Monthly Archives: July 2013

Pidi Kozhukkattai -Karam/Salted Rice Dumplings-Spicy



Kozhukkattai is a steamed rice dumpling made sweet or salt. We had already seen the stuffed version of Kozhukkattai before – ( Poorana Kozhukkattai or Modhakam has the filling of coconut and jaggery inside, and are steamed till done.

These Kozhukkattais are called PIDI KOZHUKKATTAIs,  as they are given their shape with hands. ‘Pidi’ in Tamil means ‘to hold’. They have no filling inside but several ingredients are mixed to the ground rice flour to be made into a dough. The sweet or salted dough is shaped into beautiful dumplings by pressing with fingers. These are also called Uppu Kozhukkattai which means salt dumplings.
About Kozhukkattai…

Kozhukkattais can be an evening snack on weekends after a lazy nap;

a healthy snack when kids come back from school, hungry to fall prey to some junk food;

why not…. can be a wonderful finger food/starter in a dinner served with any spicy chutney (

Above all, not so simple it might look, but made frequently, Kozhukkattais can be a simple breakfast or dinner menu for light eaters! To add variety to a breakfast or dinner – make both salt and the sweet versions.

Ko-ZHU-kkattai – ‘Zhu’ is not pronounced ‘su’ or ‘zu’. The word is not pronounced kozukkattai. ‘ZHA’ is the twisted tongue version of ‘la’. The tongue is twisted towards the inner portion of the upper jaw to get the sound of ‘zha’. This letter ‘ZHA’ is the speciality letter of Tamil language. Malayalam also has the letter as it is the latest language to have parted from its elder sister – Tamil. Malayalam still possesses some authentic and long forgotten pure words of Tamil Language.

The word TAMIL itself is pronounced ‘TAMIZH’. For easier comprehension and pronounciation, it is written as TAMIL. The people – the Tamils – are proud of their speciality letter – but is that anymore – only Tamils/Tamizhs can answer!?


Kozhukkattai is the favourite food of Lord Ganesha.  Sweet jaggery filled Modhakams, Ellu Urundai (Sweet Sesame Balls), Uppu Kozhukkattai (Steamed Salted Rice Dumplings), Inippu/Vella Kozhukkattai (Steamed Sweet Rice Dumplings) and Appam (Wheat-Banana-jaggery Fritters) are some of the speciality foods made on the special day.  The special celebration dedicated to Lord Ganesha or Pillayar as he is called in Tamilnadu, Pillayar Chaturthi falls in September.

Why am I posting the Uppu Kozhukkattai so soon?  There is a special reason behind it.

June and July were summer holiday months in Cambodia. Now, with a six year old getting bored at home, I had to make some arrangements to keep her busy… yet interested! Myself and my daughter charted out a time-table for seven days of the week – Arts, Music, Chess, Maths, Tamil language, English Writing, Swimming and COOKING! We baked some cakes, made some potato snacks and not to mention those flop cookies which were burnt!

And when I had to think hard of something which is easy as well as healthy for kids to make and munch, these Kozhukkattais came in. It is such a pleasure to see her write her own recipe book with her cookery class recipes. We made both the salt and sweet version of rice dumplings.

That is why Kozhukkattais before Pillayar Chaturthi!! This time it is Uppu Kozhukkattai – Salt Kozhukkattai. Also called Kara Kozhukkattai or Spicy Kozhukkattai- with added red chillies.


Rice Powder


soaked raw rice being dried



rice – powdered



The basic ingredient for the dumplings is the rice powder, made from Raw Rice. Kozhukkattais taste best with freshly ground rice powder. This is how I made it –

  1. Soak Raw Rice for two hours in water.
  2. Strain water and spread the rice in a clean cloth
  3. Let the rice dry in shade inside home
  4. When the rice has dried 75%, dry grind in a mixer to make a powder
  5. The dried rice should be still wet a bit, able to be powdered but would not become a paste
  6. Soak the quantity of rice that can be ground in your dry grinder; Use as needed and store the rest
  7. After grinding, dry roast the rice powder, then sieve it to remove the granules of rice (see picture)
  8. Dry Roasting of rice powder helps in storage
  9. Use it within a week kept in freezer
  10. If kept in normal temperature, use within a couple of days in humid temperatures.


always sieve flour after roasting to remove granules

IMG_2209 (2)


Uppu Kozhukkattai/Kara Kozhukkattai – Salt and Spicy Rice Dumplings



Ingredients (makes 20-25 dumplings)

  • pacharisi maavu/raw rice flour –  2 cups
  • uppu/salt – to taste
  • thanneer/water – 1 1/2 cups or a little more or less
  • yennai/oil – 1 tbsp
  • kadugu/mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • ulundham paruppu/dehusked black gram – 1 tsp
  • milagai vatral/red chillies – 2 no.s split (according to taste preference and spiciness of the chillies used)
  • kariveppilai/curry leaves – optional – a few


mixed dough



Method of Preparation

  1. Dry roast the ground rice flour to take away the raw smell out of it
  2. Sieve the flour, remove granules away and take the required quantity of smooth flour in a wide bowl to mix all the ingredients in
  3. Heat oil in a pan; Add mustard seeds and let them splutter
  4. Add dehusked black gram and when it turns golden, add red chillies and curry leaves
  5. Pour over rice flour and mix well
  6. Boil water with salt in a pan
  7. Pour boiling water into the rice flour mixture carefully. Carefully because more water might make the dough sticky
  8. Make a dough which is neither sticky nor dry
  9. Take a small portion in hand and press slightly with fingers, to get the beautiful impression of fingers in the rice dough
  10. Steam for 8 to 10 minutes.
  11. Serve with coconut chutney or any spicy chuntey.


ready to be steamed



  1. Since the rice flour is dry roasted, cooking time is less.
  2. Always sieve the ground flour after roasting. Granules tend to form while roasting.
  3. Over steamed dumplings might become harder. Be careful on that.
  4. Water should be boiling hot.
  5. If one is using rice flour from shops, use the flour meant for Idiyappam-string hoppers.
  6. Thick dough might make dumplings hard and sticky dough might not result in dumplings at all. A slightly soft yet tight dough is needed for soft kozhukkattais.
  7. Any problem with the shape, just make small balls and steam.




