Sweet Kozhukattai / Vella Kozhukattai Recipe / Ganesh Chaturti Special

Sweet Kozhukattai / Vella Kozhukattai ~ Sweet dumplings of rice-flour filled with coconut, jaggery and other goodies.

Lord Ganesha sure knew a thing or two about good food. His favorite dish is this sweet dumpling made with steamed rice, called Kozhukattai – also known by these other names: Kozhakkattai, Vella (jaggery) Kozhukattai, Modak, Kadubu, Kudumu, etc., depending on which part of India you come from. Largely forgotten over the course of the year, this sweet dish comes to the limelight to celebrate His birthday – which is tomorrow.

You probably know all that – so, let me guess: you are either planning on making this for the first time and just browsing for recipes. Or…. you are scouting for “the recipe” that might help you make kozhukattais without any leaks, breaks, cracks, etc this year. 3 years ago, I was in the former category. 2 years later, I fit the latter profile. Now, I can make kozhukattai’s that hold well – you can see that from the picture. They taste good, you have to take my word for that. BUT – I always have at least a few that don’t come out well.. and thankfully, I think I now know what the cause for the messes are. So, I am going to try to share with you the recipe as well as some precious lessons learnt that could help you avoid the mistakes I made and make beautifully shaped, yummy kozhukkatais.

Hope you all have a wonderful Ganesh Chaturti and enjoy making kozhukattais’ not just for Chaturti but all year round!

Source: Mom, Sis, Grandmom, Mother-In-Law

Cooking Time:

  • Ideally: 1 hour – 15 minutes for the rice cover + 15 minutes for the stuffing + 20 minutes for shaping and filling + 10 minutes for steaming
  • Realistically: Double that time (spare up to 2 hours)

Makes: About 10 depending on the size of the dumplings

Ingredients:

For the outer rice cover:

  1. Rice flour – 1 cup, sifted to remove any dust particles
  2. Water – 1.25 – 1.5 cups (depends on the rice flour quality, age, etc. More notes in the preparation section).
  3. Salt – 1/2 tsp (just to get a hint of the taste in the outer over)
  4. Ghee – 1 tsp

For the stuffing:

TIP: The ratio of jaggery to other ingredients is usually 1:1 for regular sweetness; If you want it sweeter, add more jaggery or if you want it only mildly sweet, add less jaggery. Personally, I prefer 3/4: 1 to get  it to be moderately sweet.

  • Variety 1: Simple Kozhukattai (Coconut-jaggery filling)
    1. Shredded/ Grated Coconut – 1/2 cup
    2. Jaggery (powdered) – 1/2 cup
    3. Cardamom powder – a pinch
  • Variety 2: Poorna Kozhukattai (Bengal Gram Dal with jaggery filling)
    1. Bengal Gram Dal – 1/2 cup
    2. Jaggery (powdered) – 1/2 cup
    3. Coconut – 1/4 cup (optional)
    4. Cardamom powder – a pinch
  • Variety 3: Ellu Kozhukattai (Sesame seeds & Peanuts with jaggery filling)
    1. Sesame seeds (white/ black/ or combination) – 1/2 cup
    2. Peanuts – 1/4 cup
    3. Jaggery (powdered) – 3/4 cup
    4. Cardamom powder – a pinch

Method:

Important: The trick to making well-shaped kozhukattais is in making them while everything is still warm – the dough gets dry and does not bind well if left open for long or if it has cooled down a lot and the stuffing gets very hard and tight as the jaggery in the mixture cools down. So it is a good idea to have all the ingredients handy and be prepared so you can go through the steps swiftly.

To make the rice outer-cover:

  1. Add salt and ghee to the water and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat.
  2. Take the sifted flour in a large-ish mixing bowl and slowly add the boiled water while still quite hot, little by little, stirring all the time. Depending on the rice flour you are using, it could soak up less or more than the water quantity mentioned in this recipe. I used Udupi Rice Flour and needed about 4.5 cups water for 3 cups rice (~1.5 cup water per cup of rice flour).
  3. The result should be a sticky but smooth dough – neither too watery nor too dry. The dough does stick to your fingers, but you should be able to make balls out of it by pinching some off and rolling between your palms (use some hot water/ oil or ghee to handle the dough) and flatten it out on a plastic sheet to prevent sticking to the bottom.
  4. Checking Tips:
    • If it does not roll well and is slushy then it is too wet and you need to add more rice flour. Add just a little at a time and mix well and try again.
    • If it is too stiff while rolling and does not flatten and spread easily without cracks, then it is too dry and needs more water which you can heat up in the microwave or stove top and add a few drops at a time.

