Kai Murukku – a delectable traditional South Indian Deepavali savory recipe with detailed step-wise pictures and video recipe. Kai Murukku or Suthu Murukku is shaped with hand and is totally worth your efforts.
Every year I take up one food challenge during Deepavali where I drive myself crazy and keep trying at that recipe until I feel satisfied with the results. Two years back I tried Motichoor Ladoo and last year I tried Khova Gulab Jamun. This year I had my eyes set on Kai Murukku. The last two-year projects seem like child’s play compared to what I had signed up for this year. I was not prepared for what this traditional snack had in store for me and set about trying it one afternoon just like that.
The Kai Murukku or Suthu Murukku recipe gets its name from the fact that it is shaped by hand. It is traditionally made for weddings as a return gift from the bride’s side and my experience with it so far has been just eating it. Now how hard could it be? There are only a couple of main ingredients – rice flour and urad dal. The steps are very simple – make the dough, take small batches of dough, twist it using your hand and shape it before frying it. Now hard could it be? Very hard. And I learnt it after spending grueling 6hrs standing my kitchen.
Look at those desperate shaped murukku 🙁 The murukku tasted amazing and everyone at home enjoyed it. But I was not convinced.
Now not the one to quit so easily, I tried it one more time last weekend and the results were much better. See it yourself 🙂
I am no way claiming that I am expert in making these Kai Murukku, although I have enough information up my repertoire to ensure that no one makes the same mistakes I did the first time. One huge disclaimer though – this is one dish that you can’t blindly follow from a recipe and expect the same results. It comes by practice – that’s the biggest secret. I was still not making great shapes of Kai Murukku with my first few from the second batch. It is only after practicing again and again, I got the knack of twisting the dough. The other key is ensuring that the dough doesnt dry out. Wet your hands as needed to twist the dough easily. But too much water will not help either. So, practice to get better.
Traditionally this Kai Murukku is fried in coconut oil and ghee, it tastes divine. As I made a small batch with just one cup of rice, I used oil to make these. There are a number of recipes on the internet and there are also a number of video references and watching them makes it seem like an easy task. So, I didn’t follow any recipe in particular but took tips from most of them. Unlike the usual murukku recipe, the rice flour for this recipe is made differently. It is the rice and the preparation of the flour that makes a lot of difference apart from the practice part. Read through the detailed recipe below to know more.
My husband made a quick video on the phone while I was shaping the Murukku. Check it out below.
How to make Kai Murukku | Suthu Murukku –
Detailed step-wise picture recipe of making Kai Murukku | Suthu Murukku –
Wash and soak the dosa rice (maavu pacharisi) in enough water for one hour.
Meanwhile, dry roast urad dal on medium flame until golden brown.
Once cooled down, grind into a smooth powder.
Sieve it to remove any coarse particles. We need 2 tsp of this flour, so measure it out and set aside.
Drain off the water and dry them on a cloth towel for 2-3 mins until excess water is removed. Do not dry them completely or under the fan or in the hot sun. It is essential for the rice to be wet, just not soaking wet.
Transfer the wet rice into a blender jar and grind on high power until it is smoothly powdered.
Dump the wet rice flour onto a sieve and gently sieve the rice flour. Don’t push it around with hands, as there is chance of coarse rice flour getting through. If you have a lot of coarse flour, grind it again and sieve. Don’t do it beyond two times as it can dry out the flour. I got approx. 2 cups of rice flour.
Add the rice flour to a mixing bowl along with urad dal flour, butter at room temperature and salt as needed.
Mix it gently with your fingers to ensure that the butter is spread all over the flour. The mixture will look crumbly.
Now add water little by little and knead into a soft dough. I had to use about 1/4 cup of water only, as the rice flour we use is slightly wet. The dough looks sticky, unlike the usual murukku dough. If it does not, then there was an issue with the rice flour. It is this stickiness that helps in twisting the dough to shape it by hand.
Now spread a clean towel and place a bottle cap. Take a small ball of dough in your hands and begin twisting it with your thumb and index finger. It helps to hold the dough at a height as it becomes easier to keep the shape even. Look at the video for reference. You can slightly wet the dough if it is too dry and it will dry out if it is held in hand or exposed to air for too long.
Hold as much dough as possible and shape the murukku as evenly as possible. Traditionally these Kai Murukku are made moonu varisai, naalu varisai etc upto 9 varisai. I tried to keep it small at 3 varisai only.
Always end off the murukku at the same point where it began so that all murukku look uniformly shaped.
Prepare all the murukku this way and by the time 7-8 are done, you will notice that the first few start to leave water below as the towel turns slightly wet. This means they are ready to fry. It will also be easier to remove them without breaking at this stage.
Heat oil for deep frying. Once it is hot, set the flame on medium to low. Take the prepared murukku using a flat spatula and drop it gently into the oil. You can fry 2-3 per batch depending on the size of your fry pan.
At the beginning, the murukku will float on top and bubble really well. After a minute, turn them to the other side and continue cooking.
As the bubbling stops and they sink towards the bottom, remove them from oil. They will turn a shade darker once out of the oil. Don’t let them turn golden brown in oil itself. Repeat this with rest of the murukku.
Store them in an airtight container once they cool down a bit. Serve with a cup of hot coffee or tea!
- I tried this recipe with dosa rice (also called as maavu pacharisi) but I think it will work with sona masoori too, although I didn’t personally try it.
- For the first batch, I used about 2 tbsp of urad dal powder and loved the taste of the murukku. I was however unsure if the urad dal flour caused difficulty in shape, so reduced it with the second trial. I will try it a third time to let you guys know how much more urad dal and butter can be added.
- Instead of the butter in the recipe, you can also use 2tbsp of hot oil although butter version tastes better.
- It is important to maintain the temperature of the oil. Once hot, keep it on low to medium flame for crisp and evenly cooked murukku.
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