In our family, Deepavali arrives when my mom soaks rice and pink chillies for murukku. This is a yearly custom wherein mom makes a mountain of the snack that lasts us a minimal of 10 days after the festivities. The course of is labourious and several other further arms are wanted due to the sheer amount. Every 12 months, when she stands in entrance of the range, sweating it out over two iron woks crammed with oil, she swears she is going to make lesser the subsequent 12 months. But invariably, the same old amount persists: two kilograms of idli rice and one kilogram of roasted gram.
How else would she be capable of maintain on to the old-world apply of sharing meals with the neighbourhood? “What’s a festival when you share store-bought stuff?” she would ask, at the same time as neighbours would drop by with candy bins in glitter wrap.
Murukku-making takes up half the day and all the family prepares for the large day. Mother soaks the rice earlier than her morning tea, including 4 or 5 dried pink chillies in a separate bowl.
Lunch is a straightforward affair on murukku day since none of us needs to waste our energies on cooking. After lunch, the method begins. Familiar sounds fill the family: the regular hum of the grinder, adopted by the whirr of the mixer.
She first introduces the soaked chillies with a handful of rice; as soon as they’re floor to a paste, she provides the remaining. To the creamy white dough, she provides powdered roasted gram (pottukadalai). “The batter’s consistency is everything,” she says. “It shouldn’t be too thick, neither runny.” This dough is additional embellished for flavour with cumin seeds, asafoetida powder, salt, and dollops of butter. When it comes collectively, the dough smells scrumptious; it’s buttery, gentle and even nutty from the roasted gram.
To me, that is the odor of Deepavali. It evokes the frenzy of pleasure of days crammed with sweets, mutton curry, new garments and firecrackers.
Then comes the essential part: her virtually 40-year-old murukku press product of rosewood. Every time the deep-brown contraption is introduced out, she brags about how her mom made an skilled carpenter from Karaikudi customise it when she bought married. It continues to be sturdy regardless of being weathered. Next, she spreads an previous white dhoti on the kitchen counter: the canvas on which the murukku might be pressed.
The strategy of urgent the dough to type a squiggly circle and frying it, requires talent. My mom heats gingelly oil in two open-mouthed iron woks and will get to work.. She squeezes dollops of the dough into the opening of the wood press, closes it, and presses it gently with each arms, tracing a small circle on the material. The remainder of us don’t even strive. She repeats this till the dough runs out, reaching three concentric circles with just one dollop of batter.
After flipping the framework of the murukku on the again of her sturdy metal ladle, mom casually drops them into sizzling oil. Once the scorching dies down, she takes them out and arranges them in a metal drum lined with newspaper.
The drum often takes round 4 hours to fill and by this time, my brother and I down a dozen murukku every. With stomachs stuffed with this fried snack, we might often skip dinner that day and for the subsequent few days murukku can be the accompaniment for all the pieces: rice, biryani, and even idli-sambar.
Deepavali day would come and go and the drum’s assets would start to deplete. The final handful of the murukku would all the time be the tastiest; the crumbs mendacity on the backside would style even higher.
This 12 months, I plan to make the snack myself and have fervently taken notes from mom. Am I nervous? Yes, however what’s Deepavali with out a few burnt murukkus?