After reading my posts on a Kerala Iyer Wedding, friends have been asking me why I still have not written about Seer Bakshanam and most importantly Sambandhi Sandai. I will write about these later.
In the meanwhile I have been busy with my vattal making and my annual squash preparations.
I also had to send some snacks for our handsome and charming son through a friend who was visiting India. I decided to write about that first.
This time around, I made the family favourite of sweet and salty crunchies. The salty variety is known as Thenkuzhal and the sweet variety is known as Manoharam. I also made melon seeds halwa and kanupodi.
Thenkuzhal literally means “tubes of honey”. Perhaps it got the name because it looks like a hollow tube. In the olden days, peolple who used to collect produce from the forest used to bring back honey that they collected in the hollow of a bamboo tree. Curiously, thenkuzhal is not a sweet preparation.
Manoharam means “simply beautiful or delicious”. This crunchy sweet just melts in the mouth. This is one of the favourites which is used to fill the Parupputhengai kudu and to make the “kuttys” during the wedding and other functions. Many such kuttys are needed for a wedding. Usually, South Indian sweets are soft. Manoharam is a rare crunchy sweet.
Let us move on and see how the 2 in 1 sweet and salty crunchies are prepared. The ingredients are the same for both. My mother used to make this with rice flour and urad dal powder. I have learned a tastier combination from my cousin-in-law, Rajam. I like this combination better, it is simply delicious. Thanks Rajam!
Both of these preparations require a mould to shape the dough. It is a container with a mould at one end. this mould has differently shaped and sized holes for the dough to squeeze through. a piston is used to squeeze the dough through.
Rice flour : 2 cups
Bengal gram dal : 2/3 cup
Green gram : 1/3 cup
Urad dal : 1 tbsp.
Butter : 2 tbsp.
The above ingredients are same for both thenkuzhal and manoharam. Roast the bengal gram dal and green gram and urad dal separately, until they turn slightly pink in colour and a nice aroma emanates. Cool and powder them together to a very fine consistency. Sieve to ensure fineness. The proportion is, 1 cup of mixed grams powder to 2 cups of rice flour.
Additional ingredients for Thenkuzhal:
Hing or asafoetida : size of a pea, soaked in water (one may use hing powder also)
Jeera : 1 tsp.
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying.
Sieve the rice flour and the gram flour together. Knead the butter and salt together by hand in a wide pan. Add the flour, jeera, hing and enough water to make a stiff dough (stiffer than chapathi dough). Heat oil. When the oil smokes, press the dough through the mould using the plate with 5 plain holes. Remove from oil when cooked. This is Thenkuzhal. Enjoy!
Make the dough using rice flour, gram flour, butter and only a pinch of salt and fry as above. Fry the dough into thenkuzhal as above.
Break the fried thenkuzhal into 1” pieces.
For 1 measure of broken thenkuzhal use the following ingredients:
Jaggery : 3/4 measure ( sugar also can be used instead of jaggery)
Coconut or copra pieces : 2 tbsp.
Dried ginger powder : 1 tbsp.
Melt the jaggery in 1 cup of water. Strain to remove any impurities or sand. Pour into a thick bottomed wide pan, add the the coconut pieces and boil to get a very thick syrup. To test the thickness of the syrup, drop half teaspoon syrup into little cold water; it should make a hard stone like ball. (Care should be taken to boil the syrup to a thick consistency or the thenkuzhal will become soggy). Remove from stove add the dried ginger powder and broken thenkuzhal. Keep stirring with a long and firm spatula until all the pieces are coated with the syrup and the pieces are separated. This is a slightly tedious process. Enjoy the delicious manoharam!