Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kozhakattai (sweet)

   On occasion, I make kozhakattai as an offering to Pilayaar.It is often called Pilayaar kozhakattai, as it is known as his favorite food.

Ganesh Tribal painting (patachitra) by the Munda tribe
sold by Trifed's Tribes India

        Kozhakattai consists of two layers, the outer layer is like a dumpling made of rice flour.The inner layer is the sweet filling.I make the outer covering of  kozhakattai with readymade rice flour.Tradionally it is made by any one of two methods soaking rice in water for an hour and grinding it into a semisolid smooth paste.Else,drying the soaked rice in shade and grinding it in a mixer grinder into flour. The inner sweet filling is made with coconut and jaggery.The inner filling is made first and is called the puranam.

Jaggery (crushed) 3/4 cup
fresh grated coconut 2cups
cardamom  5 or 6 powdered

1.In a heavy bottomed pan take about 1/4 cup of water, heat and dissolve the jaggery.Filter the jaggery in a fine sieve to remove impurities in the jaggery.
2.Again put it back on the stove and bring the jaggery water to boil.Mix in the coconut  and stir constantly for 10 minutes.The mixture may look crumbly but you can use the back of a spoon to test whether it is sticky(like candy) as that is the desirable consistency.
3.Add the cardamom powder.Stir well and take off heat.Keep aside.
4.When it has slightly cooled down but not entirely.Make tiny  balls of the puranam.You can use the help of  a handful of rice flour to help you shape the balls.I know mine are not perfectly round but it's okay.

The outer covering
Rice flour 2 cups,
water 2 1/2 cups,
salt few pinches,
sesame oil (nalla ennai) 4 tsp,
milk 1 tsp

1.In a heavy bottom pan,Mix all the ingredients into a smooth paste.
2.On medium flame ,stir the paste constantly .The paste thickens very quickly and may stick to the bottom of the pan if it is not stirred consistently.This needs TLC.
3.In about 10 minutes, the flour should be done.The flour should be cooked and should not feel sticky.
4.Take off heat and keep aside.
5.Keep it covered with a wet towel or wet paper towel.Otherwise it will get dry very quickly.

To assemble the  Kozhakattai:
1.Take few tbsps of nalla ennai in a bowl.Take the outer covering flour and knead it smooth without any lumps.Cover  unused flour in wet cloth at all times.Take a small ball size.With a little nalla ennai on your hands start shaping the ball into a cup.
2.First make an indentation with your thumb in the center and then whilst turning the ball in your hands thin the sides of the indentation evenly.Keep the thumb at the inside wall and the rest of the fingers outside .Work slowly pressing without breaking the sides.If it does, it's alright you can patch it.As you go along you will gain expertise with practice.
3.You have reached your desired shape if the cup can hold  one ball of puranam and you can close the outer covering around the puranam filling.

4.It is desirable also to have a thin outer covering without cracks in it .Now,close the covering to make a tiny peak and pinch off any excess flour at the top.
5.Finish making all the kozhakattai.Usually, if it is an offering(neivedyam) to Pilayaar, it is made in odd numbers 11 or 21 in number or more.
6.Once all the kozhakattais are done.It is steamed in idli plates in a pressure cooker or steamer of your choice in steady steam for 7-10 minutes.The reason I am giving a range is because the flour is already cooked most of the way.Differences in doneness may occur from person to person.
7.Once steamed, remove after it cools down and ( /after offering to Pilayaar) serve.Susvaad.

1 comment:

  1. When I make the outer layer thin, most of the kozhakattais start cracking after I steam it. So, now I have an acquired taste for a thicker maavu layer!! :)