Benne Murukku


[Update: Benne Murukku was featured on the kitchn on Oct 14 2011]

Back in the olden days, making Murukku traditionally was quite an elaborate affair. Short grain rice would be washed and allowed to dry spread out on a clean white cloth. When dried, it would then be stone ground in small handful batches to a fine powdery flour and the same repeated for roasted Urad dal/split Black gram as well. And the whole process would easily take couple of days before the actual making begins!
I know it verbatim because that was exactly how it was made in my grand dad’s house every year for the festival of Gokulashtami up until a decade ago. No wonder those murukkus were heavenly!


And little wonder why no one makes them that way these days..
Now we neither have the stone grinders, nor time or the patience and probably the stamina to stone grind as well, having been so used to all the luxuries of modern life.. Quite naturally my murukku making starts directly with store-bought rice and lentil flours and takes a fraction of the time it took for the traditional obsolete method.. And it turns out quite well too. But, stone grinding is quite an experience and exercise, take my word for it!

I learnt this recipe from my aunt who has been making lovely crispy white murukku for years.
Benne which means Butter in Kannada is a key ingredient that results in this crispy crunchy typical South Indian snack.

Don’t stare me in the eye because I said ‘Butter’! I’d rather use real butter any day than dalda which is rather extinct even in grocery stores these days or hydrogenated vegetable oils or margarine. And since we don’t make murukkus every other day, I guess it should be ok to indulge once in a while…

One other time when Murukkus were almost certainly made in miniature sizes was on one of the ten days during the festival of Dasara or “Bombe Habba” (Doll Festival) as it is popularly known in Karnataka.
I could not arrange “Bombe/Gombe” for display here as my entire collection of traditional dolls sits boxed up in storage back home. So, last week, I visited the Meenakshi temple instead for a visual feast of the Bommai Golu and made Murukku at home to relive the sweet memories of those “never to come back” golden days of childhood..

Born in the royal city of Mysore, Dasara was no ordinary affair for us. As kids, it was a tradition during Dasara to go to each house in the neighborhood asking “Bombe koorsideera?” (kannada) meaning “Have you arranged the dolls?” visiting those who did. In return, we were given a handful of “Bombe Baageena” (kannada) ~ goodies in short. Murukku was an absolute kid’s favorite owing to its taste and portability.

Murukku or Chakli making might seem quite daunting at first. Once you try, you’ll know how easy it is and probably even repent why you never did all these days..

Benne Murukku Recipe

Print Recipe

Things you’ll need:
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup urad/black gram flour
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1/8 tsp  or a pinch of asafoetida (I prefer to use L.G Hing)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cold butter or hot peanut oil
  • salt
  • peanut oil for deep-frying
Other:
  • Murukku/Chakli press – I use a bronze Murukku press
  • disc with star at the centre (comes with the Murukku press)
  • banana leaf /aluminium foil / parchment paper / wax sheet
  • slotted ladles
How it’s done:

Wash the Murukku press, assemble the disc and keep aside.
Dry roast urad flour on medium heat until fragrant and golden brown. Be careful not to burn it. Alternatively, dry roast urad dal until fragrant and golden brown and grind it to a fine flour in a mixer when cooled.
Sift the flours into a large mixing bowl and mix all the dry ingredients well. Cut in cold butter and mix well using your fingers until incorporated. If not using butter, heat oil to deep-frying temperature or until shimmering and not smoking (test – cumin seeds sizzle) and pour it onto the flour mix and blend. This procedure is called ‘Saati”
When lightly pressed in your palm, this flour should hold shape without crumbling away. If not, adjust butter, mix and test again. The flour is ready to be mixed with water if it passes this test.
In a kadai / thick bottomed saucepan, heat oil for deep-frying so that oil is ready when Murukku is pressed and ready to be deep-fried. Keep the banana leaf /lining sheet of your choice ready.
Divide the buttered flour into two portions, keeping your working portion small so that when mixed, it should be the size of your fist. Sprinkling approx 2 tbsp of water at a time mix the working portion until it is soft, well mixed and holds good shape. The dough should neither be too wet nor too dry. If crumbs are falling off then it is too dry and too wet if the dough is sticky. When correctly mixed, even though it was sticky to start with, it should come off your palm and hold together. Shape the dough into a fist sized cylindrical roll.
Grease the insides of the press for the turning type and both inside and outsides for the pressing type of Murukku press. Doing this lets the dough slide easily inside the press. Fill the dough roll into the press and press onto a banana leaf or wet clean cloth or lining sheet of your choice in circular motion. Don’t worry if the first few strands break or don’t turn out perfectly like they should. The dough is quite forgiving, so if it breaks, just fix the ends or simply re-fill and press away.
To check the oil temperature, drop a tiny piece of dough. It should rise to the top as soon as it hits the bottom of the pan. If not, wait until the oil reaches the desired temperature and then switch heat to medium.
To transfer the murukkus into the deep-frying pan or kadai, slide one hand below the sheet holding on top of the murukku with the other palm, gently flip the sheet to transfer it into your other palm. secure the murukku with your thumb and gently slide it into the oil along the edge of the pan, palm facing down. Be quick to pull back your hand to avoid any oil spatter. If this is your first time, transfer the murukku as described onto a slotted ladle and slide the ladle into the oil and murukku will release itself.
Once murukku rises to the top, flip and deep fry until sizzling stops and the large number of tiny bubbles around the murukku die down to a few. Remove onto a tissue paper using the slotted ladle.
While the deep frying continues, press the next batch of murukkus and repeat.
Enjoy the “karrum – kurrum” as is or with cuppa of your choice!
Let cool and store in an air tight container. Stores well for at least 2 weeks.

