Chakkulis for Krishna Janmashtami
The day to commemorate the birth of Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu is almost here. And many homes will have already begun intense preparations to celebrate this Hindu festival.
What is Janmashtami?
Krishna Janmashtami , a Hindu festival, celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna is believed to be the eighth avatar of Hindu deity Lord Vishnu and is the most worshipped God of the country. Krishna Janmashtami is also known as SriKrishna Jayanthi, Ashtami Rohini, Krishna ashtami, Gokulashtami.
How is Janmashtami celebrated?
The festival is celebrated in numerous ways by Hindus all over the world. It is generally celebrated for two days and the customs vary between regions. The purpose though of all aspects of this festival customs is to celebrate the birth of the Lord to annihilate sins and to highlight that a person must live and rejoice life each day without sacrificing one`s principles.
To mark the birth of Lord Krishna, the idol of infant Krishna is bathed and cradled at midnight. Family members gather around the idol and sing devotional songs, shlokas, mantras and conch shell is blown. Another important ritual on the day of Janmashtami is fasting by devotees. Devotees fast the entire day and break their fast only at midnight when the celebrations to mark the Lord`s birth commence.
Some households draw footprints of a child, with a paste of rice flour and water, starting from the entrance to their homes all the way to the prayer room signifying that Lord Krishna has entered their homes and has bestowed His blessings on all.
It is well known that Lord Krishna was fond of sweets and dairy products. Hence most devotees prepare umpteem varieties of sweets to be offered to Lord Krishna. Poojas are performed, delicacies made offered to Lord Krishna first and only then distributed among the family.
One such delicacy that is synonymous with Krishna Janmashtami is chakkuli or murukku. It is a fried savoury dish made from rice flour.
- 3.5 cups rice flour*
- 1/2 cup roasted urad flour
- 1 handful roasted gram dal/ huri kadle/ pottukadalai, ground to powder
- 2 tbsp white butter, melted
- 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera) or 2 tsp white sesame seeds (til/ yellu)
- salt to taste
- water as needed
- vegetable or coconut oil to deep fry
- In a mixing bowl put rice flour, roasted urad flour, roasted gram dal powder. Seive.
- Add salt, cumin/ sesame, butter. Mix well.
- Add water and mix into smooth but stiff dough.
- Grease insides of murukku maker. Use single star disc. Put a portion of the dough into the maker. Now press the dough slowly in circular motion to form a nice spiral like a chakli on a greased plastic sheet or on back of ladles or onto wet muslin cloth.
- Gently slide out the chakkulis into hot oil.Fry over medium high flame till golden and bubbles in oil subsides. Drain on colander to remove excess oil.
- Repeat for remaining dough.
- When cool, store in airtight container.
- It is preferred to use processed rice flour than ready rice flour. To make processed rice flour, wash sona masoori rice (or any other equivalent variety of rice) in water for 3 to 4 times. Drain on colander to remove excess water. Spread the drained rice on a kitchen towel in a thin layer and let it dry under shade for about half a day or until the rice is completely dry. Once completely dry, grind to powder in a mixer (or give to a mill to powder it). Sieve the powder to discard coarse particles. You could then spread the powder on a wide plate or on clean dry cloth to dry the rice completely. Store in airtight container. Best used within 3 months.