Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Manoharam for August issue of Indian Cooking Challenge

The August challenge brings you a very delectable sweet dish. Manoharam is one of the many variety seer bakshanams that may be found during Tambrahm weddings and other smaller functions. In fact, they are rather stuffed in the paruppu thengai form than the rolled balls that we have shared through this challenge.

Srivalli, decided that we shall do manoharams for this edition and having agreed upon it we chose two recipes given in Samaithu Paar Volume 2, a cookbook by renowned author S.Meenakshi Ammal . The book has one more recipe also. However, we concluded two optional recipes will work fine for all the members.

With the Krishna Janmashtami coming up, soon after she announced, I decided to try them for the festival. I hope my pictures tell you enough that I enjoyed the trial run.

I have tried both recipes with very small quantities, adjusting to serve just the two of us.
I have an exact 200ml. volume measuring cup, a treasure from my great grandmother. So my cup measures given below are all equivalent to 200ml. I have weighed each ingredient in grams also for those of my readers wanting metric weights.

The recipes given below will yield around 20 numbers of manoharams depending on the size of the balls. I halved each recipe and obtained 11/ 12 of them.

Recipe 1: Thaenkuzhal manoharam

Raw rice 2 cups/400ml/350 grams
Split geengram (moong dhal) 1 cup/200ml/200 grams
Powdered jaggery 2 cups/400ml/500grams
Ghee 4 table spoons/60ml/ grams
Salt just a little to enhance taste
Oil for deep frying

Gadgets required:
Murukku press fitted with the three slot disc

Preparing the manoharams:
Wash the raw rice until clean. Soak in water for about an hour. Drain the water and spread on a cloth to absorb excess water.
While moist, pound the rice to a fine powder, seiving and pounding until desired consistency is achieved.
Provided the rice is not aged and is starchy enough, you will obtain 4 cups of rice flour. (double the volume of rice used)
Powder the moongdhal raw until a very fine powder is obtained.
200ml of moong dhal, while powdered yielded about 280 ml of powder, that measured in cups would be 1 cup and 2/5ths.
Sieve the rice flour and moong dhal flour together. Add the salt and rub the ghee in, to incorporate with the flour mix.
Add water and make a dough that is soft enough to pass through the pores of the murukku press. Take a small portion of the prepared dough in the murukku press.
It is advisable, even for this small quantity, that you mix the dough in batches, as the exposure to air might result in dark coloured murukkus as well as hardened ones.
Heat oil and when the oil is ready, press the thaenkuzhal murukkus directly in the oil.
Deep fry until both sides are crisp and done. Remove from oil using a slotted ladle and place on absorbent tissues to remove excess oil.
Repeat the process until all the dough is used up.
Break the prepared thaenkuzhals in tiny bits and keep aside.
Usually this is measured in volume and 1 part of powdered jaggery is measured against 4 parts of murukku bits.
Dissolve jaggery in 1/2 cup of water. Strain and remove impurities.
Put the dissolved jaggery in a pan and boil it down to a syrup of hard ball consistency.
You might be able to roll the syrup in a ball, if little quantity of syrup is dropped in cold water. This ball can be lifted out of the water and if dropped back into it, falls with a sound of hitting against the floor of the bowl.
Place the thaenkuzhal bits in a large plate and mix the syrup thoroughly over the bits.
Grease your palms with some ghee and roll the above in fist size balls.
Place these balls apart to avoid them clinging to one another.
It will be easy to make syrup in small quantities and mix it in portions to the broken murukku bits and then rolling them in balls if you are doing them without assistance. The shaping becomes difficult if the jaggery coated bits cool. However, if you can handle some heat and are deft enough, make the above in two portions and proceed. Or can simply munch on jaggery coated murukku bits. They taste good, just as much as the balls.

Recipe 2: Boondhi manoharam:

Ingredients :
Raw rice 2 cups/400 ml/ 350 grams
Split green gram/ Moong dhal 1 cup/200ml/200 grams
Bengal gram /channa dhal 1 cup/200ml/175 grams
A pinch of sodium-bi-carbonate/cooking soda
A pinch of salt (optional) (I do not use as the boondhis will not form well if salt is added to the batter)
Powdered jaggery 2 cups/400ml/500grams
Oil for deep frying

Gadgets required:
Boondhi ladle

How to prepare the boondhi manoharam:
Wash rice and soak in water for an hour. Drain and spread on a clean cloth to absord excess water.
While moist, powder to a very fine powder in a mixie.
Both the dhals have to be powdered raw until very fine.
Mix the flours and the soda-bi-carb. Add enough water to make a flowing batter.
Heat oil in a pan and when the oil is hot enough, holding the boondhi ladle over the oil, drop some of the batter on the ladle. The batter will fall into the oil in drops and form tiny balls as they surface up. Deep fry them until crisp.
Remove with a slotted ladle and place on absorbent tissues. Boondhis are usually little more oily. Hence, placing them on absorbent paper is a requirement.
If you want every one of your boondhis to be nicely shaped, follow the tip below.
Mix the flours and soda-bi-carb. Divide this flour mix into small portions, just as much as you will be able to press at one go. Mix this portion alone with water. Pass this batch through the pores of the ladle and deep fry them in oil.
The ladle shall be washed clean and wiped dry for each fresh batch.
The oil will also be heating to optimum while you do these steps in between, resulting in perfect boondhis.
If mixed in one go, towards the end the boondhis will be thin and not hold a spherical shape.
The consistency is equally important. If too thick, they will not surface soon after dropping in oil. If too thin, they will not hold shape and will be flat.
Prepare the boondhis with the measured amount of your powdered flours.
Here again, the volume of boondhis is measured and 1/4th of this, is the volume of jaggery required.
Make hard ball syrup with the jaggery and incorporate thoughly with the boondhis to coat them well.
Grease your palms and gather the mix in balls of desired size.
The same point about making syrup in batches and mixing holds in this case also.

These two recipes are from a renowned author of the 1950s era. They have worked for millions of other women over the past few decades. I am very happy to have tried this and enjoyed preparing them as much as I loved tasting too.

Discussing this with my mother, she pointed out that my periamma, her sister, also an expert with Tambrahm cooking and bakshanams has given a recipe too. This is somewhat different in the measures of ingredients. Recently, while Niki was home, amma has made them for her and said that they were extremely delicious. I am soon to try that recipe too and will post that version.

For now, enjoy the above two that were chosen for the Indian Cooking challenge August edition.


  1. wow, lovely looking laddoos. I am skipping over this month's ICC, so going to virtually enjoy these :)

  2. Boondhi manoharam looks delicious and I am a great fan of manoharam. Nice pictures and perfect textures.

  3. I have heard abt manoharams thorugh my grandma and mom,but sadly never tasted,I always wanted to taste them ,looks very very tempting..I love the murukku manoharam the best!

  4. They look so tempting!I did not make it this time but will definitely try them later.

  5. Two of them! very nice..thanks for sharing such wonderful recipes Lataji.

  6. Both of them look really good....nice n tempting recipes

  7. Looks yummy lata Akka. Bhoondhi manaoharam i havenot tasted, bookmarking that one.


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Lata Raja.