Rose Cookies known as Achu Muruku in Tamil is one of the favorite items prepared during festivals, especially by the Christians in the Southern part of India as well as in Goa. This dish is sure to get a place in the platter of cookies prepared by the Anglo Indian households during Christmas season. It is easy to make it provided you know the right consistency for the batter as well as the knack of dipping the “Achu muruku mould” ( maker) in hot oil during the preparation. The dish gets the name Rose cookies as the mould resembles the petals of a rose flower. They can be stored in air tight containers for ten days easily.
Cooking Time : 1 hour ( plus 2 hours for soaking and making the wet raw rice flour)
No of pieces : 60 Pieces
1. Raw Rice flour – wet : 4 Cups ( 400 grams )
2. Sugar : 1 Cup ( 120 grams )
3. Egg : 1
4. Coconut milk: 1 Cup ( 200 ml )
5. Sesame seeds : 2 Teaspoon
6. Oil : 750 ml
7. Salt: 0.25 Teaspoon
Heat up the frying pan with oil and dip the achu muruku mould for an hour in hot oil and keep aside. You can put the mould in hot oil for a longer duration also. Soak good quality raw rice (3 cups ) in water for an hour and drain water. Use a blender to get 4 cups of fine raw rice flour. (wet ). Beat the egg well and mix it with sugar, salt and coconut milk. Add the fine raw rice flour to the batter to a consistency which is a bit thinner than the dosa batter. After preparing the batter, heat up the frying pan with oil along with the mould keeping the fire on maximum.
Once the oil is hot, dip the mould in the batter carefully. Dip the mould until it is 3/4th inside the batter and again dip the mould with the batter in the hot oil for frying. After a few seconds shake the mould gently with the help of a fork or any long spoon so that the muruku leaves the mould to fall into the oil for further frying. After a few seconds, turn the muruku to the other side with the spoon to get it cooked evenly on both sides. The achu muruku should be cooked until it is golden yellow in color.
Adding Vanilla essence and cardamom powder to the batter is optional. Even sugar can be either reduced or increased as per each one’s choice. The first few times it is difficult to get the achu muruku to fall easily off the mould into the hot oil on its own and so one should persevere carefully to continue with the rest of the batter till you get crisp tasty achu murukus.
Ginger Syrup & Ginger Candy : Ginger is used as a spice in many of the food items in Tamil Nadu as it enhances flavour and taste to them. It has nutritional value also and helps in reducing inflammation and indigestion. Here making of ginger syrup is described. It can be stored for a couple of months and the remaining ginger pieces can be used as ginger candy, known as “inji morappa” in Tamil.
METHOD: Buy tender ginger and clean it with water. Remove the skin and dice it. Put all ingredients except sodium metabisulphite in a pressure cooker and cook over moderate flame for 7,8 minutes. Then mix the sodium meta bi sulphate well in it. Remove the cooked ginger pieces and keep them aside. Store the ginger syrup in clean bottles. Tips: one tablespoon of this ginger syrup can be added to either lime juice or orange juice. And it goes well with all tea whether plain black or with milk, cream etc.
GINGER CANDY ( INJI MORAPPA )
A piece of ginger candy after a heavy meal especially non vegetarian meal helps in easy digestion.
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
1. Ginger : The remaining ginger pieces after removing from the ginger syrup, which is approximately 250 grams. 2. Refined sugar : 125 grams
METHOD: Add the cooked ginger to the cooker along with the sugar and cook over slow flame for 3, 4 minutes mixing the sugar well so that the ginger pieces are well coated with sugar. Remove from stove and dry it in a plate in shade. Store the Morappa in jars.
The name “kesari”, a sweet dish brings to our mind the ghee dripping sweet always associated with weddings and other festivals in our Tamil Nadu state. Rava (Semolina) known as “sujji” in Hindi, is made from a soft kind of wheat known as Durham wheat. It does not take much time and labour to prepare this item and so any guests who just drop in, can be entertained with this sweet dish in a moment.
COOKING TIME : 20 minutes SERVINGS: 4
INGREDIENTS: 1. Rava (Semolina) : 1 Cup ( 175 grams) 2.Refined Sugar : 1 Cup ( 175 grams ) 3. Ghee (clarified butter) : 0.5 Cup ( 100 ml ) 4. Cardamom : 4 5. Cashew and Raisins : 10 Each 6. Food Colour or Saffron : a pinch 7. Milk : 0.5 Cup ( 100 ml ) 8. Water : 1.5 Cup ( 300 ml )
Over a moderate flame heat a skillet with one tablespoon ghee and fry the cashew nuts and then the raisins and keep them aside. In the remaining ghee, add the rava and fry it well for nearly 5 minutes till you get the light brownish yellow colour with good smell. Keep boiling water with milk in the next burner ready. Add the boiling water, milk with the colour to the fried rava and keep turning the rava with a ladle till it is completely cooked without lumps. Cooking of rava takes another 5 to 7 minutes only. Now add the sugar to this cooked rava along with crushed cardamom. Keep stirring it till the sugar melts and blends with the rava. Slowly add the ghee and the ghee is mostly absorbed in the sweet. Finally add the fried cashew and raisins.
