Monthly Archives: October 2011

Today I Really Made Murukku

I think I am on a roll, now I don’t think I have done anything Indian of this magnitude all through my blogging or actually in my life.  It must be the Diwali Spirit of sorts that’s making me Try out making Murukku, then I had Crocodile Varuvel, and now making Murukku.  Even the Indian man at the store who has known me since I was a kid asked me how come I didn’t buy the readymade Murukku like my family usually does and I seem to have carried on that tradition.

You know my love for good Murruku goes back a long long way that at Christman my Grandaunty would give me two big milk tins.  Everyone got presents and I got two big tins of Murukku.  So today is history for me.

Ok I cheated, I bought a bag of ready mix Murukku Mix, but truth be told if you followed the directions on the back, 100 percent it would not have worked, so you still needed to learn and watch other people as well as get their advice on certain tips.

So here goes.

Baba’s Murukku Mix                          1 bag

Now don’t follow the directions on the back because frankly it is a load of crap

Butter                                                  60 gm

The recipe says 30 gm of ghee, I added half and half but Butter is good as another Grandaunty of mine Aunty Letchumi used to add in butter into her Murukku and it  was till this day remembered as Just Heavenly Divine.  Pity none of my aunties ever had picked up her skills. I should ask my Aunties for the mothers recipes and see how it goes.

Water                                                 380 ml

As written on the recipe on the package but you may need more depending on the temperature

of the day. I used more today despite adding in more butter.

Cumin Seeds                                      1 tsp or a bit more – I prefer more

Black Sesame Seeds                          1 tsp

Sesame Seeds                                     1 or a little more

Now this does not appear on the package at all, and there are no spices of any sort in the

Baba’s Murukku Mix at all. I do not understand how they can just omit this and claim it is

grounded as part of the ingredients.

A little Salt

Oil for deep frying

5 sen or 10 sen coin

Murukku Press – I have a generic plastic one which believe it or not is still Patent Pending.

I tried using the triple star but it was a big mess, so use the single star if you are a beginner like me

 

The Method:

Now this method of preparing the Murukku I learnt from my neighbor Mala.  Of course Baba’s does not tell you to do anything of the sort. One would think they produce Murukku and need to hide the right way of preparing the stuff.

Going off a tangent here but I think it is damn silly for a company selling a certainfood  product and not providing a good and thorough recipe because if I used your product and follow the recipe given and if the food does not come out as shown or even in taste, I would never ever buy your product again.  Now a few of the Indian Spice producers, no names mentioned are known for this silliness.

It is silly for a producer of ingredients to do this because most novice cooks will use your products and if it spoils they will never ever buy your product and will even go as far as to tell others your products do not work.  Hope someone reads this and tells them.

Anyhow back to the recipe…

  1. Dry fry the Murukku mix. Make sure it does not ever get brown as it will affect the taste almost instantly.  Fry it for about 8 to 10 minutes.

    Always Dry Fry on low flame.

  1. Dry fry the spices as well till it is fragrant.

    Dry Fry on low flame till it is fragrant

  1. Mix the flour and the spices and add in salt. Leave it to cool.
  1. Add in the water and knead till it is a dough but not a hard dough.  This is not easy to describe but it should be soft enough to press through the Murukku Mould.

    This dough is rather hard as you can see the cracks so add a bit more water and butter.

  1.  Now fill the Murukku press, do not be smart and fill it too much as it is not easy to press at all. Ask my official presser, my brother who talked too much and regreted because I screamed out for him to help me today.  Here are the photos as he pressed them out with all his might.

    Lift it high enough so you can see what you are piping and move your hand in circular motions...

    Go round and around, about five times and make sure you do not overlap..

    Not bad for a beginner Murukku Presser

    6.  Now I think this should have been done before I started the pping bit, heat the oil.  Use new oil as Murukkus are good at absorbing flavors and getting all wrong colored.  I piped my Murukkus on the back of my cookie trays as I found the method used by my neighbor Sarojini far too tedious.  The results were something else. The first lot was all over the place.

    I swear my Murukkus looked like Floating Sanskrit in the oil.

    7.  Swirl the Murukku, will I used a large chopstick, always work well with my Chopsticks no matter what I do, so readers please don’t shake your heads. DO NOT leave the Murrukus till it is golden brown as it will have a slight bitter burnt taste.

    The wonders of Chopsticks

    8.  Do you notice the coin in the oil, well as i was told earlier it prevents oiliness, and for some reason, my Murukkus were not oily at all.  I was told to use a one sen coin but I could not find any.  I do not know what the science of this coin in the oil is but it works.  Still do drain the Murukku.

    Strain off any oil, but frankly with the coin in the oil and all, there was almost nothing. My fingers were not oily at all.

    The end…. why because it was all finished before I could get a whole plate of it.  Try this recipe, it will surely work, but be prepared for the squeezing, it is a tough tough job. Murukku will be something I will not sell unless I am paid really really well.  Happy Diwali everyone.

Crocodile Varuvel

Can you believe it.. this is Crocodile?

 

 

Today I had crocodile meat for the first time and mum made a dried curry or Varuvel, so we had Crocodile Varuvel.