To make the sweet fillings (pooranam):


  • Variety 1: Simple Kozhukattai (Coconut-jaggery filling)

Tip: “Leaky” kozhukattais are a result of the filling not being cooked to the right consistency. The jaggery first melts, then thickens. So you need to wait to bring it to the right consistency which takes about 3-5 minutes depending on the jaggery and quantity.

    1. Add the jaggery and coconut to a saute pan and stir on medium-high.
    2. The jaggery would start “sweating” and the coconut gets cooked too.
    3. Keep stirring – and be patient till the mixture thickens and comes together fully.
    4. Add the cardamom powder and turn off the heat.
  • Variety 2: Poorna Kozhukattai (Bengal Gram Dal with jaggery filling)

Tip: This filling thickens very quickly once you take it out of the heated pan, so try to stop the cooking process before it it very thick, but just right to be able to form into balls for the stuffing.

    1. Boil the dal until it is easily mash-able.
    2. Drain out all the water and mash the dal.
    3. Add some ghee, the dal along with jaggery and coconut (if using) to a saute pan and stir on medium-high until the mixture thickens and ghee starts oozing out.
    4. Add the cardamom powder and turn off the heat.
  • Variety 3: Ellu Kozhukattai (Sesame seeds & Peanuts with jaggery filling)
    1. Dry roast the peanuts and sesame seeds in a pan, on med heat, tossing around until browning begins and the sesame seeds start giving out an aroma.
    2. Add the roasted mixture, jaggery and cardamom to a blender and pulse until the mixture is coarsely ground.
    3. Take some of this mixture and see if you can squeeze in your palm and it it holds the shape fairly well, if not add some ghee and mix well with your palms and the filling is ready.

Forming the Kozhukattais:

Tips:

  • Use a zip-lock sheet / milk packets (In India) or any other plastic wrap as a base for the preparation to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter or board.
  • Be very GENTLE throughout the process. The rice dough is soft, not stretchy, sticky and very easily breakable.
  • You can use a little warm water as glue if the dough seems too dry to come together.

Continue to make one of the shapes as per preference.

Crescent (flat / horizontal) shape:

  1. Take some dough and with greased palms, make a ball out of it (like for chapattis).
  2. Place it on the plastic sheet and flatten gently with the base of your palm.
  3. Continue to spread it outwards in a circle by gently flattening with the tips of your fingers.
  4. Place a small portion of the stuffing (about 1/2 the size of the rice flour ball) in the center of the dough circle.
  5. Take the plastic sheet with the dough and stuffing in your palms and bring together (like a Taco or like closing a purse) till the edges meet and line up together.
  6. Place on a steady base again and gently seal the edges by pressing along the seams gently with your finger tips.

Modak (vertical) shape:

  1. Take some dough and with greased palms, make a ball out of it (like for chapattis).
  2. Take the dough ball in your hands and form a small depression with your thumb.
  3. Continue to work on the depression to make a pocket by turning the dough gently while continuing to work on the scoop-like shape.
  4. Place some filling (just enough to be contained in the hollow part of the pocket-shape) in the dough-pocket.
  5. Bring the edges together like scooping together a bag and seal using gentle pressure along the bunched tops.
  6. You can pinch off the excess dough from the top and then shape the modaks afterwards.

Steaming the Kozhukattais:

Grease a steamer pan or idly plate and place the kozhukattais without crowding too much (some overlapping is fine). Cook for about 10 minutes until done. Give it a minute or so before removing, be gentle so as to not break the kozhukattais while removing.

That’s it.. you’re done 🙂 Offer the God His birthday prasadam and enjoy the yummy kozhukattais!

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Comments
One Response to “Sweet Kozhukattai / Vella Kozhukattai Recipe / Ganesh Chaturti Special”
  1. PoppyBhavan says:

    Yummy Da.Ganapathy Baba
    will sure relish it.

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