Everyone has their own indulgence with fried food. Even the thought of them make us forget about our surroundings for a few seconds. They have the power to trigger pleasure inducing neurotransmitters and soothe the soul.
Even though new items are in the rise, we cannot sever our link with traditional fried food. Recipes are handed down from generation to generation and while preparing them we relive our happy memories and also make new ones.
Like music, food has the mysterious ability to stir up emotions and connect us with memories of those we love. Whenever I think of fried snacks, the first thing that comes to my mind is Murukku. These crispy round delights are the prefect snack to have while sipping a hot cup of tea. It is also one of my earliest food memories, where I used to sit in a corner and watch my mom prepare these golden-hued snacks for Diwali.
The incident I’m going to share did not happen during Diwali but, when I visited my aunt’s place at Tiruchendur a few years back. I reached there on a Saturday morning all excited to meet my cousins. Uncle Kumar picked me up from the bus stop and we reached home. After I freshened up, all of us enjoyed a barefoot stroll along the sandy seashore of Tiruchendur and went to get the darshan of Lord Muruga.
Exhausted from waiting in a long line to get darshan, we reached home. Aunty Kavitha gave us some steaming cup of hot tea with murukku to give us a burst of energy. Then she sat with all of us and said, “You know Anjana, the best murukkus I’ve tasted so far is your mom’s.”
She was absolutely right. The soft, crunchy, and buttery yellow murkku my mother makes just melts in your mouth like the Lindor singles hazelnut. Imagining it made me hungry for my mom’s murukku.
I wanted to give my visit a lovely twist (muruku) and decided to make it with my aunt. So I dialed my mom to get the recipe, made note of all the ingredients and preparation techniques.
My little cousins helped to clear the kitchen counter to make sure that nothing but the stove was there. It took us few hours to prepare the dough as the rice had to be soaked in water before grinding. Once it was ready, we scooped a handful of the dough in the murukku maker and pressed it over the back of a karandi (perforated ladle) in the shape of palm sized noodles that coils one upon the other. Then one-by -one they were dropped into a pan of hot vegetable oil.
By the time we were done making it the entire house was crunching the murukkus. But my aunt and I couldn’t have it as we were exhausted by standing in front of the hot oil for hours. Now I understood why my mom just has a glass of milk and nothing solid after she’s done making them.
The next day I tasted it and even though it wasn’t like my mom’s it was still yummy. I left my aunt’s house with this happy memory that I will cherish forever.
I realized that it’s not about the batter or the oil you use. Be it random or special it’s all about eating it with your loved ones and making a connection between what you’re eating and the person who prepared it.
Murukku with tea is the greatest combination in the world because no matter where you are and whoever prepared the murukku, it tastes like home.
Before I went to bed that night, I wanted to have one more. While looking at the half eaten murukku I realized there are some valuable life lessons that can be learnt.
Murukku??? Really?? Yeah usually the brain gets hyperactive before bed time right!
- The dough- It depicts how life is a mixture of something plain (rice), sweet(ghee), flavor(salt)
- Murukku maker- In the process of shaping yourself for life, you get squished
- Frying- When you ready to dive into the world you get fried
- Murukku- In the end, when you come out, you become a unique shape of yourself with spots (sesame seeds) to show the hardships you’ve faced
Few pictures I clicked during my trip
The murukku we made
My little cousins
A temple elephant enjoying his bath
A beautiful peacock spreading its wings
Featured image credits- Shutterstock