Notes:

For larger quantities, just remember the rice : lentil flour ratio is 4 : 1
Good crispy Murukku depends entirely on how the flour is mixed with butter then water and how it is fried (temperature). So pay more attention to those.
Do not mix water to the entire flour. Mix small portions at a time sprinkling couple of tbsp of water at a time
Do not press Murukku way ahead of deep frying as the dough dries out and easily breaks when deep-fried
If the dough is too dry, just dip your fingers in clean water and mix again until it comes to the right consistency.
The color of the Murukku depends on the temperature of the oil. For super crispy (not brittle) and white murukku, deep fry at medium to medium-high heat only.
So far I have not found L.G. Hing in the Indian grocery stores here (I bring a stash from India). The most common ones are SSP and Vandevi.
Murukku/Chakli press is sold in almost all Indian grocery stores. I find the turning types much less stressful on the hands than the pressing types.
If you are having trouble getting the round shape, don’t fret. With a little practice you should be just fine. Until then, you could even press the dough directly into the frying pan. Cut off the strands with your fingers when you want to stop.

Sending this to Blog Hop Wednesdays ~ Week 6 at Tickling Palates
You might also like:
   

57 thoughts on “Benne Murukku

  1. kankana says:

    I use to eat these a lot in Bangalore .. with hot tea .. coffee and sometime even plain. That utensil u used to shape it .. my mom has that and I always had fun helping her with that 🙂

  2. dassana says:

    radhika, you have a wonderful blog and amazing photos… the murukkus…(we call them chaklis).. are looking so good… got reminded of my golden days of childhood when my mom would make them… i wish i had the time and patience to make such lovely murukkus…

    • Radhika says:

      So glad to see you visit Dassana, we call them Chaklis too 🙂
      Childhood days are the best when we can eat mom’s food all the time and all we want without regret…

  3. Anna says:

    I must say these are wonderful snacks! But they look really complicated to be done by someone like me. I bet they are delicious! According to folktales that I have heard from my friends from Bombay, rice dishes are often served during family special offers because rice is sticky, rice dishes can make family members stick together. I think there is some wisdom there… Thanks for the post. I will try to make this snack one day.

  4. Marti says:

    Radhika, I will probably never make them. (Not sure the taste would agree with my American tastes) But I definitely enjoyed the descriptions, the pictures and the bit of culture posted here. Great blog!

    • Radhika says:

      Marti, I really appreciate you stopping by and leaving such honest thoughts…. hope you get to try it sometime somewhere… You never know what you might like! 🙂

  5. Shirley@kokken69 says:

    The ‘light’ you have captured in your photo made the murukus look so luminous… I just have to check them out when I saw the picture at FG. You have such a beautiful blog, I am glad I found Just Home Made.

