Thursday, November 18, 2010

Murukku or Thenguzhal - Try Pronouncing That

Tamil is an old classical language. It has been around for many many years. And the point to note is that if you don't speak Tamil in Chennai or at least something resembling it, it is very hard to manage. Particularly a while back. At least now, some lots of the people speak English in the city.

When I moved to Chennai about 20 years ago I did not know a word of Tamil. Not a word. Even now I speak it quite badly. I think the reason for that is that I learnt it from the maids and drivers. Even after 20 years, my Tamil is a disgrace. Whether I can fix this after so long, I am not sure. I never know when to give respect, I end up calling old patis "nee".... I can go on and on with my list of mis-spoken(?) Tamil. But I don't want to bore you too much. Suffice to say that I don't speak it well and that I am the butt of all the jokes with my friends. Thats why I tend to speak in English as far as possible unless and until I cannot avoid it.

But I think the main issue with Tamil is the pronunciation. It is HARD to say the least..
The 'zha', the 'sha'... the H is simply not present. All h's are substituted with g so a Mahesh becomes a Mages. There is no P. So a Padma becomes a Badma and a Poori is now a Boori...

I have a hard time mastering the right pronunciation. What trips me up each time without fail is the 'zha'. Mambazham is the word for mango. Now, it is not that simple. The zha is not with a z sound at all. It is some sort of rolling L. So for the uninitiated, it ends up being mambalam. Things get trickier with the word for banana. Vazhapazham. Bad enough having to negotiate the much dreaded 'zha' once. Imagine having to do it twice over for the same word...

This being a food blog, we have to get down to the more important matter at hand. Food..

Now Murukku is the most delicious snack one can ever taste. It is crunchy and perfect for those hungry times in between meals. My husband A lot of people like to eat something crunchy along with their meals. This is a great substitute to papads/appalams.

I always thought this was a hard thing to make. But once I tried my hand at it, I figured it is easy enough though hard on the hands.

This recipe is adapted from Samaithu Paar (Cook and See). It comes out perfectly each time.


3.5 cups Rice Flour
1 cup Urad Dal Flour
100 grams Butter
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons Sesame seeds (Til) or Cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 teaspoon Asafoetida
Oil for deep frying


Sift the rice flour and urad flours together.

Mix in the butter into the flour mixture.

Add the salt and asafoetida powder into a cup of water. Mix it well till the salt dissolves.

Mix this water into the flour/butter mixture a little at a time.

Form a dough which is not too soft. You should be able to just hold it together and roll it into a smooth ball.

Heat oil till medium hot.

Put a small quantity of the dough into the Thenguzhal press.

Make circles into the hot oil.

Do not put in too many at one time as it will reduce the temperature of the oil.

When it gets to be a beautiful light brown, take it out of the oil and put on a paper towel.

Let them cool down then store in an airtight container.



Srivalli said...

I guess that is with most people when they dont' get to interact with the right folks to pick up a language..that is ok..:))

murukus are so tempting!..we finished our lot..:((..will have to plan making them again..hope you had a great festival time with family..

Kamini said...

Thats so true Srivalli..
We had a blast for the festival... How are ytou and the kids?

vimala said...

You seem to have a sweet tooth, there’s quite a lot of sweet dishes, contrary to the witchy theme. Though you haven’t mastered the language, the texture of the murukku shows you have mastered the tamil cuisine. Congrats!