It's unrealistic to live your life within such strict parameters.
~ David Sedaris
It's safe to say that this blog leans towards the sweet more than savory side of things. However, despite still baking desserts and sweet breads regularly in my kitchen, I have produced nothing that I truly wanted to post up here. Uninspired baking, I call these wasted sessions. So imagine my surprise when an exciting recipe idea suddenly popped up in my head that was not sweet (and therefore not my forte) but the exact opposite - savory.
I had been wanting to try my hand at making the spicy Indian snack, Murukku, for a while but the thought had been withheld by my lack of a press or a sev maker used to churn out perfect murukku spirals. That is, until I stumbled across a YouTube video showing that it can all in fact be done...solely by hand! Of course, my first attempts at twisting the pliable rice flour dough are not very pretty but at least there is some semblance to the murukkus made by the pros in Indian kitchens across the globe!
Now, flavor-wise was where I had purposely decided to make it un-Indian. My tastebuds had experienced a sensorial shift recently when a friend gifted me with a substantial packet of crispy, floury tidbits from her travels abroad. The snack was so addictive that I really wanted to recreate it once I ran out of the stuff (which didn't take very long - less than two days). I tried to dissect the flavor profile and deduced that the snack must've contained a healthy dose of mustard and garlic because no one in the house wanted me to smother them with my enthusiastic kisses even long after the packet had run empty...
So, when the murukku-without-a-press video came along, I immediately knew I wanted to incorporate mustard and garlic in the soft dough and dispense with the traditional Indian spices. I also wanted to utilize my latest fresh herb, rosemary - sown by my mama, of course, and passed over to me so it doesn't wilt and die off at the seedling stage. (To all of you with green fingers, I envy your gift!)
My thriving rosemary plant, photo taken from Instagram (@divababu)
Along this process, there were several other things I discovered:
- my handling and twisting of the dough was genuinely as pathetic as it looked in the video. That's okay though, I'm not into beating myself up over nothing and will probably get better with practice.
- when I got tired of the twisting and turning, I made simple snake-like spirals but these unfortunately didn't remain crisp for very long after cooling. Perhaps the dough was still too moist inside, I must investigate this further.
- this spiral snack does double-duty as the perfect fashion accessory. The fact that you can munch on them in between photoshoots make them extra-covetable. Yep, there will never be any skinny girls on my set!
These are best consumed right after they've cooled down and are still crisp. The flavors meld really well together that the exact combo could be adapted to other cracker recipes as well. The murukku tasted incredibly cheesy, a pleasant surprise, while texture-wise they are very similar to thin breadsticks. Once I figure out how to make them stay crisp when stored in an airtight package or container, I'll be packing them to be presented as gifts over the festive season!
Crispy Spiral Garlicky Mustard and Rosemary Murukku
Makes: 16 spirals (2-inch)
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp finely chopped Rosemary leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup rice flour
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
ground pepper, to taste
2-3 tablespoons extra rice flour, to add if dough is too sticky
oil, for deep frying
1. In a medium mixing bowl, add all ingredients except the extra rice flour and oil and mix well with a spatula.
2. Knead to form a soft dough using your hands. If dough is still too moist and sticky, add rice flour a tablespoon at a time and knead in.
3. Place a plastic bottle cap on a napkin or serviette. The napkin prevents the dough from sticking to the working surface. Form small balls with the dough and twist out each one into a spiral rope around the bottle cap (please refer to the video above).
Note: The thinner the ropes, the crispier will be the murukku.
4. Heat oil on medium high heat in a pan. Carefully lift the napkin to turn the spirals onto your palm and gently lower into the hot oil. Do this slowly or you will be sad if any of the hot oil lands on your skin :).
5. Fry as many spirals as will fit into the pan without overlapping each other. Once they turn light golden, flip them over and fry other side until light golden. (about 3 minutes each side)
6. Remove spirals from oil onto a paper-towel lined plate. Cool completely before eating. Store in an airtight container or ziploc bag at room temperature. Good for consumption up to a week.