Category Archives: Traditional Savouries

Poondu Kara Sevu – Spicy Fritters with a Garlic Twist




Kara Sevu is a very popular spicy fritter, which is not only a festive snack but an all time crunch partner, specially to serve guests and while travel. The spice note delivered from red chilli powder and/or black pepper can be enhanced with the addition of garlic that makes kara sevu more flavorful.


Kara Sevu/Spicy Gram Flour Fritters with a Garlic Twist




  • kadalai maavu/bengal gram flour – 1 cup
  • arisi maavu/rice flour – 1/2 cup
  • poondu/garlic – 10 cloves
  • milagai vatral podi/red chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • perungaayam/asafoetida powder – 1/4 tsp
  • omam/bishop’s weed or carom seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • uppu/salt – 1/2 tsp
  • yennai/oil – 2 tbsp
  • nei/clarified butter – 1 tbsp
  • thanner/water – as required
  • oil – for deep frying

Method of Preparation


  1. Sieve gram flour and rice flour


2. Make a coarse paste of garlic



3. Keep the carom seeds in enough warm water
4. Mix sieved gram flour, rice flour, garlic paste, red chilli powder, asafoetida powder, carom seeds with water, salt, oil and clarified butter with enough water into a tight dough




5. Heat oil for deep frying

6. Take the kara sev disc in the murukku maker – disc 3 from left is the kara sevu disc

7. Keep enough dough into the cylindrical container and close with the kara sevu disc

8. Press Sev directly inside oil into single circular murukku/fritter



9. Fry both sides till golden

10. Take out in kitchen tissue to absorb excess oil

11. Split the circular sev murukku into small pieces

12. Store in an air tight container.





Uppu Seedai/Salted Rice Ball Crispies




Seedai or Cheedai is a delicate delicacy. It has a crunchy texture while you bite, but melts in the mouth with the flavor of deep fried crispy rice murukku. But beware while you make at home – It has a beasty feature behind its beauty – it explodes like a mini bomb in oil if the moisture stays inside the cumin and sesame flavored rice ball. There are many stories of burns and bruises in the making of Seedai. So, truly Beware- with a capital ‘B’.

There are two types of Seedai – the salted version and the sweet. The sweet version is made with vellam or jaggery/unrefined cane sugar. This is relatively a lesser bomb-shell in nature or mostly non-violent. But seems to be an emotional creature – as it runs the risk of breaking down in oil or the dough becoming loose in nature due to the jaggery water added.

Beyond my writing efforts of making seedai a good-humoured affair, the taste of salt or sweet seedai is certainly worth the effort involved in making. And lucky me, no burns and bruises for the first time. The Seedais came out well, though not as good as Amma’s.

This time it’s time for Uppu Seedai – the salted version.
Uppu Seedai/Salted Rice Ball Crispies


Before making seedai, we need home made, fine powdered rice flour, the core ingredient for both the salt and sweet version of seedai.

Rice Flour

  • Wash well and soak 3 cups pacharisi/raw rice in enough water for 2 hours. Drain the water and spread in a clean cloth, preferably cotton towel which would absorb the excess water and dry the rice inside the room.




  • Never use paper, especially newspapers to dry rice or any kitchen purposes, as they contain highly dangerous ink which can cause illnesses.
  • The rice shouldn’t be dried too much. With a bit of moisture still in the rice, dry grind in a blender to a fine powder.
  • Sieve well and keep aside



Dehusked Black Gram Flour

Also needed is black gram flour, which is dry roasted and powdered.

dry roasted…


and powdered…



  • Grind again the granules left over from the first sieve
  • Combine only very fine powder which is very important in the making of seedai.