  6. a spoonful of yumm says:

    what a lovely post…i love murukku. been to mysore, its such a peaceful and beautiful place. really enjoyed seeing the palace & chamundi hill temple..nice n cold up there 🙂 just went to see bomma golu at aunt’s place the other day. though i don’t do it at home…its interesting to see

    • Radhika says:

      Shruti, so happy to know you like Mysore, it is no doubt a lovely place – has the calm and serenity that no big city has. In fact, I wish Mysore to stay that way, untouched by urban eccentricities, but some things aren’t in our hands… Mysore has a special place in my heart…

  7. Swathi says:

    Radhika!

    Murukku, gokulashtami and bombe habba..how similiar can our childhood have been! and these look so yummy..I almost want to move to the same city as you just to eat this 😀

  8. Fahad Khan (@PharaohKhan) says:

    Wow!Murukku!I remember my mom trying to make this when I was a little kid,and I must add that she is a great cook(Just like all moms are!) 🙂 But she could never get it right!Hehe..
    I have a quick question: Why don’t we mix water with all the flour rather than making small working portions?Is it because the dough may become dry?
    Thank you for sharing the recipe,I absolutely love the simple yet detailed approach you take to writing!

    • Radhika says:

      Good question Fahad.
      Mixing water to the entire flour will make the dough soak more water while it sits waiting until its turn arrives to be pressed out, This results in hard Murukku.
      The flour into which butter has been cut into, should be mixed with just enough water to form a soft pliable dough so that when deep fried, butter melts while the moisture evaporates quickly as steam (this is why the sizzling is high at first) and results in crisp Murukku.

  9. Rajani says:

    ‘Never to come back childhood days’? I know! Simple pleasures taken for granted then, becomes precious memories later on…something which our children will never experience.

    Love the murukku and the pictures. Awesome 🙂

  10. Keerthana@lifenspice says:

    Chakkulis look out of the world Radhika! I do not have the right words to express how I feel seeing these mouth watering pictures + Bombe habba picture. That took me back to childhood days. First time at your blog. And I am loving what I see 🙂

  11. Shruti says:

    Wow, this post made me extremely nostalgic, for the food for the bombe and everything associated with this festival. Being aMysorean myself, I miss that feel of festivity in the air. Seeing the “sadagara” in every part of the city was so much fun! Thanks for this walk down the memory lane!

    • Radhika says:

      I hear you Chinmayie… I did not make Murukku even once when I was in India… This is the result of me having no option but to make it myself when I am craving for it!
      Miss my mom’s cooking so much though!

  12. Nishi says:

    Radhika, nimma chakli nodi manna amman a chakli gnapaka barataide. I never knew about all these tips that you have mentioned at end of the post. I am planning to make murukkus for deepawali. Will try your recipe 🙂

  13. Manju says:

    they look absolutely perfect!!! ive always had this thing in my head that murukkus are difficult to make. I got the press and everything the last time I went to India, but haven;t mustered up the courage to make some yet..hopefully soon 🙂

  14. Praveena Aradhya says:

    Radhika nanage Mysore gombe gnapakke barisbitte…Those were the golden days…..thindigoskara nadroo “bombe koorisiddeera” antha friends manege hogodu…aa 9 days full ratri oota illa yaakendre inthadde kuruklalli hotte thumbiskotha idvi….I have tasted the murukku you prepare….its awesome…..it just melts away in the mouth…..

    • Radhika says:

      Praveena,
      Just can’t express how much I miss those days of Dasara too.. I agree with everything you said..
      And thank you for the seal of approval for my Murukku 🙂

  15. Jennifer (Delicieux) says:

    Wow these are SO beautiful Radhika!!! They look absolutely perfect, and again you’ve introduced me to a new food I’ve never heard of.

    I love the photos too, just gorgeous. Especially the last one on the blue background.

    • Radhika says:

      Jennifer, I am glad to hear that 🙂 Sometimes what is totally unheard of in this part of the world is something so common in another that people hardly take note of it because it is so much part of one’s lives..
      That happens within India too.. You’re not alone 🙂

  16. Radhika says:

    Oh Soma, I had a truck load of them the last weekend you came here.. Guess we weren’t meant to meet yet! BTW, I meant to show that they ‘ONLY’ sound complicated, but not so to do…
    And that skillet is my fave too 😉

  17. Soma says:

    I see the skillet 🙂 and the BEAUTIFULLY shaped murukkus. I love them so but never made them at home. they sound complicated and i don’t have the thing to make the shape. wish i could have some of these:)

Speak your mind.. I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s