Recipe – KOZHUKKATTA (kerala style sweet dumplings)

indian sweet dumplings, desserts

Kozhukkatta is a very traditional cuisine of Kerala and is made on the eve of Palm Sunday or on Palm Sunday in many christian homes. They are steamed round dumplings made from rice flour with sweet fillings of grated coconut, jaggery and spices.

My mum prepares this classic dish only on Palm Sunday; she makes it using raw rice washed and soaked, drained and pounded, sieved into a fine powder using an iron mortar and pestle (we do have a good mixie grinder though!); I was always co-opted to help her. All the intensive labour was soon left behind when we would come together joyfully to devour it for breakfast. The taste of these humble soft melt-in-the-mouth dumplings was simply unique and divine! Today, am sharing my mum’s recipe which I grew up eating and the tradition I too follow with the exception of store-bought rice flour.

Here, roasted rice flour is formed into a dough by adding hot water, gently kneaded and shaped into small round balls. The sweet filling mixture is prepared by melting jaggery, strained to remove any impurities. Further, grated coconut and crushed cardamom is added. The mixture is stirred till all moisture is dried up. A tablespoon of this mixture is added to the rice balls and steamed till done. The key areas to look out are : knead flour when still warm and the water added to the rice flour should be boiling hot.

Delicious soft, melt-in-the-mouth kozhukkatta with sweet fillings of grated coconut, jaggery and cardamom enjoyed with family on a beautiful Palm Sunday morning or for any special occasion.

prep time : 30 mins, cooking time : 20 mins, serves : 6, cuisine : kerala, author : gloria

Ingredients

for rice flour dough :

250 gms/1 cup rice flour (dry roasted – refer notes)

1 1/4 cup water

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ghee or oil

for sweet filling :

3 tbsp water

1/2 cup jaggery or more if desired

200 gms fresh coconut (grated)

3 nos cardamom (crushed)

Method

For the sweet filling

Take a saucepan. Add little water and jaggery; allow it to melt. Once completely melted, strain the jaggery syrup and bring it back to the stove-top. Now, add coconut and stir to combine untill the mixture is thickened and moisture all dried up. Finally, add cardamom and mix well. Switch off heat and allow it to cool. Reserve.

For the rice flour dough

Heat water on a stove-top. Into this, add ghee or oil, salt and bring it to boil. Switch off heat. Slowly and gradually, add water to the rice flour; stirring continuously with a spoon until it comes together. While still warm, knead to make a soft pliable smooth consistency dough.

Shaping Kozhukkatta

Divide into 6 large lemon sized balls. Grease your palm with oil. Place one ball on your left hand and press it gently to flatten. Using the thumb of your right hand and fingers, fold inwards to form a cup-shaped depression in the centre, rotating very slowly. Put a tablespoon (more or less) of the sweet filling mixture in the centre; gather all edges to seal tightly and smoothed into a round ball. Repeat process with the remaining dough balls.

Steaming Kozhukkatta

Take an Idli or Idiyappam steamer. Grease the steamer with a teaspoon of oil nicely. Place the kozhukkattas in the steamer and steam it for 10-12 mins on medium heat until it gets a translucent appearance; remove immediately and serve warm.

Enjoy these delicious dumplings with a cup of tea!!!

My observations/notes:

– dry roast fine rice flour on low heat for 4-5 mins and allow it to cool.

– do not add water at one go, otherwise lumps will be formed. the amount of water used also varies depending upon the quality of the flour.

– knead the dough immediately while it is still warm, if the dough becomes cold it will get tough.

– once the dough comes together, stop adding water. it is a non-sticky consistency dough. in case it  becomes very sticky, add little more flour.

– I used good quality plain white rice flour and do not use glutinous rice flour for this preparation. It will mess up the whole thing!

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