Ayodhya, the birth place of Lord Rama, is kicked off with a grand celebration of Deepavali this year. Yesterday the residents of Ayodhya lit 551,000 lamps and illuminated the banks of River Sarayu. Even this pandemic could not dampen our festive spirit, special arrangements have been made across the nation to celebrate this Deepavali happier, healthier & safer than ever before. This year I have tried to replicate my grandmother’s Deepavali platter consisting of traditional Tamilnadu sweets & savories, and it reminds me of the festive feasts relished during my childhood days. Now I post a recipe for Manoharam, a sweet delicacy popular in southern districts of Tamilnadu, and you can also find my other Deepavali recipes here.
Manoharam is nothing but sweet murukku, some may simply coat murukku with jaggery or sugar syrup, but we prefer to leave them soaked in jaggery syrup for a couple of hours to enjoy the strong flavor of ginger as well as the sweet flavor of cardamom added into the syrup. We like to relish sweet crunchy manoharam along with crispy spicy thattai & salted thenkuzhal as tea-time snacks.
Manoharam & Churros:
Manoharam & Churros share some similarities: Churros is a deep-fried pastry coated with cinnamon flavored icing sugar, whereas manoharam is a murukku coated with cardamom & ginger flavoured jaggery syrup. Churros’ dough is prepared using all purpose flour (maida), but manoharam’s dough is made using gram flour (chickpea flour) or rice flour, and both the dough is piped into cylindrical sticks (hollow at the center) fried in hot oil. We use murukku press with a special chip shown below for making cylindrical murukku, but Churros is piped into oil using a piping bag with nozzle, you may check out one of my blogger friends’ recipe for churros here.
|Gram flour (chickpea flour/ kadalai maavu)||2 cups|
|Rice flour (I used store-bought idiyappa maavu)||2 tbsp|
|A pinch of salt|
|Coconut oil to grease the palm while kneading the dough||as needed|
|Peanut oil for frying||500 ml|
|Jaggery powder||1 and 1/2 cups|
How to make manoharam murukku:
- Sieve the flours through a fine mesh.
- Add salt and water (about 200 ml) into the flour.
- Knead it into a soft dough. (Since gram flour is too sticky to handle we can grease our palm with coconut oil.)
- Roll the dough into a cylinder and place it inside the murukku press.
- Heat a frying pan with peanut oil in medium flame.
- Squeeze out the dough directly into hot oil by continuously pressing the lever of murukku press.
- Remove murukku from oil once the sizzling sound is stopped and place them on a plate lined with tissue towel.
- Similarly prepare a next batch of murukku until the dough is used up.
- Finally break them all into small pieces and keep aside.
How to soak manoharam in jaggery syrup:
- Heat a heavy-bottom pan with jaggery powder in low flame.
- Add some water (approx. 20-30 ml) into the pan.
- Stir with wooden spatula until jaggery is dissolved.
- Increase the flame to medium.
- When the syrup starts bubbling up add ginger powder & cardamom powder, and mix well.
- Add the broken pieces of murukku into hot syrup.
- Keep turning over all the pieces until they are nicely coated.
- Remove the pan from heat and leave aside.
- Separate all the pieces stuck to the dried syrup using a flat ladle.
- Store in a clean airtight container for a week.
Tips & Tweaks:
- We like manoharam the most mainly because of thick flavourful layer of jaggery around these crunchy sticks, but if you don’t want to see this hard layer, you can just coat murukku with hot syrup and remove them immediately from the syrup.
- We use large gram flour murukku for preparing manoharam, but you can use thin rice flour murukku as well.