Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Happy Deepavali to all" - enjoy Thenkuzhal - A Savoury Snack

Whenever I think about the festival of lights, I look back with great fondness and remember those days when the festivities was synonymous with hogging! Yes - eating as if there was no tomorrow. Deepavali or Diwali, "the festival of lights", was a great excuse to raid my mom's overflowing pantry and my partner in crime, aka my lil sis was a great ally. I remember my mom would start making all the yummy savouries and sweets a good fortnight in advance and the pantry would groan with those utterly scrumptious goodies waiting to be hogged and we woulds do just that! We were never satisfied with the eating curfew that was imposed and rightly so; those were the days when even an over-flowing plate meant a half-satisfied belly and a thoroughly dissatisfied mind! So attacking the larder it was! My sis & me would invent all those impossible-to-detect codes, to signal that mom was sleeping or that she was awake or in the battlefield (kitchen). Thereafter we would do those snack-vanishing acts with immense pride and joy! Ah! those days; now when I see my son slowly creeping into the kitchen and tiptoeing his way to the pantry to plunder the loot, I feel life has come back full circle!

Diwali is such a joy to behold - a home decorated with lovely diyas placed all over.The festivities signifying the victory of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. 


On Diwali nights, after a puja invoking the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi, the joyous and rather sonorous affair of bursting crackers follow. Between all of them is the constant flipping of channels to catch in the latest flick or whatever and then of course snacking!

Talking of snacks, this festive season I am with my in-laws to celebrate. Though it is a rather muted affair with hubby's aunt passing away some time back, there is no shortage of activities in the kitchen and hence there are snacks galore. My mother-in-law made this rather ubiquitous "thenkuzhal" and I had to blog about it and break my absence from the blogdom with this crunchy snack. I call the snack ubiquitous coz it is a must in every household and because of its easy breezy preparation. Made with rice flour and paired with either urad dal flour / moong dal flour or coconut milk, the snack is versatile in nature and can be easily made into delightful variations. It needs the press/murukku naazhi as we call it along with the mold/thenkuzhal acchu. My mother-in-law has this rustic looking wooden/copper based press that I really liked.

Making the snack needs all of a half-hour time at your disposal. Once the flour is ready and mixed, they can be dumped into the greased press and made into thenkuzhal.

Fried gram or roasted chana or the pottukadalai (பொட்டுக்கடலை) is grounded in to a powder to give this variation of thenkuzhal a unique taste.

What's in it :-
  • Rice Flour - 1 cup
  • Fried Gram Flour - 1/4 cup (Instructions follow)
  • Cumin Seeds - 1 to 2 tsp
  • Til Seeds (Black/White) - 1 tbsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Asafoetida - a generous pinch or two
  • Hot Oil / Ghee / Dalda - 2 to 3 tbsp
  • Water - as required

Here's How :-

Lightly roast the fried gram in a tava and blend it to a fine powder. In a big mixing bowl add all the ingredients and gently rub them to form a damp mix. Then slowly add water as required and knead it into a medium dough (neither too hard nor too soft).

In the meanwhile, heat oil in a kadai for deep frying. Now fill the dough in the press and squeeze it directly onto the kadai in a circular motion. This does need you to be a pro in the kitchen what with tackling the bubbling oil et al. Do take care that the steam dosen't hit your hands when squeezing the dough.

Another easier way is to squeeze the dough in a circular motion on top of an inverted plate or a ladle and then sliding it carefully into the hot oil.

Deep fry both sides till there are minimal bubbles. Take it out and let it cool. Now store this in an air tight container and enjoy the deliciousness!

Chef Notes :---

• Keep the dough covered to ensure it stays moist if you are making a huge quantity/batch. 

My mother-in-law used rice flour that was ground freshly from the mill. You can us store bought flour too.

Using dalda enhances the taste according to my mother-in-law.

Other than hot oil/ghee you can add butter too.

You can grease the inner of the press before dunking the dough. It ensures easy whisking down of the dough. Ensure that the pan is not crowded while frying and top-up the oil if required.

E.N.J.O.Y ! Wishing all my readers a sparkling Deepavali !


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  2. Hi, Really great effort. Everyone must read this article. Thanks for sharing.

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