Muri/ mudi/ murmura/ kurmura/ murmuralu/ puffed rice /perched rice – you call it with whatever name, the common factor is the crunch. It’s local, desi and most importantly pocket friendly. If you are in the twenties or above and raised in a typical middle-class family, you may have a few special evening memories with muri or bhel.
But being pocket friendly is unfortunately not a good selling point for desi foods these days. Our health-conscious mind often questions the benefits of these basic local foods. The era where every food needs to be packaged, labeled, and marketed highlighting it’s health benefits, Muri, or murmura are losing the competition. Our kids are aware of the health benefits of cornflakes, and oats but what about muri? No, that’s nowhere even in the option.
But on a serious note, actually how healthy is muri? Can diabetic or overweight people have it? How safe are muri? Does it contain urea? You must be having all these questions. Wait…. let’s get the answers one by one.
How healthy are muri?
Muti is a rice product, therefore it comes under the cereal product’s category. To know how healthy is muri, you need to understand how muri are made. The health benefit or harm is completely dependent on the method of processing rice to make muri.
In India, about 4-5 % of total supplies of rice is converted into rice products like –
- perched rice (muri/ murmura/ murmuralu/kurmura)
- perched paddy (Khoi)
- flaked rice (Chirwa)
Perched rice/muri is made from parboiled rice -the rice which is steamed and dried before milling. Note parboiled rice retains better nutrition (vitamins and minerals) than raw rice. Thus it’s the best option for rice lovers.
To make muri, parboiled rice is soaked in saltwater to increase the moisture content to about 20%. Then the soaked rice is thrown into an iron or earthen pot to dry. After these, the dried rice is again thrown into a pot containing hot sand or salt. On stirring, rice begins to crackle and swell. Then the content of the pot is sieved and parched rice or muri and sand/salt get separated.
Since rice is dry roasted in high temperature to make muri, it becomes-
- puffed, light and crunchy
- an instant food
- easily digestible
- nutritious as nutrients released from bind state and become more available
- rich in iron if roasted in an iron pot
The texture and flavor improve and it also adds variety to a daily diet.
Table 1: Nutrititive value of muri/ mudi/ murmura/ puffed rice (per 100 g)
|Nutrient||Perboiled rice (milled)||Muri|
|Energy||346 Kcal||325 Kcal|
|Carbohydrate||79.0 g||73.6 g|
|Crude Fiber||0.2 g||0.3 g|
|Protein||6.4 g||7.5 g|
|Fat||0.4 g||0.1 g|
|Minerals||0.7 g||3.8 g|
|Calcium||9 mg||23 mg|
|Iron||1 mg||6.6 mg|
|Thiamin||0.21 mg||0.21 mg|
|Riboflavin||0.05 mg||0.01 mg|
|Niacin||3.8 mg||4.1 mg|
Data source – Nutritive value of Indian foods, 2016, NIN, ICMR
Muri as instant breakfast/ snack –
Table 2 & 3 below compares the nutritive value of muri with other popular instant snacks and breakfast cereals. Muri contains no fat and no added sugar like other commercial snacks/ breakfast items which makes it a far better option.
Table 2: Comparison of nutritive value with popular instant snacks
|Food||Energy (Kcal)||Carbohydrate (g)||Sugar (g)||Fat (g)||Protein (g)|
|Instant Noodles (Maggi)||427||63.5||2.2||15.7||8|
|Instant Pasta (Sunfeast)||362||75.54||8.69||2.2||9.9|
|Potato Chips (Lays)||554||51.7||2.6||35.5||7|
Table 3: Comparison of nutritive value of muri with popular instant breakfast items
|Food||Energy (Kcal)||Carbohydrate (g)||Fat (g)||Protein (g)|
Muri combined with roasted peanut/ Bengal gram/ sprouts/ fresh vegetables/ ghee/ oil/ coconut/ jaggery/milk powder etc bring variety in taste and also become suitable for various health issues.
Not only as snacks, but muri is also like a staple food in parts of Bengal and Odisha. Muri mixed with vegetable curry or dal is also a common breakfast for many.
