Monday, July 07, 2014

Ponsa Mulik/Fried Jack Fruit Sweet Dumplings(Fritters)

Mulik is a traditional fried sweet dumpling/fritter usually made in monsoon season when jack fruit is available in abundance in this part of Karnataka. This snack was perhaps developed by Keralites or Malabaris who have mastered the art of preparing sweet dishes with local produce like Banana and Jack Fruit. Jaggery is also used in abundance in Kerala-Karnataka region in sweet dishes. Some people make mulik with bananas as well.
My mother used to make Jackfruit Mulik meticulously, soaking and grinding rice with jack fruit segments and jaggery manually, frying them essentially in pure home made ghee to get that heavenly flavour. We as small boys used to wait patiently and watch mother make them in the kitchen, dive and grab as many as we could, as soon as she fried, drained and dumped 12-15 mulik at a time into the colander!

Now a days, people mostly fry them in coconut oil. You can also fry them in refined sunflower or other available oil but coconut oil again has its own sweet aroma that adds to the flavour of mulik. Some people also add cardamom powder but that mars the original flavour of jack fruit to a great extent and I avoided adding cardamom. I have tasted good Mulik at Hotel Ayodhya, Kusum Restaurant and Balli's Podi Shop in Mangalore.

Shivalli Brahmins make this adding little salt and also sesame seeds. Their preparation is almost like making modak. I prefer mulik with added sesame seeds. Black sesame seeds taste better and I broiled them/roasted them to get a slight crunchy texture after deep frying the mulik. Addition of salt compliments and highlights the taste of otherwise sweet mulik.

We had thick malai from tender coconut in the fridge. One whole malai, about 4mm thick, is sufficient for the following recipe of mulik. Coconut Malai has better taste than fully grown coconut. Locals also call that 'Bannangaayi' and use that in making rice bhakris and neer dosas.

Jack fruits were falling from the tree in our garden due to late yield and effect of monsoon rains. Such jack fruits are not meant for direct consumption. They are usually added in making jack fruit paayasam, steamed dumplings or paattholis. They are just right for making mulik also. The jack fruits from our garden contain more water content and are very sweet. Hence we reduced the amount of jaggery added and increased the amount of rava. Adding grated coconut enhances the taste but don't add too much. Rice powder is added to get a firm spongy texture. Try this recipe, a sure superhit!

Jack Fruit Florets - 2 cups chopped
Thick Malai from Tender Coconut Chopped/Grated Coconut - 1 cup
Bombay Rava/Semolina - 2 cups(Adjust according to consistency of batter)
Rice Flour - 1/4 cup
Jaggery Powder - 1 cup(Add less if the jack fruit is too sweet)
Salt - 1/2 Tsp
Black Sesame Seeds - 2 tsp
Coconut Oil - For deep frying

Coarsely grind tender coconut malai/grated coconut to a chutney consistency, without adding water. Keep aside.
Grind jack fruit with jaggery powder without adding water till smooth. Keep aside.
Broil(Dry roast) sesame seeds till crisp. Keep aside.
Mix jack fruit jaggery paste with ground coconut, rava, rice flour and salt.
Keep for 3-5 minutes.
Add sesame seeds and mix well.
The batter should be thicker than idli batter.
Heat oil in a thick kadai and reduce the flame to medium.
Keep a bowl with water for dipping your hand.
Dip your hand into the mixed batter pick, shape and and drop small balls of the batter into hot oil, as many as the hot oil can take.
You can also use a spoon to drop the batter into hot oil.
Fry slowly till the mulik turns golden brown.
Drain and collect in a colander lined with paper for excess oil to get drained.
Serve hot after keeping at room temperature for 5 mins.

Temperature of the oil should be monitored well. Once you fry a batch, allow the oil to heat up for 1 min and then drop the next batch.
If the muliks turn darker, it is due to excessive sweet content in the batter.
Don't worry about the shape. Sometimes you may get well rounded balls and sometimes slightly out of shape dumplings.
Shape depends on the amount of batter dropped.
Store the remaining mulik in an airtight container, which will stay good for 3-4 days at room temperature.

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