My memories go back to the Deepawali festivals of my childhood. My mother would start preparing the sweets and savouries three or five days before. Her womens magazines would carry supplements for " 30 varieties of snacks for Deepawali" . If you walked into the kitchen on those days, the aroma of heated oil and deep frying would invigorate your senses and trigger your cravings. It would be murukkus in the making. My mother's murukku especially is always perfect and top notch !
The pic shows creations of yours truly last Deepawali.
Murukku is basically a fried snack made typically using rice flour or gram flour. An addition of different lentil flours bring variations ( and we have different names for each of those babies) . The Tamizh word "murukku" in verb form means to twist or swirl. They usually are in a twisted pattern like a complicated pretzel and may be thats why it got the name.
These are usually gluten free snacks as they have no wheat or sugar and can have a shelf life of more than a week. In India we have flour mills in every neighborhood where one can give a mix of the ingredients and they would grind it to a smooth flour. Outside the country, we use readymade off-the-shelf rice and lentil flours.
We mix water into the flour, add in salt, cumin seeds or sesame seeds, some butter and make a dough. When the oil is hot enough we start making the swirls with a kitchen equipment or funnel meant specifically for that.
It is important to add butter or hot oil to the dough to the flour to make it softer and easy to bite. The murukku should not be soggy nor should it be super hard to bite. There are jokes about amateur cooks making murukkus that cause people to lose teeth!
There is one variety of murukku called 'kai murukku' (hand murukku). The swirls here are created by hand through a dexterous handling of the flour. My mother is an expert in that and i am a beginner with a long way to go.
The below is a you tube video I found (from Raks kitchen youtube channel) displaying the method.
Food from other lands:
Manchurian. Anyone who has eaten at an IndoChinese restaurant would be familiar with Gobhi(cauliflower) manchurian. There is a variety of food that is basically based on Chinese cuisine, altered to suit Indian taste buds and this is now popularly known as Indo Chinese food. Cauliflower florets dipped in corn flour batter are deep fried and then stir fried in a mix of sauces with some spring onions thrown in. The taste is heavenly. One of those moments of self indulgence purely to satisfy ones taste buds is digging into a plate of steaming hot gobhi manchurian. The thought itself is giving me a lot of craving!
Food for thought:
Since we have been talking a lot about food , the quote we see today is about food as well and an ancient one too. Thought would show what Tamizh script looks like too.
Oon or unavu - food
Meethoon - Food in excess
Virumbu(verb) - desire or wish
Virumbel - do not wish or desire
This quote also from Aathihoodi stresses the importance of being wary of the quantity of our food consumption.
Do not wish or ask for excess of food.
What modern health advisories say - Eat everything but in moderation.