There are no stories, no anecdotes or long winded narration and no ramblings about this post, just good old memories from childhood, when the frying aroma would envelope the whole home around the festival time like Sri Krishna Jayanti and my mom would be busy filling dabbas of fried stuff and we couldn't wait to have them immediately. One of them is the Thenkuzhal/Mullu murruku/chaklis/chakri different names according to different regions.
The spiky spirals are called Mullu murukku as it looks like thorns and the smooth coils are thenkuzhals.
3 cups raw rice powder ( branded rice flour available in stores will do)
1/4 cup chana dal/bengal gram
1/2 cup Moong dal/split green gram skinless
salt to taste
2 pinches of hing./ asafoetida powder
1 tsp white til/sesame seeds
1/2 tsp jeera(optional) cumin seeds
1 1/2 tsp of melted ghee / or hot oil for every 1 cup of flour taken to make dough.
1 tbsp of butter if you prefer instead of melted ghee or hot oil.Take either one of the two.
2 tbsp of roasted gram dal/puttani
oil for deep frying
Procedure to prepare the flours:
Roast the chana dal and moong dal in a dry pan till nicely hot but not browned. This will take off the raw smell of the dal and you get a nice roasted aroma.'
Keep the roasted dals to cool.
Then powder the roasted dals with the roasted gram dal to a very fine texture either in the home mixie or get it milled in the rice mill if you have access to one near by. Powdering the dals in the mixie will take some time as you need to powder it very smooth .
(I prefer to do this at home as I prepare only small quantities. For festivals we usually get it milled fine in the commercial mill.)
To Make the dough
Now take the 3 cups of rice flour and add this ground powder after it is nicely sieved ( must) to remove grains of dal.Mix the flours well as the powdered dal flour and rice flour has to evenly mix.
Make the chaklis in small batches . So do not use up the entire flour in one go.
Before making the dough add the salt, cumin seeds, sesame seeds, hing/asafoetida powder to the flour mix.
Procedure to make chaklis:
1. First measure 1 cup of flour, add the butter/oil/melted ghee as per ( 1 1/2 tsp melted ghee/hot oil /1 tbsp of butter) for every 1 cup of prepared flour.
2. Mix the flour with the butter/oil/ghee nicely till the flour becomes crumbly and well coated with the oil/butter.
3. Add water little at a time to make a soft dough.
Keep mixing the flour as you add water in small ladles.Do not add water all at once.
4. Take the murukku/chakli press and use the star plate.
5. Pinch off a small ball of dough into the press and when the oil is hot enough but not too hot , drop a small bit of dough to check. It will sizzle immediately. This is the test to check if oil is ready.
6. Take a greased ladle and press the murukku circle on the ladle and drop in the oil instead of pressing the chaklis straight into oil, this is safer and you can get nice shaped murrukus.
7. Another method is to take a damp cloth and press the circles of murukku on the cloth and drop them one by one into the hot oil.
8. If you are lazy or want to get over this frying fast , then press straight away into hot oil, as I always do that!
9 Let it fry in medium heat and turn them over to cook on both sides.
10. When the chaklis look firm and lightly golden brown , drain them in a colander.
Do not keep the wet dough in the open while the chaklis are frying . Keep the dough covered.
It is better to make the chaklis in small batches so measure 1 or 2 cups at a time and prepare the chaklis.
It is better to prepare the flours ready and keep it stored in air tight containers in advance , so when ever you want to make some crunchies , you can use the ready prepared flour immediately by adding sesame seeds, cumin seeds, salt, Asafoetida and butter and little water to make a batch of dough for the chaklis.
I have used the term chaklis/mullu murruku interchangeably as it is known by these names commonly besides many others!.
The time honored method of preparing rice flour was to soak the rice in water and , drain and kept to dry naturally in open air by spreading it on a damp cloth . When it is dried well, this is milled and sieved fine to use with other flours to make the chaklis. With the easy availability of good quality branded rice four in stores , mercifully this step can be eliminated thereby saving some time and labour.
For those who need instant gratification , the popular brand MTR has a great instant muruku flour ready , all you got to do is add butter, make the dough and press in to oil, instructions are given on the pack.
Which ever way these crunchies are a great tea time snacks.