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Friday, June 27, 2008

Thenkuzhal


Thenkuzhal, along with Muthsaram, Ribbon Pakoda, and Murukku, is a fried snack my mom makes on and off, especially around festival season in Fall. If the oil temperature is just right, this turns out very light and non-greasy and is very addictive: you can't stop with just a nominal amount - like, I could eat the amount shown in the picture in one sitting, while sipping mugs of my favorite cardamom-ginger chai :)

While Ribbon Pakoda is my favorite, especially the melt-in-the-mouth texture that my mom makes, Thenkuzhal comes a close second, with the same buttery rich, crunchy yet not harsh texture.

This is my mom's recipe and the picture above shows the apparatus she uses to make these fried snacks. I have tried her recipe on and off and it is very easy and works well as long as the oil temperature is medium-high and just right to cook through without absorbing oil, but not too hot to scorch the outsides and leave the insides raw.

I test the temperature by simply dropping a pea-size bit of the batter: if it floats to the top within about 5-6 seconds and is golden brown on the outside and done on the inside it should be about right. And, as this is fried in batches, just need to wait for the oil to heat up to the right temperature for each batch.

thenkuzhal maker apparatus


Ricer-like contraption to push out the batter in little squiggles into the hot oil, as shown in picture, comes with several "plates" that define the shape of the batter as it gets pushed through. So, the same apparatus is used to make Muthsaram, Thenkuzhal and Ribbon Pakoda by just changing these plates with proper holes. The batter is of course, slightly different for each of these and I hope to post them soon.

Before my mom gave me this apparatus, I tried Thenkuzhal with cake icing plunger-thingy, and with a generic ketchup/mustard bottle with a larger hole cut at the tip, but those did not give enough control over the shape. The apparatus clearly is designed for this and makes it easy to get the job done.

Ingredients
2 cups plain rice flour
½ cup urad flour
2 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp ghee or canola oil
a pinch of baking powder
salt to taste
water as needed

6-8 cups canola oil for frying
Ricer-like contraption to push out the batter in little squiggles into the hot oil.

Preparation
  1. Heat the oil to a medium-high temperature, not too hot
  2. Combine all the ingredients except water, add a little water at a time till the batter is about the consistency of thick toothpaste which can be squeezed through the contraption shown; taste and adjust salt
  3. Take a chunk of batter and stuff it into the ricer-like apparatus and squeeze gently while moving hands back and forth to trace the squiggly shape over the hot oil
  4. Allow to cook through and become golden brown on the outside, remove with slotted spoon and drain on a paper-towel lined plate
  5. If stored in an air-tight container in a dark place, it lasts for a few weeks before the oil starts getting rancid and starts feeling stale, but, I doubt it will last that long:)
  6. If the salt seems inadequate, sprinkle some as soon as it comes out of the oil

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3 Comments:

  • At 3:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sheela,

    I was longing for thenkughal or murukku during my pregnancy specially after they diagnosed me with gestational diabetics. I was drooling so much even thinking about with my strict diabetic food regiment. I love eating box full murukku with ginger/elachi tea ( man we have so much in common )

    I make the best murukku every year for diwali but I haven't had time to prepare one with the little guy so far.

    Hope I will be able to make muruku this year (with NR consuming my day with his feeding routine)and deliver to you on diwali :)

    -CS

     
  • At 6:27 PM, Blogger meeso said…

    Oh, I love fried snacks like this... I have little patience for deep frying, too.

     
  • At 5:58 PM, Blogger Cynthia said…

    I had these for the first time a couple of weeks ago while on a trip to the US and man these were so good. I want to try making it but don't have the necessary tool :)

    I'll get back to you with an email. Sorry for not responding before, things have just been crazy at my end.

     

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