Table 4: Healthy snack/breakfast ideas with muri
|Savoury Snack/Breakfast with Muri||Sweet Snack/Breakfast with Muri|
|Muri with roasted peanut, Bengal gram and oil||Muri with ghee, coconut and jaggery/sugar|
|Muri with sprouts and fresh vegetables- cucumber/tomato/onion||Muri with milk powder|
|Muri with cooked vegetable curry||Muri with milk and jaggery/sugar|
|Muri with dal||Muri with curd and dry fruits|
Can a diabetic patient eat muri?
Yes, why not? If you are diabetic and starting your day with tea and biscuits, taking cornflakes for breakfast then why not?
Remember, the diabetic diet focus on a simple principle- balancing the quantity and quality of total carbohydrate in a day. It is preferred to include more complex carbohydrates in the diet rather than the simple form.
As per table 1, 100g of muri contains only 0.3 g of fiber and 73.6 g carbohydrate. Therefore it falls into high glycemic index food that increases the blood glucose level quickly. Going by this logic muri may not seem to be a good choice for diabetic patients. But the glycemic index and glycemic load changed while foods are eaten in combination. Therefore muri mixed with a handful of sprouts, fresh vegetables gives a much steadier glucose response.
One or two handfuls of muri (20-30 g) along with a handful of sprouts (20-30 g), few nuts, fresh vegetables (cucumber/ onion/ tomato/ coriander/ mint, etc) can be considered as a healthy evening snack for most diabetic patients.
Can muri be helpful for weight loss?
Control over total calorie intake, quality, quantity, and distribution of foods are essential for a successful, healthy weight loss journey.
No matter what food companies try to tell you, there is no food in nature that is specialized for weight loss. It all depends on how you are using the food to serve your purpose.
Similar to diabetic patients, if you are trying hard to shed off extra weight, complex carb, and good protein should be your focus point for any meal. Instead of snacking on noodles/ pasta/ biscuits or bread, as suggested before, a handful of muri mixed with a handful of sprouts and fresh vegetables is the best option for you too. Don’t forget to add a few drops of oil and lemon juice to make the snack more filling and tangy.
How to use muri for kid’s weight gain?
If you are spending a lot of money on fancy baby food or healthy food for your kids, you may consider muri for a time being. No, I am not kidding. It’s the same muri that can help you to be thin at the same time can assist you to add a bit bulk in your body.
Yes, muri is a simple food that can serve all your purpose when it combined with the right food. Powdered muri added with roasted nuts, milk powder, and sugar/jaggery found to be beneficial for the desired weight gain of underweight children.
For little or older lanky fussy eaters, muri roasted in ghee with the sprinkled milk powder, coconut on top is a yummy snack option. Try this and thank me later.
Are muri safe?
“Jo dikhta hai woh bikta hai” that means, what looks great, that sells too. Food producers, vendors try hard to make their product look the best and appealing. It’s like an open secret how adulterants are being used in food commodities to make it more sellable. Sometimes the level of adulterants goes so high that it starts leaving a negative impact on your body.
Muri is also not an exception. Everyone prefers to buy bright white, shiny, crunchy muri which are kind of impossible to get following the natural muri making process. To meet the buyer’s expectation, muri makers add urea (Hydrose – sodium hydrosulfite, a common bleaching agent in the garment industry) to bring the extra whiteness, puffiness, and crunch to muri. Result? The simple, easily digestible food turns into a slow poison for many. Long term regular consumption of white muri along with urea may lead to damage to your kidney, heart, lung, and liver. So, what to do?
Beauty is deceptive. This stands perfect for muri. Try to buy muri from the local roadside shop where they roast muri, peanut, corn, Bengal gram, etc in front of their customer. It’s comparatively cheap and the best one you can get. Avoid white, shiny, puffy muri as far as possible.
Bottom line –
Stop blaming the food rather than look for the actual good quality. Weight loss, weight gain, diabetes, heartburn – whatever is your health issue, muri can be always your best friend. Remember to eat muri in moderation and also to add it with the right food based on your health condition.