporate to Kitchen said...

That was nice to know about Mr Iyers Chakli story. These chaklis looks very tempting & I have been seeing this on facebook from many other bloggers too. Now I am tempted to try this recipe. Great clicks!

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Crispy and Crunchy looking murukkus. Wonderfully prepared snack.

Suma Gandlur said...

Valli, I did not roast the flours. Glad to learn that unknowingly I achieved the right hue.

nandoos Kitchen said...

simply love these tempting crunchy murukkus

Niloufer Riyaz said...

thats a perfect murukku!!