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Heavy demand for crispy treat

Syed Muthahar Saqaf
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Festive twists: A woman preparing ‘murukku' in Manapparai. — PHOTO: R. M. RAJARATHINAM
Festive twists: A woman preparing ‘murukku' in Manapparai. — PHOTO: R. M. RAJARATHINAM

Over 100 families involved in the preparation of the mouth watering ‘Manapparai murukku,' a famous and traditional dish of Tamil Nadu, are working overtime for the past few days to meet the Deepavali demand not only from the customers of Tamil Nadu but also from many overseas countries.

About 30,000 kg of ‘Manapparai murukku' is expected to be prepared for this Deepavali season and preparations will commence in a day or two. The despatch of the same will continue till the morning of Deepavali.

Tamil Nadu is noted for its unique dishes and some of the dishes like ‘Tirunelveli halwa,' ‘Manapparai murukku,' ‘Srivilipputhur palkova,' ‘Kovilpatti kadalaimittai,' have brought fame to the towns where they are prepared.

‘Manapparai murukku' was included in the package of ten special and popular food items of the state named ‘Tamil Amutham,' which found a place in the ‘Unavu Thiruvizha' held during the recent World Classical Tamil Conference at Coimbatore recently.

The ‘murukku' has of late been in good demand in USA, Malaysia, Singapore and gulf countries. “We have been receiving orders regularly from the Tamils settled down in these countries,” says ‘Murukku' Manohar whose family is involved in this trade for the past five decades.

Duraisamy, father of Mr. Manohar started preparing ‘murukku' in a small scale and at present all his five brothers and their family members are involved in this flourishing business. “It is the brackish water available in the wells in some part of this town, which is characteristic of the delicious flavour for this murukku,” he says.

The ‘murukku' preparation commences at 4 a.m. and continues till noon. Every day Duraisamy's family prepares about 100 kg of murukku and the entire stock is marketed by evening itself.

For the Deepavali season the family has bagged orders for about 400 kg of murukku and the preparation of the same will commence shortly, Mr. Manohar said. The shortage of hands has hit this industry to a considerable extent. Due to this, all families in this industry are involved in the preparation of murukku, particularly during the festival days.

It is worth mentioning that the Tamil Nadu State Council for Science and Technology has applied for Geographical Indication tag for ‘Manapparai Murukku' along with Thanjavur Veena and Madurai ‘Malli'.

The State government was keen on obtaining patents for these products so as to safeguard the waning tradition, trade and livelihood of people in these geographical locations with suitable support systems, according to S. Vincent, member secretary of the Council.

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