Sunday, September 22, 2013


I grew up in Chennai long before Grand Sweets became THE place to buy murukku and thattai.  Every weekend, my mom would make a couple of different types of bakshanams (salty, fried snacks or farshans).  She would make mullu thenkuzhal or thattai, or ribbon pakoda or some such thing.  My older brother and I were big snack eaters and would polish off these big dubbas (containers) during the week.  According to my mom, “nowadays, nobody makes any bakshanams at home – even for festivals” (sounds better in tamil).

I don’t make bakshanams (farshaans / namkeens/ fried salty snacks) that often, because I end up eating most of it. I make some during deepavali, but that is it.  My husband can take one or two murukkus or thatais in his hand and be done.  I can’t understand how he does this.  The box of goodies will be sitting right in front of him and he can just ignore it!  I tend to graze.  Every time I pass by the pantry, or open the pantry door, or see someone else taking one to eat, I also have to.  It is my weakness.  What can I say - I have no control.  It also probably explains why he has not put on any weight since we got married and I have "blossomed".

My oldest has been away at college for almost 4 weeks now.  Was thinking of sending him a care-package.  Along with some toasted almonds and some store bought snacks, decided to send him some home-made thenkuzhal.  Wikipedia has a video of someone making this.  Here is the link. 

Here is what you need:

  • 4 cups rice flour
  • ¾ cup urad flour
  • salt to taste
  • 1½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 3 Tbsp. melted butter
  • ½ tsp. hing (asafetida)
  • water to make the dough
  • oil for deep frying


Here is how I made it:

  1. Heat oil for deep-frying.
  2. Meanwhile, put the rice flour, urad flour, salt, cumin seeds, sesame seeds, and hing in a bowl.  Mix well
  3. Pour the melted butter and add water a little at a time to make it into a stiff dough.
  4. Make a big ball of dough and put it into the thenkuzhal press with the appropriate disc.
  5. While swirling, squeeze out enough of the dough into the hot oil.  You can make three or four at a time, depending on the size of the pan you use for frying.
  6. Reduce heat to medium and cook till both sides are done.  Drain on paper towel.
  7. Repeat till all the dough is done.
  8. Once the thenkuzhal is cool, store it in an airtight container

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