by Kaveri Ponnapa
A small, round version of a banana fritter, bale muruku is something I just love to make. For one thing, it's so easy, requiring minimum effort, and the results are utterly delicious and quite irresistible. These little treats are slightly crisp on the outside, and velvety soft on the inside, with small bursts of toasted sesame seeds, cardamom and coconut, all wrapped up in the sweetness of ripe banana. I've forgotten how many times I have made them for my children, frying batches to a deep brown, then tipping them onto crumpled newspaper to drain the oil, all the while popping 'samples' into my mouth, liberally. The sweet scent of the fritters drifted around the house, and soon, hopeful faces would appear at the kitchen door. Before long, the entire batch would vanish. Bale muruku keeps very well, stored in stainless-steel tins, or glass jars. My grandmother often had a large jar filled with them in what was officially the snack cupboard, built into the wall of the dining room. She made them in gigantic batches, using the dense-textured, uniquely flavoured mara bale of Coorg, although the common, ripe bananas work just as well. I now wonder how they lasted long enough to fill the jar, as the boys of the house stuffed their pockets with fistfuls of fritters as they went out to play.
I love to watch the effect bale murukus have on adults. Those who have never tasted them, eat one, hesitantly, and then reach for a second and third, very quickly. Trying to stay within the bounds of politeness, the dish of bale muruku is passed rapidly up and down the table, some guests surreptitiously picking up two or three at a time, hoping not to be noticed. And I could swear that one of our friends, who visits often, always has a look on his face that says he wished he could fill his pockets and take some home with him!
Thank you for visiting this page. If you read something that you enjoy, or see an image that you like, please take a moment to write a response. Do look out for the recipes of all the food featured here in my upcoming cookbook.
Image Credits: Nithin Sagi
All Food Styling: Kaveri Ponnapa