Ingredients (makes approximately 80-100 – gone in a jiffy)


  • pacharisi maavu/rice flour (raw rice) – 2 cups
  • ulundhu maavu/dehusked black gram flour – 2 tbsp
  • nei/clarified butter or butter – 2 tbsp
  • seeragam/cumin seeds – 2 tsp
  • ellu/sesame seeds – 2 tsp
  • thengai thuruval/grated fresh coconut – 2 tbsp
  • uppu/salt – to taste
  • thanneer/water – as needed to make a tight dough
  • yennai/oil – to deep fry

Method of Preparation

Part I


  1. Dry roast rice flour till aroma comes out, but be careful not to over roast as it will change the colour of flour.
  2. Take a wide bowl and mix all dry ingredients – rice flour, black gram flour, cumin seeds, sesame seeds, grated coconut, salt with butter.
  3. Make a tight dough with just enough water.

Part II


  1. Heat oil for deep frying in a pan and start making seedai. Keep in medium flame.
  2. Roll small balls not pressing too much, which might result in bursting in oil.
  3. Slightly press with a fork for the moisture to escape out; This truly helped me.

Part III


  1. Fry in medium heat only, till slightly golden in colour or remove when the spluttering of oil is reduced.
  2. Remove the done seedai in kitchen tissue to absorb excess oil.
  3. Cool and store in an air tight container.



Kezhvaragu Murukku/Ragi-Finger Millet Murukku


Kezhvaragu or Finger Millet is a highly nutritious product. Having included in the Dosai Series (Kezhvaragu/Ragi Dosai) and Sweets (Kezhvaragu-Kambu Urundai/Ragi-Bajra Sweet Balls), this time it is a savoury snack with Kezhvaragu/Finger Millet.

Murukkus or the Savoury Twisties, exclusive to the south of India are not to be missed during festivities. These deep fried snacks can be given a healthy touch with the inclusion of nutritious ingredients. These are any time better than the white/all purpose flour/maida based junks.

Deepavali without murukku is like Christmas without Cake. I think I could say that… But I can also see a variety of other sweets and snacks in line to oppose this. Yes… Deepavali or Diwali is the best time to make, taste and share countless number of sweets and snacks. So, each post on Diwali snacks can always include this sentence – diwali is incomplete without murukku; without athirasam; without thattai; without mixture; without nei urundai and many more in queue.

It is for mothers and children to choose what they want in their sweet/snack list. Our  list this year has Kezhvaragu Murukku.
Kezhvaragu Murukku/Ragi-Finger Millet Millet



Ingredients (makes appr. 30 murukkus)

flours and dough



  • kezhvaragu maavu/ragi powder – 1 cup
  • arisi maavu/rice powder – 1 cup
  • pottukkadalai podi/roasted channa dal powder – 1/2 cup
  • vennai/butter – 2 tsp
  • yennai/hot oil – 3 tsp
  • uppu/salt – to taste
  • ellu/sesame seeds – 2 tsp
  • seeragam/sumin seeds – 2 tsp
  • perungayam/asafoetida powder – 1/2 tsp
  • water – enough to make dough
  • oil – to deep fry


Method of Preparation

pottukkadalai and murukku maker

dosaikal 12 061IMG_1334


  1. Roasted Channa/Pottukkadalai is the lentil used directly to make chutneys. Dry roast pottukkadalai slightly (before it becomes brown) and powder in a dry grinder
  2. Sieve and mix kezhvaragu/ragi powder, arisi maavu/rice powder and pottukkadalai powder
  3. Mix sesame seeds, cumin seeds , asafoetida powder, salt, butter, and hot oil with enough water to make a soft dough
  4. Heat oil in a frying pan
  5. Use any preferred disc to make murukku and fill the cylindrical container with one portion of dough
  6. Make each murukku on a ladle and drop it gently in  oil
  7. Fry till golden brown
  8. Remove in kitchen tissues to absorb excess oil
  9. Let them cool and store in an air-tight container.





Kezhvaragu powder turns black in color very quickly when fried. Hence it might be difficult to find out whether the murukkus are completely fried. The best method is to take out when the bubbly hot oil settles down and the spluttery sound is done.

Ribbon Pakoda/Gram flour Fritters (ribbon shaped)



Ribbon Pakoda gets it name from its shape I suppose! The fritters look like ribbons – so when did the name come – after the Britishers came in, then what would have been its name before?