My brother brought back two packets two days ago from Sandakan, present from his so called ex.  It resembled chicken when I looked at it, because it was frozen, and so mum decided this morning that she was going to cook it.

I had no clue what crocodile tasted like, the closest I have eaten anything like that was back in Australia when I had Cream of Alligator soup, but it was just a tiny bit and I thought back then it tasted funny.  The alligator flavor was too strong for my liking.  I guess back then it was a new meat so people didn’t know how to prepare it.  I also remember tasting kangaroo meat back then and it was horrible horrible horrible to the power of a trillion. It has improved nowadays though.

So todays endeavour, Crocodile Varuvel.

While I did not help to cook it as I was busy preparing for my class and also to prepare the ingredients for my Suji Cake orders for Diwali, so I left mum and Yus do the work.  I did make a busy body to check and stir it though.  I still felt funny even tasting it because I had this vision of a crocodile in my head and wondered how it was killed. Because surely Mr Croc here did not give himself up!

Once I ate Wild Boar and I found pellets, as in tiny bullets in my mouth! So I was skeptical about crocodile.  The meat  I must say resembled chicken fillets or chicken breast.

Anyhow I found the meat to taste and feel much like pieces of pork. Aunty Mary whom we did not tell what meat it was was convinced that it was pork and wondered why we cooked pork at home.  She did give us ideas of other dishes to cook as she still did not know nor does anyone want to tell her what meat it was.

Here is my Crocodile Varuvel Recipe

1 kg Crocodile Meat or Fillets – boiled with spices and throw away the water to rid of any gamey smell.

Spices:

Cinnamon Sticks    3 or 4

Cardamom   5 or 6

Cloves   10

Star Anise   4

Curry Leaves 20 leaves or more – I like to eat curry leaves

Ingredients to be Food Processed:

Onions   5 large

Ginger   100 gm

Garlic   100 gm

Chillies   5 or 6 depending on the degree of spiciness required

Other Ingredients:

Lemon Grass  3 stalks

Black Pepper

Salt and Sugar

To be made into a Paste:

Curry Powder   4 tbsp

Coriander Powder 1 tbsp

Cumin Powder 1 tsp or a little more

Fennel Powder 1 tsp

Chilly Powder to taste

Dark Soy Sauce – Lots of recipes add this but I’m not a fan of dark sauce

 

Method:

  1.  Heat oil and sauté spices. Add in curry leaves.  It should be nice and fragrant.
  2. Add in blended ingredients and leave to simmer
  3. Add in paste.  Add in water if required and then add in boiled crocodile meat.
  4. This is the simmering to drying stage

  5. Leave to simmer for about an hour. Season to taste
  6. Can you believe that the animal this meat came from could have swallowed you up whole???

  7. Cook till meat is tender, and then increase heat to dry the gravy.
  8. Add in black pepper powder
  9. Cook till mixture is thick and dry.  If the meat is not tender or still has a gamey smell, cook a little longer.
  10. Serve with rice or chappatis.

 

 

Today I made Murukku

I love Murukku…

All my life I’ve always wanted to try to make Murruku and I think I have tried once or twice and it was always a big failure because I never had a clue how to do it. Eda my helper did make it once or twice but she had her own version which was nice but not really Murukku.

Murruku if anyone out there does not know seeing that I do get the odd person from overseas is an Indian savory crispy mildly spicy crisp. This is my own definition  and I am sure there are better ones out there.  So today is history.

I made Murruku or at least I tried to do it and I must say I was not good at all, because my neighbor was just being nice to me because I was insistent and they were quite excited that I came over to try.

It was bloody hard!!!! Trying to squeeze the dough out of the mould was so difficult, my shoulders looked like it was drilling a road.  Sarojini on the other hand did it like it was nothing at all.

I watched her from my kitchen window and was caught by her mother and sisters and so I sheepishly asked is I could help out.  And so off I went.  She just did it like she was  Murukku Machine.

Step 1

Hold the Murukku Mould or Achi it is called and press firlmly. Start with a constant flow.

 

Step 2

Move the Achi or the Murukku Mould round and ensure there is no overlapping pull away the excess.

Step 3

A Perfect Pressed Murukku ready for frying.

So I did about 20 murukkus, ate about 40 and in the end just stood there watching and talking about neighbors.

Murukkus turning golden in the frying pan... a true sight to behold.

I did learn a few things so I will try to make it myself. What I wanted to learn more was to pipe the murrukku and to remove from the paper or the tray to be fried.  It is a two person perhaps three person job though.  They made enough to fill six or seven big tins.

Truly Scrumptious!

Also if you notice, a 1 sen coin is thrown into the pan of hot oil. This I was told was to ensure the murukkus were not oily.  It is something their ancestors from India did because Sarojini’s mother is from India.

Myth or Fact - let's find out

This seemed to be the case with Sarojini’s murukku that day, it was practically oil less. So again this is something I will try. I did ask them if this worked for all things fried crispy…. Sadly it does not.

Anyhow it was dark by the time I ‘finished’, I got a plastic container full of murukku for my good deed.