Craving for a crunch of homemade murukku

JOHOR BARU - While murukku is a favourite traditional treat among the Indian community, local entrepreneur D. Baskaran's homemade onion-flavoured murukku has caught the attention of foreign customers.

The 53-year-old, fondly known as VJ among customers who include Arabs, Japanese and Koreans, claimed that he is the only one offering onion murukku in Johor Baru and Singapore for the past five years.

He said the treats were made by blending onions with rice flour to form a batter before adding spices and frying it into strips.

"So far, I have not heard of anyone else selling such murukku as I came up with the recipe myself," he told The Star at the Deepavali bazaar in the city centre here yesterday.

VJ said his murukku, made using coconut milk and without artificial colouring, had become a hit among customers, including Singaporeans.

"The local Indians usually make their own murukku for the Deepavali season but some of them still buy the onion murukku, which is sold for RM25 per 600gm container.

"The onion murukku is fast becoming popular, with sales increasing since 2010.

"This year, I am targeting to sell about 1,500 containers, a 50 per cent increase over last year," he said.

VJ, who is a warehouse supervisor, said he had also been experimenting with other ingredients to come up with different types of murukku.

"We always emphasise healthy treats, so I am planning to try garlic murukku soon," he said, adding that he hoped to focus on his murukku business full-time after retirement.

VJ also hoped to reach out to more customers by starting a Facebook page and providing delivery nationwide in the near future.

"For now, I personally deliver the murukku to my regular customers in Singapore and Malacca but I hope to courier the crunchy treat to new customers in future," he said.