Ofcourse, there are a few tamil names to these fritters-
1. ‘Naadaa Thenkuzhal’ – fritters in the shape of string or rope
2. ‘Olai Pakoda’ – Olai is the name given to leaves of coconut and palm – especially dried leaves – Olai Chuvadi means Palm script written centuries ago. Ilai is the word for leaves in general – Maavilai – mango leaf; vaazhai ilai – banana leaf and so on…
Panai Olai for Palm leaf and Thennai Olai for coconut leaf – the dried version. The young leaves of these are called panang-kuruthu and thennang-kuruthu – so ‘kuruthu’ is fresh leaf here. Olai is the dried leaf. These fritters might look like the dried leaves too!!

There needs more exploration into the reasoning of names.

Now, to Diwali and the savouries stored for days, but the storage attempt always invariably fails – as they wouldn’t last a couple of days. All passers by in the family would open the ‘thooku chatti’ or the vessel in which the savouries are stored and then – not to worry – life moves on – to the next savoury or sweet.


Ribbon Pakoda





  • kadalai maavu/gram flour – 2 cups
  • arisi maavu/rice powder – 1 cup
  • milagai vatral podi/red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp – 1 tsp
  • salt – to taste
  • perungayam/asafoetida powder – 1/4 tsp
  • vennai/butter or nei/clarified butter – 3 tsp
  • yennai/oil – to deep fry
  • thanneer/water – as needed

optional additions

  • poondu/garlic – 4 cloves (make a paste)
  • seeragam/cumin seeds – 1 tsp


dough and the mould


Method of Preparation

  1. Sieve both the powders together
  2. Mix chilli powder, salt, asafoetida powder and butter/clarified butter to the dry powders
  3. Add enough water to make a stiff dough
  4. Heat oil in a pan for deep frying
  5. Grease the inner cylinder of the murukku kuzhal/maker and place a part of the dough and close with ribbon pakoda disc
  6. When the oil is hot, turn down the stove to medium and press the dough into the oil into circular basket like fritters
  7. Fry till golden brown and crisp
  8. Remove in absorbant tissue and store after cooled. Break the fritters for easy storage (also to avoid over-eating).




  1. This is a quick and easy version with red chilli powder. A ground paste of red chillies and garlic tastes better. Garlic aids in digestion.
  2. Cumin seeds are sprinkled for digestion as well as better looks of the fritters.
  3. Butter helps in the softly crisp texture of the fritters. Hot oil can also be poured into the powder with butter.
  4. Do not fry in very high oil temperature. The pakodas would turn dark very quickly. Keep in medium and adjust the heat accordingly for the perfect colour and crispness.
  5. For those who are searching for asafoetida in ingredient picture, sorry the box got over and I threw it away. The other new one would arrive tomorrow from the Indian shop.
    If you do not have the disc – that’s something to worry at the moment… please buy one now!



Araithu Chutta Murukku-1/Crispy Murukku made with Freshly Ground Rice



Murukkus come in different shapes and tastes ( So does the Murukku Maker. This time, I got a new one – easier one to make murukkus from Chennai.

my new murukku maker


Here, in Phnom Penh, finely ground rice flour is not available. When craving overpowers non-availablity, innovation in kitchen begins! Those days when they were no electric equipments to grind, no public mills to mill fine powder, self sufficient households made their murukkus from different sources. One was this… soaking rice and grinding to fine paste/dough.

Even now, there are many villages where the traditional ‘Aattural’ is still used for grinding purposes – Idli/Dosa Batter, Vadai (Crispy salted doughnuts with dehusked black gram) or murukku maavu and many more. Aattural – Aattuthal or Aattu comes in place of araithal which in tamil means to grind and ‘ural’ is the grinder.


That is why, I searched for a Murukku without rice or floured dehusked black gram or a murukku with other substitute ingredients, but the end result should be a feast to teeth.

I pulled out my almost twenty year old cook book from Thoothukudi – which has various native recipes as well as those popular around the world.

