This article was originally written by me for Beyond Curries. I am reposting it with some editing as the site for which I wrote is no longer active.
I hail from Palakkad and our cuisine is a combination of the best from the regions of Tamilnadu and Kerala. Every festival is celebrated with sweets and savouries that are unique to that festival. The traditional sweets made for Ganesh Chaturthi in Palakkad, are ‘vella kozhokottai‘ (Steamed jaggery and coconut filled sweets) and ‘sugiyan‘ (Fried jaggery and coconut balls). The savouries comprise of vadai (lentil fritters) and many varieties of savoury kozhokottais (steamed dumplings).Kozhakottai is said to be Lord Ganesha’s favorite snack, and when you eat you will know that it is rightfully so. It is basically a sweet or savoury filling wrapped in steamed dough made of rice flour.
There are two methods to make the dumpling wrap. The popular method involves the usage of pounded rice flour. It was the method I followed for a long time until one day, when my sister told me to try the method I am sharing today. With this method, the results were so good that I couldn’t bother to look back!
Earlier, I had tried using shop bought rice flour, home made rice flour. The former yields the worst results. The latter is time consuming and involves lot of prep work. The rice has to be soaked for about 20-30 mins, drained, spread on a clean cloth and air dried, and then pounded to fine flour. I do not mind the labour-intensive process but the method yields kozhakottai that are soft only for some time. After about 7-10 hours the steamed covering starts to harden slightly.
Now, this method that I am sharing is much easier. It can be made from scratch in one day – no prep work ahead! Using raw rice batter yields soft, pliable dough. This is because it retains moisture well as compared to the ‘rice flour’ method. The test is to eat a few kozhakottais the day after or after 7-10 hours. The kozhakottais made this way will remain as soft as the fresh ones. That is where the earlier methods fail.
Try it. You will not regret. You will never go back.
Serves : 15 pieces
1.5 cups, raw rice
1.5 + 1.5 cups, water
3 tbsps. oil (I use sesame oil)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Black gram dal (Urad dal)
Water to cover the dal
salt to taste
1 green chilli
A sprig of curry leaves
3 tbsp. of fresh grated coconut
Rice flour dough for covering
Do not hurry up or skip the part where you have to fit the lid and let the dough cook in the residual heat else you will have raw, uncooked dough and you won’t be able to shape them.
During festivals dishes are prepared from scratch on the day of the festival. I have found that soaking rice for about 4 hours gives a nicer dough. But one hour is enough to get good results.