The Sensitive Kitchen

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Murukku (Chakli)

Traditionally these spicy palm-sized treats are fried by pressing dough in spirals directly into hot oil. I am neither that talented nor that brave, so I pre-press them in batches onto the oiled backs of metal bowls, then invert the bowls carefully into the hot oil. The oil detaches them and they keep their shape perfectly as they fry. You may also use a flat perforated metal ladle, if you own such a thing.

1/2 c moong dal
1/4 c chana dal
3 c rice flour
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp untoasted sesame seeds
1 1/2 tsp salt
large pinch asafetida powder
1 1/2 Tbsp ghee
1 to 1 1/2 c water
rice bran oil or other high-heat oil

In a large skillet, dry-roast moong dal until very slightly brown. Remove and let cool. Grind until very fine; sieve and re-grind large pieces. Repeat with chana dal. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine dal powders, rice flour, cumin and sesame seeds, salt, and asafetida. Stir to combine. Drizzle in ghee, working it in with your fingers to a breadcrumb consistency. Add water, starting with 1 cup and adding by tablespoons until proper consistency is reached. Dough should be very stiff but not crumbly.

Heat a 2" depth of oil to a frying temperature of 375 (temperature setting 6.5 on my induction cooktop). Place a quantity of dough in your murukku press. Squeeze dough out into spirals, giving 4 or 5 revolutions per murukku, onto oiled bottoms of metal bowls or an oiled perforated metal ladle. Fry until intense bubbling stops and murukku is lightly browned. Remove to a metal rack set over a sheet pan to drain and cool. Repeat with remaining dough. Store in an airtight lidded container.

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