Next, I referred Mrs. Mallika Badrinath’s Murukku book and concluded on this one. It is actually the recipe for ribbin pakoda, another crispy chips in shape of small ribbons – hence the name. I altered the amount of bengal gram flour as the first set came out a bit hard.


So, here is Araithu Chutta Murukku.. thanks to my Grinder – could get a smooth dough. The original Araithu chutta murukku has ground rice with dehusked black gram flour. It is also called ‘Puzhungal Arisi Murukku’ – Par-boiled Rice Murukku. To reduce the work of dry grinding ulundham paruppu/urad dal/dehusked black gram flour at home, I stuck to bengal gram flour. That’s why I named Murukku -1. Next time, I shall make with dry grinded black gram! When I spoke to aachi the other day, she mentioned of adding powdered pottu kadalai/chutney dhal instead of bengal gram flour. I just wanted to give way for Araithu Chutta Murukku 2 and 3 to follow in future!

The Murukkus had the flavour and taste and crisp too, though I would not rate them as perfectly crisp.

Araithu Chutta Murukku/Crispy Murukku made with Freshly Ground Rice



  • puzhungal arisi/parboiled rice – 2 cups
  • kadalai maavu/bengal gram flour – 1 cup
  • ellu/sesame seeds – 1 tblsp
  • milagai vatral/red chillies – 10 no.s
  • uppu/salt – 2 tsp
  • yennai/oil – 2 tblsp hot oil
  • yennai/oil – for frying
  • perungayam/asafoetida powder- 1/4 tsp


mixed dough



I also tried ‘kai murukku’ – twists made with hands


Method of Preparation

  1. Wash and soak rice in just enough water for 2 hours
  2. Grind with very little water and red chillies into a smooth paste
  3. While still grinding, add salt and asafoetida in the end and switch off the grinder
  4. Mix bengal gram flour to the rice paste
  5. Heat 2 tblsp oil separately and pour into the rice paste and bengal gram flour. Mix well with sesame seeds to form a firm dough
  6. Take the murukku maker and choose your favourite shaped disc. Fill the dough inside
  7. Make murukkus on a plate and fry them in batches in hot oil till golden brown
  8. Take the murukkus out on absorbent sheet
  9. When they are at room temperature, store in air tight container.


The All time Favourite Murukku!

Murukku in tamil and chakli in kannada and marathi and chakri in gujarati is very popular for its different shapes and crisp fried taste. It is also handy due to its storable convenience. Nowadays, even in india, families prefer to get them from savoury shops to distribute for deepavali and even to send abroad to their children.

Murukku – as a verb in tamil means ‘to twist’. The dough made of rice flour and urad dal flour(dehusked black gram) is twisted and swirled to be made into round shapes, and hence the name! There are also different kinds of murukkus –

  • thenkuzhal – plain murukku
  • magizhambu or mullu murukku – murukku with a thorny sharp texture
  • kai murukku – hand twisted murukku
  • vennai murukku – butter murukku

and many more with a little variation like ribbon pakoda, kara sev and so on.

Murukkus can be magical for first timers – especially first time makers. Be it the ones made by the murukku maker, or the hand-made kai-murukkus, making murukku is an art by itself. Tasting, without knowing when to stop can be another art worth mentioning! Not getting into any gender bias, boys seem to fare better in this art! Sitting with aachi and amma to see the murukkus being made by hand on plastic sheets or the murukku maker ones directly into oil with elegant expertise, I have experienced the joy of viewing, tasting and once in a while trying to make some too.

They are quite easy to make – with the murukku maker and some patience – you can surprise your family and yourself too with these excellent crispies.  The rice flour used to be prepared by a long process of soaking raw rice, then drying them in a clean white cloth in a shady place at home, and later milled. With easily available rice flour in the indian markets abroad, this has become easier, though nothing to match the home-made rice flour. Of course, the urad flour is not available so easily in the markets – that has to be done at home. I have always used the flours sent by amma, this time I thought I would try making urad flour at home but had the milled rice flour from chennai!  Making urad flour was not at all a tedious one!

