Today we come to my home state Tamil Nadu. It lies in the southernmost part of India and shares its boundaries with Pondicherry, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. It also has Indian ocean to the south and Bay of Bengal to the east. Tamil Nadu cuisine is not as spicy as the Andhra cuisine but we do prefer spicy foods. There are so many different cuicines within Tamil Nadu. Each community involves a different type of cooking. The most famous is the Chettinad cuisine. And every city has a speciality – Tirunelveli halwa, Manapparai Murukku, Srivilliputhur Paalkova, Sattur Mittai, Thoothukudi Macroons, Ooty Varki, Kodaikanal Home Made Chocolates, Madurai Jigarthanda. I can go on telling you as the list is so huge. We have tea kadai in every nook and corner and early morning walk through these shops will seduce your taste buds. The aroma of freshly fried vadas and appams will make you drool. Whenever we go on a road trip, we never miss the road side stalls selling idlis. Our morning breakfast is always at the road side stalls as they are so much better than the luxury hotels. The lunch of Tamil Nadu is so famous. Thalai Vazhai Ilaai Saappadu – a full course meal served on a babana leaf is the best. Starting with a sweet, they serve three types of poriyal, some cruncy chips, pickle, salt, appalam and rice. There will be a pulao and raitha, sambar, mor kulambu, rasam and curd. Spiced butter milk and paayaasam are served at the end. Nowadays there is also a glass of badam milk served after fininshing the meal.
As you know, I live in Madurai – The Temple City. This city never sleeps. Even you can get hot idlis and parottas early morning at 3 or 4 am. Around Meenakshi Temple, you can see small vendors selling sundal, vadai and so many snacks. We are lovers of crunchy snacks. Murukku, sevu, achu murukku, thattai, seedai, kai murukku are some of the crunchy snacks we usualy stock. My mom used to make the tastiest achu musrukku. She had that mould which was so many years old. But once I got married and she was caught up in dad’s illness, she just stayed away from all the snck making. Where ever we stayed, we used to come to madurai to buy appa chatti, achu muruuku mould, paniyaram pan and vadai chatti. These are special cast iron pans used in some snack preparation. My mom always was telling me to buy an achu murukku mould but because of sheer lazyness, I skipped buying. But when BM was announced, I wanted to try achu murukku. So I went to Pudhumandapam and bought a good looking mould. You cannot make achu murukku once you buy the mould. You need to prepare the mould before using it. For 1 week I soaked the mould in water drained from cooking rice (Vadikanji). You need to change it daily. After a week, I soaked it in a pan of oil. This soaking went on for three days. You will be wondering why I am going through this pain of soaking. If the achu murukku should leave the mould, the mould should be soaked like this. Otherwise the batter will stick to the mould and you will never be able to separate it. The process of making the snack is quite simple only if the mould is prepared. So if ever you buy an achu murukku mould or appam pan or paniyaram pan made of cast iron do all the steps I have mentioned and cooking part will be very easy.
Rice Flour-1 cup
Powdered Sugar-1/2 cup
Cardamom Powder-1/4 tsp
Black Sesame Seeds-1 tbs (you can use a combination of black and white sesame seeds)
Coconut Milk-1 cup + 2-4 tbs
Oil-For Deep Frying
1. Heat oil and dip the achu murukku mould in it while preparing the batter.
2. In a bowl mix together flour, rice flour, sugar, sesame seeds, cardamom powder and coconut milk.
3. The batter must be of dosa batter consistency. Add more coconut milk if required.
4. Now dip the hot mould into the batter. The batter shpould come only to 2/3rd of the mould.
5. Now remove the mould from batter. The batter would stick to the mould.
6. Now dip the mould into the hot oil.
7. If your mould is ready, just from little shaking the murukku will come out of the mould. But if is it not, then you have to use a fork or a sharp object to pry it and release it from the mould.
8. Fry the murukku on mdium flame until golden.
9. When removing from oil, the murukku may look soft but once cool it will become crisp.
10. Store in airtight jar and enjoy!!!
1. Always dip the mould in hot oil before dipping into batter. The batter will stick only if the mould is very hot.
2. Slightly shake the mould into the oil. The murukku will be released into the oil. Then use a skewer to remove it from oil once done.
3. As the batter has sugar, it tends to burn easily. So keep flame at medium. Cook until the sizzling stops.
4. If after some days you want to make achu murukku again, soak the mould in oil for two days and then use. Else the batter will stick. Maintaining the mould is very important to get good murukku.
Take all the ingredients in a bowl.
Add coconut milk and prepare a lump free batter.
Dip the mould in hot oil.
Now dip it in the batter.
See how the batter has stuck to the mould.
Place it in oil and gently shake the mould.
The murukku will be released.
Cook until golden, drain oil.
Aren’tt they cute??? I just love them…