November 24, 2009

Chakli or Murukku

Written and contributed by: Bindu M.

Beautiful crunchy concentric spirals

Nicely peppered murukku

A decade ago, I knew she was my kind of people when I found out that she liked strawberry cheesecake as much as I did, and so, I was more than agog when Neeli asked me to guest blog at Khavanu. Known as chakli/chakri/murukku, depending on which part of India you owe allegiance to, these savory rounds will be the subject of my eulogy.

Chakli is an occasional snack food served in many Indian homes. Chakli’s moment to shine is on the platter of snacks, a faral offered to friends and visitors around Diwali, the Festival of Lights. The faral platter looks remarkably incomplete without the visual pizzazz that chaklis bring.

Although they need special equipment and are labor-intensive to make, they are so worth the effort, and pressing out row after row of these concentric spirals can be a little meditative. There are many takes on what kinds of lentils and how much of it goes into the making of chaklis. I find my mom’s version to be the simplest way to make chaklis.

Without any further ado here is the recipe.

Rice flour: 4 cups
Urad daal: 1/2 cup
Moong daal: 1/2 cup
Garlic : 2-3 flakes finely minced
Butter/oil: 1 tsp
Jeera: 1-2 tsp coarsely ground
Sesame seeds: 1 tsp
Asofoetida: 1/2 tsp
Pulverized black pepper: to taste
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying (I prefer Canola)
Pressure cook daals with sufficient water and mash. Lightly toast rice flour, with frequent stirring, until raw smell dissipates. Make sure flour does not burn and brown. Mix dry ingredients, add cooked daal and butter. Knead into stiff dough, stiff like roll-out cookie dough, using warm water as needed. Spoon into murukku/chakli press, extrude into 3 inch concentric spirals (see image below). Fry in small batches of 5 or 6 till golden. Cool before storing in air-tight jars. Excellent paired with Indian style masala tea.

These murukku are waiting to get fried. You can press out several and fry in batches until golden.

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