Tips: Adding colour is your choice- you can add saffron or any colour of your liking to the milk.
POOSANIKAI HALWA: Ash Gourd known in Tamil as “Poosanikai” is a vegetable commonly found and used in every part of Tamil Nadu and most parts of India. In Tamil Nadu it is preferred as a vegetable cooked in “more kuzhambu” or as a side dish. It is grated and prepared as halwa ( a sweet dish) which is usually served in weddings and other functions. Ash Gourd is not high in calories but it is nutritious with good mineral and vitamin content.
COOKING TIME: 1 ½ hours
1. Ash Gourd (grated finely in a grater) : 6 Cups
2. Refined Sugar: 2 ½ Cups ( 500 grams)
3. Milk : ½ Cup ( 100 ml)
4. Ghee (clarified butter) : 1 Cup ( 200 ml)
5. Cardamom : 3
6. Cashew : 15 no
7. Raisin : 15
8. Food Color : a pinch (optional)
Remove the skin and the centre pith with seeds and finely grate the ash gourd pieces. Keep it aside. Powder the cardamom and with a tablespoon of ghee fry the cashew nuts and raisins. Over moderate flame, keep a thick bottomed vessel and add the grated ash gourd pulp with water and milk and allow it to simmer till the water etc evaporates completely. Keep stirring this mixture continuously without getting it burnt and this will take 20 to 30 minutes to get the water absorbed well. Sugar should be added next with the cardamom powder and food color. When the sugar melts fully, add the ghee to the mixture. It will take another 15 to 20 minutes for the entire mixture to blend and it will stop sticking to the sides of the vessel, oozing out the ghee. Finally add the fried cashew and raisins and remove from stove.
Tips: Adding extra sugar and ghee is optional as per one’s taste.
This sweet can stay fresh for 4,5 days at room temperature. It takes some time to cook the grated ash gourd with water to evaporate and so instead it can be cooked in the pressure cooker allowing for one or two whistles.
Mysore Pak : Though the name suggests the place of origin of this sweet as Mysore, it is common in every part of Tamil Nadu. The very name brings to our mind the sweet dripping with ghee and laden with sugar. Earlier this Sweet was prepared at homes for all festivals and weddings. Originally it was prepared in such a way it was a bit hard and porous. These days’ people prefer the “melt in the mouth” version of this Sweet which is famous in Coimbatore and the recipe is given below. Though it is quite easy to make, the trick lies in getting the right consistency of the sugar syrup.
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
No of pieces: 10
1. Bengal gram flour (besan or kadalai mavu) : ½ Cup ( 60 grams)
2. Refined Sugar : 1 Cup ( 200 grams )
3. Ghee (clarified butter) : ½ Cup ( 100 ml)
4. Oil ( Sun flower oil or any refined oil ) : ½ Cup ( 100 ml)
5. Soda bi-carb (cooking soda) : a pinch
6. Water : ¼ Cup
Grease a plate well with a teaspoon of ghee. Sieve the gram flour with a teaspoon of hot ghee fry the flour lightly in a skillet over low flame for a couple of minutes. Again sieve the flour and remove hard lumps. In a thick bottomed vessel add the sugar with water and keep it over medium flame and stir it well to get the one thread consistency.
Heat another skillet with ghee and oil over low flame to keep it hot in another burner or stove. When the sugar syrup comes to the one thread consistency (Please see laddu recipe for making this one thread consistency), start adding the flour slowly with a ladle in one hand and with the other hand stirring the sugar syrup- flour mixture continuously. After this, add the ghee to the mixture slowly like you did with the gram flour. When the ghee is completely added, keep stirring it for another 10 to 15 minutes carefully. The whole ghee is absorbed and then the mixture comes out frothy and leaves the sides of the vessel and immediately add the soda bicarb and pour the mixture fast in to the greased plate. Wait for a couple of minutes to cool and start cutting the pieces to shapes of your choice.
Tips: Shelf life for this sweet is longer and it can be kept fresh for a couple of weeks easily