Sunday, April 3, 2016

Chaklis/Chakkuli made with roasted gram - a jhatphat snack for a rainy evening

A tall, dark & handsome hero romancing a sultry, gorgeous heroine. In true Bollywood style they change dresses multiple times within a span of 5 minutes as the melody unfolds in the colorful tulip gardens in Netherlands. Oh yes, I am talking about the beautiful and controversial movie Silsila and specifically the song 'Dekha Ek Khwab..'  I love the song for the interspersed commentary in that unmistakable baritone of Mr. Bachan. I watched this movie many years after it was released, I think I was in grade school when it was made and wouldn't have been allowed to go movies let alone movies laced with adultery:-). I don't remember all of the movie but this song and the color splash of the swaying tulips somehow stayed as a static image with me.
When we initially moved to the PNW, as we were looking for places to go, things to do and views to see, one recommendation from folks here was not to miss a visit to the tulip gardens during spring. And we waited for the spring after our move and went to visit the tulip gardens, honestly I hadn't the faintest idea as to what to expect and my imagination turned out to be extremely unimaginative and restricted. It was silsila of real life but I found that the gardeners don't usually allow visitors to walk in between the rows and stomp all around. May be the rules are different for our Bollywood hero-heroines :-). I am happy to stand at the edge of the row and just look around me. Ever since that first trip, this has become a family favorite drive , we infact call it our annual pilgrimage to the valleys :-). The drive is about an hour and half and once you enter the town, fields of colorful blooms embrace from all directions. As far as the eyes can see, the space is covered with rows and rows of fragrant, colorful tulips.
We did make the drive yesterday and found that the tulip gardens have grown thousand folds in popularity, or so it seemed to us. Roads were full, drive was slow and we couldn't get an entry to one of the popular gardens in the area as it was brimming capacity. It was a blessing in disguise as we drove around and landed on not one but multiple stretches of tulips by other gardeners. It was a beautiful day, warm and bright and the blooms were showing off with nothing holding them back. I thought I will share some of my tulip pictures here, enjoy them.
With temperatures climbing north, I do not think I will be making any deep fried snacks in the coming few months unless the days are made cool with some good showers, may be.. Here is a delicious chakli I made a couple of weeks back when DD was heading back.

For me, chaklis always meant Urad dal chakli/chakkuli as I grew up with them. There were others belonging to the same family but tasted entirely different, Tengolu (or tengolalu) made with urad dal and rice but different proportions for the powder and made in very different shape, muchhore made with moong dal that brought in yet another different crunch and taste. I tasted this chakli at a former colleague and a friend of mine J, a few years ago. She is another person that makes cooking look so easy and delicious that I know. Her idlis are soft and melt in the mouth specially with her signature 'white' chutney, yummm..
When I had a piece of this chakli at her home one day, though it felt different from my chakli, I wasn't able to zero in on the ingredient. Then she said she had used kadle/roasted gram also known as chutney dal, I was still a non believer. I tried it at home and made sure she wasn't trying to pull one on me. Not only are these very tasty, they are super easy and quick to make. Whether you are making a large batch to send with someone or making a small quantity to be finished with a cuppa, these can be your 'go to' snacks. No need to fry/roast any ingredient, no pre-cooking needed, and the proportions are hard to miss and always turn out perfect. The only change I made to the recipe that J gave me was to replace dry red chili powder with freshly ground black pepper. This not only retains the color of the chaklis as I know them but gives a fresh flavor and pep to them. If you like chili powder better, go for it.
What do you need to make kadle chaklis? 
1.5 cups rice flour
1/2 cup powdered kadle
1 Tblsp butter
1 Tsp sesame seeds or cumin (different flavors, choose the one you like)
1 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
1.5 cups water
1 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
oil to deep fry
How do you make kadle chaklis?
  • Blend roasted gram into a fine powder. 
  • Take the rice flour and powdered gram in a wide bowl and mix well with fingers. 
  • Add ground black pepper, sesame (or cumin) and salt and stir them uniformly. 
  • Cut butter into small chunks, add it to the bowl and work it into the flour with your fingers. 
  • The flour mixture should get crumbly as you break the butter into it. 
  • Taste and adjust salt or pepper to your taste. 
  • Add water slowly and bring the flour mixture to a soft dough. 
  • Heat oil in a wide pan for deep frying. 
  • I used the plate with the single starred hole in the center. Get your chakli press ready. 
  • Wet your hands in water and run the fingers on the inside wall of the chakli press. This makes it easier to press. You can use oil instead of water. 
  • Pinch off an orange sized dough, shape into a cylinder and put it in the chakli press. 
  • You have two options, you can make round chaklis on an aluminium foil and transfer them to the hot oil or directly press into the hot oil. 
  • I chose to do the latter this time as we were anyway going to pack them for DD to carry. 
  • Fry on medium heat until it is golden turning them over a couple of times, drain oil, take them onto a paper towel lined plate. 
  • Repeat for all the remaining dough. 
  • Keep the butter outside the refrigerator for about an hour to soften and bring it to room temperature. 
  • To check if the oil has reached the right temperature, drop a small pinch of the dough into the oil, if it comes sizzling to the top immediately, you are ready to go. Not very scientific method :-) but works like a charm. 
  • Add water slowly and in small quantities. The dough should be of the chapati dough consistency sans the gluten. If it is too hard to press, sprinkle a few drops of water and soften it. 
  • Keep any remaining dough covered with a wet paper towel at all times to prevent it from drying. 

1 comment:

NamsVeni Pothas said...

so nice chaklies. mouth watering...yummmmyyyyy. I love them.