|Alternative names||Puffed rice, mudhi, murai|
|Place of origin||Indian subcontinent|
|Region or state||Indian subcontinent|
|Associated national cuisine||Bangladesh, India, Nepal|
Muri, also known as mudhi or murai, laiyya (Uttar Pradesh) or murmure (Bengali: মুড়ি; Odia: ମୁଢ଼ି muṛ[h]i; Hindi: मुरमुरे) is a type of puffed grain from the Indian subcontinent, made from rice, commonly used in breakfast cereal or snack foods, and served as a popular street food in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. It is usually made by heating rice kernels under high pressure in the presence of steam, though the method of manufacture varies widely. In the Indian subcontinent, it is known as mamra, porri or arsi porri.
Muri is to rice as popcorn is to corn. The processing involved makes rice less perishable. Mandakki is a staple food in many parts of the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha, Tripura, West Bengal and modern-day nation of Bangladesh. Jhalmuri or Masalemandakki is a very popular preparation made from muri.
A traditional puffed rice called muri is made by heating parboiled rice (i.e. steamed then dried) in a karahi or wok filled with hot salt or sand, a technique known as hot salt frying. Salt or sand is heated in the pan, traditionally over a fire in an Indian stove, until it is hot enough to pop rice added to it within seconds (around 250 °C). Parboiled or dried pre-cooked rice is added to the heated contents of the pan and stirred. Puffing starts almost immediately and completes in seconds, and then the rice is scooped out by a metal sieve and cooled. The salt or sand naturally darkens as it is used by becoming coated in carbonized powder from the food being fried.
Puffed rice is formed by the reaction of both starch and moisture when heated within the grain. Unlike corn, rice kernels lack the strong hull that holds in steam to gelatinize the starch, and therefore need to be pre-cooked and dried beforehand if they are to be puffed in an unpressurized vessel. Rice can be puffed in hot oil, salt, or sand. Rice puffed in this way is crisp, and therefore is also known as "crisped rice". Though not as dramatic a change when compared to popcorn, the process and end result are the same.
Another method of puffing rice is "gun puffing", where the grain is conditioned to the correct level of moisture and pressurised to around 200 psi (1,400 kPa). When the pressure is suddenly released, the pressure stored inside the kernel causes it to puff out. This method produces puffed rice which is spongy in texture.
Rice can also be puffed by making a rice dough, and extruding small pellets which are then rapidly heated. The moisture in the dough flash boils and puffs the rice up. Cereal such as Cap'n Crunch is extruded, cooked, cut, pressurized, puffed and dried in a continuous process. This technique is also used to produce Rice Krispies breakfast cereal as well as the crisped rice used in Lion Bars, Nestlé Crunch, Krackel, and similar chocolate bars.
The modern extruded dough puffing method is attributed to an American, Alexander P. Anderson, who stumbled across "puffing" while trying to ascertain the water content of a single granule of starch and introduced the first puffing machine at the World's Fair in Saint Louis, Missouri, in 1904. His eight "guns" that puffed grains for fair goers were dubbed "The Eighth Wonder of the World" by an advertising billboard poster. Once the puffing principle, technique and technology had been discovered by Anderson, the competition to puff ready-to-eat American breakfast cereal took over the economy of Battle Creek, Michigan, with Kellogg's and Quaker Oats being two memorable and still active names to endure through the early puffing frenzy.
Puffed rice for sale in Ulsoor Market, Bangalore
Puffed rice is an ingredient of bhel puri, a popular Indian chaat (snack). It is offered to Hindu gods and goddesses in all poojas in the southern Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Pilgrims of Sabarimala often pack puffed rice in their Irumudikettu along with jaggery meant to be offered to Lord Ayyappan.
Puri production has been the main family business for centuries among many villages around Namakkal, Avinashi in Tamil Nadu. In Telangana, as a snack is typically given to children, puffed rice or bongulu is made into ball with jaggery sugar syrup or bellam pakam.
Mudhi is a staple food of Odisha and West Bengal. In northern Odisha, especially Baripada, Mayurbhanj district is significant for the production of Mudhi, where throughout the state it is eaten in breakfast. Mudhi Mansa(chicken curry and puffed rice mixed)is an authentic and a very popular dish in Odisha. NGOs have taken forward initiatives to engage village women of northern Odisha for producing Mudhi. Intellectual property rights (IPR) Cell of Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) has decided to bring out Geographical indication (GI) registration of Mudhi.
Central Government of India in the banner of Make in India decided Mudhi from Odisha will be part Indian traditional food among 12 traditional dishes from different states that would be launched globally.
Puffed rice is referred to as mur-mura in some parts of India. In many parts of Andhra Pradesh and North Karnataka, uggani along with Mensinkaayi Bajji (Chilli Bajjis) are popular. In Karnataka, Mandakki Usli made from mandakki is also famous. In Mithila area, "murhi" is had with "kachari"-fried potato/onion chops, fried fish or with mutton curry. "Jhal-murhi" and "Murhi-Bhuja" are also very popular snacks in this area. In Madhya Pradesh, this is referred to as Parmal and its very often eaten with Sev as a snack and also used in Bhel.
Jhal Mudhi (puffed rice) of Baripada
Uggani and Bajji (steamed puffed rice and fritters), a typical breakfast of Rayalaseema, India
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- Media related to Puffed rice at Wikimedia Commons