Chukkappam- South Indian Crunchy Snack

chukkappam

Chukkappam is a popular snack in Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu. It’s served with Chicken fry and it’s irresistible…

“When CHUKKAPPAM and CHICKEN FRY were united in the holy matrimonial”…

Nobody knew they would reign the hearts of so many snack freaks, irrespective of their taste buds, appetite or desire.  If you are someone who knows about Chukkappam, you might as well know that Chukkappam and chicken fry got married, date and venue still uncertain, it would have happened some centuries ago for sure. And still they are together and leading a blissful married life. An ideal couple in the snack world, their everlasting relationship and love is looked upon with much respect and envy by almost all other couples in the food world.

This Crispy, Crunchy, Spicy, button shaped snack, often visited my house along with my grandma. When my grand parents visited us, we would expect many snacks, made by my grandma from scratch. My grandma would start making snacks and other sweet treats for her grand children, as soon as she gets her dates confirmed to visit us. We never had to give her our favorite list of what we wanted, she read our mind with so much ease and clarity.

When she visits us, everyone would get their favorite snacks we had craved for…

Every time, she would bring a huge bag packed just with homemade snacks. In that snack bag, one snack that got a special place was “Chukkappam”. And the amazing part was that she never forgets to bring the chicken fry, to chew along with this crispy goodness. According to her, chukkappam is incomplete without chicken fry and she was always right about this. As soon as we get hold of the snack bag, we the snack freaks would unwrap all the snacks in lightning speed and devour each and every snack with so much greed. The sound of cracking and chewing the crunchy snacks would fill the house, my ears found this as a melodious music. We ate until our mouths got stiff and no longer able to open wide for any further chewing…

Besides my grandma frying and packing this snack for us while visiting us, I also have a vivid memory of all my family members making this snack on almost all family reunion. During summer holidays, all the 7 amazing children of my grandparents gathered at my grand parents house(Tharavadu). I don’t have to write much about how it would be when everyone met under one roof. After a few minutes of hugging, kissing and greeting, we all would fall into the grant celebration mood. All the ladies, would automatically flee in to the kitchen, they will be seen busy with cooking and frying their specialties. For them, this was the perfect opportunity to prove their culinary expertise and to earn a few credits from others. On the other side, super lazy male beings would be seen resting on the couch in the living room, mostly whining about their work and boss and almost everything in the world, and some of them were even found dozing off as soon as they hit on the couch, for an extra crunch they even add their musical note of snoring…Teenagers would stick together under a different fantasy roof and kids would be seen roaming around in between all of the above 3 groups.

In those days of family reunion, the aroma and the flavor from the cooking and frying would spread the entire house and in no time everyone would be seen crowding in the kitchen. Kitchen was the center of attraction or the hot spot in my grandparents house, especially during such gatherings. Even now I remember, how everyone gathered around the huge table in the kitchen to make Chukkappam, this being the favorite snack of all the family members. Everyone volunteered actively in different activities. Some were seen kneading the dough, few rolling the dough, many shaping up the dough and others frying the Chukkappam. My grandma gave special instructions and tips to everyone. Even the kids were enthusiastic in shaping the dough. I got super excited during those occasions and will be seen volunteering in all possible activities. Finally, when the Chukkappam, comes out deep fried out of the bubbling hot oil, it would get a special place on the center of the table and in no time everyone starts snacking it. This would continue until all the snacks were fried, gobbled and if any left they would be stored. Those were the sleepless nights of fun, snacking, cooking and entertainment.

Now when I look back, one thing that continues to amaze me is the unity showed by all family members to make Chukkappam, and how everyone stood as one solid group without any debates and arguments while making Chukkappam. When I made Chukkappam in my kitchen for the first time, I was all alone, but these memories rushed into my mind…Nostalgic!!!

I couldn’t help but write a long post about the Chukkappam memories etched in my mind; I dedicate this blog post to my Grandma…

Chukkappam:

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Ingredients:

  • Rice Flour, roasted- 1 3/4 cups
  • Coconut milk- 1 can, 13.5 fl oz (400ml)
  • Garam masala-3/4 tsp
  • Chili powder-1 3/4 tsp
  • Fennel powder- 2 1/2 tsp
  • Ginger-Garlic paste- 2 tsp
  • Curry leaves- 6
  • Rice flour- 1/2 cup ( while kneading)
  • Egg- 1
  • Vegetable oil- for deep frying

Instruction:

  • In a large pot, add the Coconut milk, Garam masala, Chili powder, fennel powder, Ginger-garlic paste, Curry leaves.
  • Cook over medium heat; when the coconut milk starts to boil, slowly add  1 3/4 cups rice flour and mix everything with the back of a wooden spoon, until a dough is formed.

