Every year when Diwali comes around, our kitchen gets ready to rumble. Although we steer clear of the firecrackers and noisy bombs that most people seem to associate with the festival, the thing we always do is make lots of Diwali farsaan (and light diyas around the house). Of course, all of these things are eaten throughout the year but somehow it's the sort of thing we tend to buy in shops usually. During Diwali, things are stepped up a little – the kitchen is redolent with the aroma of frying Murukku crackling away in its magma of hot oil. Freshly-fried chivda is filled up in little jars and sent over to the neighbours. In turn, our neighbours send us platefuls of spicy sev and sankar palli. The dishes below have come to us over the years from various relatives and friends; their recipes are brought out every year at Diwali time.MURMURA CHIVDA5 cups of murmura / puffed rice
3 Tbsp of Oil
1/2 tsp of asafoetida
1/4 tsp of mustard seeds
3 finely chopped green chillies
3 stalks of curry leaves
1//2 cup of roasted chana dal (dalia)
1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1/4 cup of raw peanuts
POHE CHIVDA3 cups of thin poha
3 Tbsp of sunflower oil
100 gm of peeled peanuts
1/2 cup of raisins
1 tsp of mustard seeds
20 curry leaves (approximately)
3-4 green chillies, julienned
Sugar a pinch
Salt to tasteFirst, sieve the poha well. Then dry roast it in a saucepan over a low flame, stirring as required – this will keep the poha from becoming soft. Turn off the flame when the poha becomes crisp (about four minutes). Then empty it all and let it cool on the side, while you pour the oil into the pan. Toss in the peanuts, then fry them until they turn golden brown. Remove them and place them with the poha. Next, add in the raisins and fry them until they shrivel; then place them on the side. Make the tadka by sprinkling the mustard seeds into the hot oil, until they pop and splatter, then toss in the chillies and curry leaves and stir fry for about two minutes. Add this all to the toasted poha, the peanuts and the raisins and mix very gently, else the poha may break. Season with the sugar and salt and serve.
MURUKKU1 1/3 cup of besan (chickpea flour)
1/2 cup of rice flour
1 Tbsp of butter
1 Tbsp of oil
1 1/2 tsp of chilli powder
Salt to tasteMix, sift and sieve the flours together and then add in the chilli powder and the butter. Mix it all until it becomes a sort of very dry, crumbly dough. Then add a little water, kneading as you go. Don't add too much at one go, or you won't get the consistency of the dough right. Make sure it isn't too hard or too soft, like a slightly pliable chapati dough. Then add the salt to taste and mix it one final time.
Now heat up the oil in a kadhai. To make the long tapes of murukku, you need a murukku mould. All you have to do is press the dough gently into the mould, while holding it over the bubbling vat of hot oil, until ribbons of dough emerge from the other side. Fry the resulting ribbons until crisp and golden brown. Then drain on absorbent paper towels to remove excess oil and eat!Please note : I have attempted it without the mould by flattening it like a chapati, then carving off long strips and frying them. The result is infinitely more clumsy and not the correct thickness, but it does taste good nevertheless.
BHAKARWADIFor the wrapper:250 gm of Refined flour
2 Tbsp of Maida
Salt to taste
3 Tbsp pre-heated oil (not too hot, not too cold)For the filling:3 Tbsp of dry coconut, scraped off a coconut grater
2 Tbsp of red chilli powder
3 green chillies
2 tsp of poppy seeds (khuskhus)
3/4 tsp of turmeric powder
1 Tbsp of coriander seed powder
1/2 tsp of garam masala
1 Tbsp of cumin powder
1/2 tsp of fennel seeds
1 tsp of sesame seeds
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying1. Sieve the flours thoroughly and then mix them together. Add in the remaining ingredients and knead into a dough, sort of like a chapati dough.2. Dry roast the poppy seeds and the coconut. Then, add all the ingredients for the stuffing into a mixer and grind into a dry chutney-like paste.3. Then divide the dough into two halves and roll each half out into a flat chapati shape. Make sure it isn't so thin that it doesn't hold together, but it shouldn't be thick either. Use a little oil to coat the dough. Flatten half the stuffing amount on one chapati, and then roll into a cylindrical shape. Pinch the ends to seal, then slice it into even discs. Repeat the procedure for the remaining dough and masala. Deep fry the discs into a light golden brown. Time to eat!
About the Author: Meher Mirza is an independent writer and editor, with a focus on food and travel. Formerly with BBC Good Food India, she loves anime, animals and artsy things but also comics, technology and death metal.
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