Deepavali snacks are incomplete without these different kinds of murukkus.


Making Murukku



Ingredients (makes approximately 15 murukkus)

  • rice flour – 2 cups
  • urad flour – 1/2 cup
  • white/black sesame seeds – 1 tsp (cumin seeds can be used instead of sesame seeds)
  • salt – as needed
  • oil – for frying

Method of Preparation

Making Urad flour

  1. Heat a hard bottomed vessel or kadai
  2. Dry roast ulundham paruppu/urad dal – dehusked black gram till golden brown
  3. Grind to a fine powder in a blender
  4. Sieve it and keep aside.

Note: 100 gms urad dal gives 100 gms urad flour

Making dough

  1. Sieve rice flour and urad flour
  2. Soak salt in very little and let it dissolve. This helps in even distribution of salt
  3. Add dissolved salt, sesame or cumin seeds and enough water to flour mixture and make a smooth dough
  4. The dough should neither be too tight nor too loose. 

Making murkku

1. Take one portion of dough and fill it inside the cylindrical container of the murukku maker

2. Close it with the single holed disc


3. Press into medium size murukkus on an aluminium foil sheet or any oiled plate


4. I used a greased plate and used a dosai thiruppi – ladle used to turn the dosais, to take it out and drop in the oil


5. Take care to drop the murukkus gently in the oil

6. Fry till golden brown

7. Remove in kitchen tissues to absorb excess oil

8. Let them cool and store in an air-tight container.


Omapodi/Ajwain Sev

Now, to one of Deepavali savouries – Omapodi or Sev in hindi. Before coming to omapodi, about the savoury maker – achu kuzhal. The traditional achu kuzhal or the mould for making different kinds of deep-fried snacks used to be a wooden one or a metal one. I am yet to find mine as I kept it safely in the shaft but couldn’t locate the safe place. It has thin round plates/discs with different shapes and holes to make different kinds of savouries. In the picture is a modern murukku/sev maker – but the different discs and tubular press do the same as the traditional achu kuzhal. The tight dough of the savoury is put in the tubular container and the lid is fit with the required disc and closed. Then the dough is pressed out into hot oil and fried.

the murukku maker with discs


tubular container with small-holed disc


Omapodi or Sev

Omam is tamil means Carom seeds or ajwain in hindi. This sev is made with ajwain or carom seeds which helps in digestion and also relieves cold and chest congestion. Among the moulds, the thinnest is used to make omapodi. If preferred the next size mould can also be used. Rice flour is added to gram flour to make this savoury crispy.


  • kadalai maavu/gram flour – 3 cups
  • arisi maavu/rice flour – 1/4 cup
  • omam/carom seeds – 3 tsp
  • salt – 2 tsp
  • hot oil/ghee – 2 tsp
  • oil – for frying

Method of Preparation

Making dough

  1. Sieve kadalai maavu and arisi maavu (both flours)
  2. Soak omam in water for 2 hours and grind to a smooth paste with salt
  3. Strain the omam paste and add this syrup to the sieved flour
  4. Add hot oil or ghee too to the sieved flour
  5. Make a stiff dough by sprinkling water little by little

ready to store omapodi 


Making Omapodi

  1. Heat oil in a kadai
  2. Apply oil inside the tubular container so that the dough does not stick to it
  3. Keep one portion of dough and close the lid with the very small holed disc
  4. Squeeze omapodi/sev into hot oil
  5. Turn it gently and cook
  6. When the spluttering ends, omapodi is ready
  7. Remove and place on tissue to absorb excess oil
  8. After it cools, crumble and store in an air-tight container.

Note: (I read from Mrs. Mallika Badrinath’s cook book)

  1. Red chillies can be added to omam while grinding for extra flavour.
  2. After adding omam syrup, the coarse flour can be divided into three portions. Sprinkle water to each portion just before frying.
  3. This keeps the total dough fresh from becoming dry and each portion of dough is freshly made for more perfect omapodi.