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  • Let the dough cool down.
  • Combine together: 1/2 cup Rice flour and 1 Egg, keep it aside.
  • When the flour-coconut dough cools down, start kneading it with your hands.
  • Add Riceflour- egg mixture to this while kneadingimg_2859and continue kneading to make a soft and smooth dough.
  • You have to knead the dough thoroughly to make it soft and smooth.

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  • Discard the curry leaves from the dough, (you can add the curry leaves in the oil while frying this will give a nice flavor to Chukkappam).
  • Make long thin strips out of the dough.

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  • Take each long strips and make very small balls out of it, flatten each balls in between the palm of your hands to give it a button shape.

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  • Make uniform and small button shapes out of the dough, this ensures even frying.
  • You could even make different shapes out of this dough: roll the flattened balls on a veggie grater to give it a different shape; button shape being the classic shape of Chukkappam.

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  • Once all the dough is made into button shapes, deep fry in batches.
  • You can add the curry leaves into the oil as well- imparts a nice aroma and flavour.

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  • Deep fry the button shaped dough in enough oil until golden brown and inside is cooked through.
  • Check whether the inside is cooked through by tasting one of the Chukkappams from each batch.
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  • Transfer the fried Chukkappams to a kitchen paper towel.

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  • Let cool down.
  • Chukkappam is served with chicken fry- a perfect match. Let the munching begin…

Tips:

  • Use roasted Rice flour, you can roast it in the oven at 350 F for 10 to 15 minutes or roast on stove top on a wide wok or pan.
  • Knead the dough really well until soft and well incorporated.
  • Make uniform button shapes out of the dough, it helps in even frying.
  • Store in an air tight container for longer shelf life.

 

Chukkappam
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Indian
 
Ingredients
  • Rice Flour, roasted- 1¾ cups
  • Coconut milk- 1 can, 13.5 fl oz (400ml)
  • Garam masala-3/4 tsp
  • Chili powder-1¾ tsp
  • Fennel powder- 2½ tsp
  • Ginger/Garlic paste- 2 tsp
  • Curry leaves- 6
  • Rice flour- ½ cup ( while kneading)
  • Egg- 1
  • Vegetable oil- for deep frying
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, add: Coconut milk, Garam masala, Chili powder, fennel powder, Ginger-garlic paste and Curry leaves.
  2. Cook the above mixture, when the coconut milk starts to boil, slowly add 1¾ cups rice flour and mix well with the back of a wooden spoon, until well incorporated.
  3. Let the dough cool down.
  4. Combine together, ½ cup Rice flour and 1 Egg, keep aside.
  5. When the flour-coconut mixture cools down, start kneading using your hands.
  6. Add Rice flour-egg mixture to this while kneading and continue kneading to make a soft and smooth dough.
  7. You have to knead the dough thoroughly to make it soft and smooth.
  8. Discard the curry leaves from the dough (add the curry leaves in the oil while frying, this gives a nice flavor to Chukkappam)
  9. Make long thin strips out of the dough.
  10. Take each long strips and make very small balls out of it, flatten each balls in between the palm of your hands to give it a button shape.
  11. Make uniform and small button shapes out of the dough, this ensures even frying.
  12. You could even make different shapes out of this dough, you could even roll the flattened balls on a veggie grater to give it a different shape; button shape being the classic shape of Chukkappam.
  13. Once the dough is made into button shapes, deep fry in batches.
  14. You can add the curry leaves to the oil as well; imparts a nice aroma and flavour.
  15. Fry in enough oil until golden brown and inside has cooked through.
  16. Check whether the inside has cooked through by tasting one of the Chukkappams from each batch.
  17. Transfer the fried Chukkappams to a kitchen paper towel.
  18. Let cool down.
  19. Chukkappam is served with chicken fry- let the munching begin...
Notes
Use roasted Rice flour, you can roast it in the oven at 350 F for 10-15 minutes or roast it on stove top on a wide wok or pan.
Knead the dough really well until soft and well incorporated.
Make uniform button shapes out of the dough, it helps in even frying.
Store in an air tight container for longer shelf life.

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