CRUNCHY and aromatic, the kai murukku is a traditional South Indian snack.
It is made using one’s fingers by twisting and forming a rope-like pattern.
Unfortunately, this old method is a dying art. These days, most people use a wooden press to make the muruku as it is easier.
One of the very few who still makes kai murukku is homemaker V. Lakshmi Bai, 61.
For her, murukku is a must-have for Deepavali. She takes orders from neighbours in Petaling Jaya, where she lives.
Prior to the festive celebration, her kitchen will be filled with the scent of aromatic spices.
“Kai murukku is a great snack for adults and children alike, and has a distinct taste,” she said.
Lakshmi mastered the art of making the murukku 15 years ago from her mother V. Janaki, 80, who lives in Ellis Nagar, Madurai in India.
“It is not difficult to make kai murukku. Roasted uraddal flour is mixed with butter, rice flour, salt, asafoetida powder and cumin seeds.
“Once the dough is prepared, make a small ball and place it in the centre of the palm. Using the thumb and index finger, start twisting the dough into a rope-like pattern,” said the mother of two.
Lakshmi added that she used her middle finger to support the pattern.
“To make the rope-like pattern, you need to pinch the dough simultaneously, using the index finger and thumb to twist and twirl the dough,” she said.
With skilful fingers, Lakshmi forms subsequent circles in odd numbers of three, five and nine.
“With more turns, the muruku gets bigger. Most of the time, we make nine circles as this denotes wealth and success. This is usually served at weddings or celebrations,” she said.
Kai murukku is deep-fried in hot oil until golden brown on both sides.