Munthiri Kothu is a festive sweet made traditionally in the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in India. It is pretty easy to make and tastes delicious. 'Munthiri' means grape or cashews, and 'kothu' means a bunch. The sweet is made into marble-sized balls and served in a bunch, hence Munthiri Kothu. It is also considered a healthy snack as the main ingredients used are green gram and jaggery. Here's my recipe for it:
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Serves: 6 to 8
500 gms split green gram
1 cup grated coconut
400 gms palm jaggery
15 cardamom pods
1 small piece nutmeg
A pinch of salt
Cooking oil for frying
1 cup refined wheat flour or maida
½ cup rice flour
A pinch turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Step 1: Thoroughly rinse and clean the split green gram. Once done, dry roast in a thick-bottomed pan on a medium flame for 4 minutes or until the colour turns light brown. Set aside for cooling.
Step 2: To a pan, add jaggery and pour 150 ml of water. Heat it till the jaggery melts. You can keep stirring to increase the melting process as well. Strain the syrup to remove any lumps or impurities and keep it aside.
Step 3: Coarsely grind the roasted green gram in a food processor and keep it aside.
Step 4: To a blender, grind cardamom and nutmeg. Keep aside.
Step 5: Next, in a thick-bottomed pan, dry roast the grated coconut until it turns golden brown.
Step 6: Pour the jaggery syrup and bring it to a rolling boil. Add the roasted coconut and cardamom-nutmeg spice mix with a pinch of salt. Mix well. Keep stirring for about 4 to 5 minutes or until it becomes slightly thick (right before the one string consistency). Turn the flame off.
Step 7: Take the ground green gram in a bowl and add the jaggery-coconut syrup. Slowly mix together.
While it is still warm, make marble-sized balls.
Step 1: To make the batter, take refined wheat flour or maida and rice flour in a mixing bowl. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and salt to taste. Add water in small amounts, to form a smooth batter slightly thin but thick enough to coat to the back of a spoon.
Step 2: Heat oil in a thick-bottomed pan for deep frying. Once the oil is hot, take a ball and dip it in the batter. Drop the ball carefully into the oil and deep fry for about 20 to 30 seconds on a medium flame. You can fry 2 to 3 balls in one batch.
Step 3: Strain the excess oil and store it in an airtight container. Serve and enjoy!