05 May 2014

Thenkuzhal Murukku - AFF Indian Subcontinent May 2014

The theme for Asian Food Festival in the month of May 2014 is Indian Subcontinent. Wow. Now this is challenging. I can count with one hand the number of times we ate any authentic Indian Indian food. Roti Prata doesn't really count since it's very much localised already; it's not even called Roti Prata in Indian, it's called Paratha with many variations. If we were to eat Indian food, we usually go for Naans with Aloo Gobi and Beef or Mutton Masala. We don't even like Chicken Tikka or Butter Chicken. I've not eaten any Briyani for ten years already I think.

That said, I love to eat Murukku and also the pastry that looks like doughnut, Medhu Vadai. In fact, I didn't even know it's called Medhu Vadai until now. I used to just point at the Indian food stall :p I heard that the Indians eat it with some sambar and chutney but I like it plain. I must be this weird chinese girl who buy one piece of Vadai to eat like that. Haha.

I digress. Since I like to eat Murukku, I've always wanted to try making it at home. So this month offers me the perfect opportunity to finally stop thinking and start making. As I read through different recipes and sources for information, I realised there are many variations to Murukku as well; different households also have their own ingredients and methods of preparation.

I got quite confused actually. After comparing several recipes, I can see that rice flour, butter, salt, cumin seeds, sesame seeds and Asafoetida or Hing are key ingredients. In addition, either Urad Dal flour or Gram flour would be added. I found out that Gram flour is Chickpea flour and Urad Dal is a lentil also known as Black Gram. So is Black Gram different from Gram? And then some ingredients have many different names? Arghhhh....

Anyways, I ventured to Mustafa Centre to get the necessary ingredients. I've been to Mustafa Centre many years back just to look see so didn't have much impression. But this time I went there with a mission to get stuff I need, and I was seriously overwhelmed and hopelessly lost there. There are sooooooo many variations, brands and types of ingredients that got me utterly confused. Luckily I brought along a list and engaged the help of the friendly staff over there who could tell me the exact aisles to go to (the place is big)! Not sure if these are the correct ingredients but whatever, I was so tired that I just selected whichever brands that look right.

I also got me this gadget, a Murukku press with 4 different discs. This is the only type I found, not cheap it cost $24.

I decided to use the recipe by Edible Garden because it looks simple enough with step-by-step pictorial instructions. The recipe says to use either urad dal flour or roast urad dal and grind it into powder. As I was thinking of making Medhu Vadai, I bought the urad dal (skinless) instead of the flour (couldn't find the flour version anyway). Pan fried a few tbsp of urad dal then grinded them using my small electric chopper. Not easy job as the urad dal is very hard and my chopper is too small/weak. Then sieve to get the urad dal powder.

First mix the rice flour with salt, urad dal powder and hing/asafoetida, then add small cubes of salted butter and rub into the mixture until it resembles coarse sand (there are some recipes that use melted butter instead). Then add cumin seeds and sesame seeds. Finally add water gradually and knead to become a soft dough. Initially I didn't add enough water (although the dough seemed soft enough), and it was very difficult to squeeze the dough out of the press. It became easier after sufficient amount of water added.

Frying the murukku required lots of practice as well. Initially I found the presser quite tough to use and I got many small and short pieces of murukku (I use the disc with 5 holes). But after a few tries, got slightly better. Some people squeeze the murukku dough onto the back of a ladle first before shifting the dough into the frying pan. But I found it easier for me to squeeze the dough directly into the oil. And the murukku cannot be fried for too long, once it turned slightly brown got to pick it up already else they would be over-fried and turned dark brown.

All in all, was quite happy with the result and the taste was not bad. Not too saltish, very crunchy and I love the taste of the spices. Hubby also gave thumbs up. I think I'll be trying other recipes using chickpea flour and make the spiral murukku using the star disc. Stay tuned!

Thenkuzhal Murukku
(recipe from Edible Garden)

  • 1 cup rice flour (about 170g)
  • 3 tsp urad dal powder (I use urad dal and grind into powder using electric chopper)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida/hing
  • 2 tbsp salted butter (about 30g)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
  • 1/2 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 9 tbsp + 1 tsp water
  • Oil for frying
  1. Mix the rice flour with urad dal powder, salt and asafoetida.
  2. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour mixture (1). Rub the butter with the flour mixture with the fingertips until it resembles coarse sand.
  3. Add the cumin seeds and sesame seeds and mix well.
  4. Add water gradually until the dough becomes soft, smooth and pliable. To test, place a lump of dough into the murukku press and squeeze, if the dough comes out very slowly and very hard to squeeze, the dough is not soft enough.
  5. Heat a pot of oil (enough to cover the murukku) till very hot, press/squeeze the dough into the oil using the murukku press in a circular swirling motion (I use the disc with 5 holes). Deep fry each piece of murukku for about 45s or till light golden brown. Drain on kitchen towel and let cool completely.
  6. Store in airtight container.

I am submitting this to Asian Food Fest Indian Subcontinent Month


  1. Wow, you are fantastic

  2. Hi Meg! I would first like to say a BIG Thank You for your contribution to this month's AFF.

    Next, I must congratulate and applaud you for the effort put in to make this post possible. I'm truly impressed!

  3. Hi Chef,
    Thanks for visiting my blog :)
    I'm really glad that AFF gave me the opportunity to try out new things that I normally won't (with lots of excuses!) =P

  4. Hi Meg,
    I love this Indian snack.
    Thanks for sharing this simpler version

  5. It's really intersting recipe to make at home.Restaurants in Noida