Araithu Chutta Murukku-1/Crispy Murukku made with Freshly Ground Rice



Murukkus come in different shapes and tastes ( So does the Murukku Maker. This time, I got a new one – easier one to make murukkus from Chennai.

my new murukku maker


Here, in Phnom Penh, finely ground rice flour is not available. When craving overpowers non-availablity, innovation in kitchen begins! Those days when they were no electric equipments to grind, no public mills to mill fine powder, self sufficient households made their murukkus from different sources. One was this… soaking rice and grinding to fine paste/dough.

Even now, there are many villages where the traditional ‘Aattural’ is still used for grinding purposes – Idli/Dosa Batter, Vadai (Crispy salted doughnuts with dehusked black gram) or murukku maavu and many more. Aattural – Aattuthal or Aattu comes in place of araithal which in tamil means to grind and ‘ural’ is the grinder.


That is why, I searched for a Murukku without rice or floured dehusked black gram or a murukku with other substitute ingredients, but the end result should be a feast to teeth.

I pulled out my almost twenty year old cook book from Thoothukudi – which has various native recipes as well as those popular around the world.

Next, I referred Mrs. Mallika Badrinath’s Murukku book and concluded on this one. It is actually the recipe for ribbin pakoda, another crispy chips in shape of small ribbons – hence the name. I altered the amount of bengal gram flour as the first set came out a bit hard.


So, here is Araithu Chutta Murukku.. thanks to my Grinder – could get a smooth dough. The original Araithu chutta murukku has ground rice with dehusked black gram flour. It is also called ‘Puzhungal Arisi Murukku’ – Par-boiled Rice Murukku. To reduce the work of dry grinding ulundham paruppu/urad dal/dehusked black gram flour at home, I stuck to bengal gram flour. That’s why I named Murukku -1. Next time, I shall make with dry grinded black gram! When I spoke to aachi the other day, she mentioned of adding powdered pottu kadalai/chutney dhal instead of bengal gram flour. I just wanted to give way for Araithu Chutta Murukku 2 and 3 to follow in future!

The Murukkus had the flavour and taste and crisp too, though I would not rate them as perfectly crisp.

Araithu Chutta Murukku/Crispy Murukku made with Freshly Ground Rice



  • puzhungal arisi/parboiled rice – 2 cups
  • kadalai maavu/bengal gram flour – 1 cup
  • ellu/sesame seeds – 1 tblsp
  • milagai vatral/red chillies – 10 no.s
  • uppu/salt – 2 tsp
  • yennai/oil – 2 tblsp hot oil
  • yennai/oil – for frying
  • perungayam/asafoetida powder- 1/4 tsp


mixed dough



I also tried ‘kai murukku’ – twists made with hands


Method of Preparation

  1. Wash and soak rice in just enough water for 2 hours
  2. Grind with very little water and red chillies into a smooth paste
  3. While still grinding, add salt and asafoetida in the end and switch off the grinder
  4. Mix bengal gram flour to the rice paste
  5. Heat 2 tblsp oil separately and pour into the rice paste and bengal gram flour. Mix well with sesame seeds to form a firm dough
  6. Take the murukku maker and choose your favourite shaped disc. Fill the dough inside
  7. Make murukkus on a plate and fry them in batches in hot oil till golden brown
  8. Take the murukkus out on absorbent sheet
  9. When they are at room temperature, store in air tight container.


Butter and Egg Wheat Cake


Ms. Vanitha asked for the Basic Wheat Cake ( with butter and eggs instead of oil and omission of eggs. So, I tried the cake this weekend. It came out really well, not to mention the guilt of having butter in the cake. My daughter was very happy to beat the eggs and I went back to my younger days when I used to blend butter and sugar for amma. Truly a lick of butter and sugar beaten together is a joy forever….So, I decided to indulge the previous weekend!

The cake came out very good – soft but intact; with the flavour of butter and eggs and perfectly moist.

Butter and Egg Wheat Cake




  • wheat flour – 100 gms
  • sugar (I used brown cane sugar) – 75 gms
  • butter– 100 gms
  • egg – 2 nos.
  • yoghurt/curds – 3 tblsp
  • water – 3 tblsp
  • baking powder – 1/2 tsp
  • baking soda – 1/2 tsp
  • vanilla extract – 1 tsp


Method of Preparation

  1. In a wide bowl, beat butter and sugar – enough to melt sugar
  2. Whisk eggs separately and add to the blended butter and sugar
  3. Powdered sugar can also be used for easier melting
  4. Add vanilla extract and mix
  5. Mix baking soda and baking powder with gothumai maavu/wheat flour/atta
  6. Start adding flour little by little to egg, sugar, butter mixture
  7. When the batter has become a bit thick, add yoghurt to set right the consistency
  8. Add all the flour and if needed add water to bring batter to thinner consistency
  9. The yoghurt I used was full cream yoghurt. So I added water to the batter to make it thinner.
  10. Grease a baking pan and dust it with a light coating of flour
  11. Pour the batter into the pan
  12. Preheat oven at 200 degrees centigrade and bake for 25 minutes
  13. Check at 20 minutes with a tooth pick – if it comes out clean, cake is ready
  14. Baking time might vary, depending upon the oven. So, it is better to check at 20 minutes
  15. Remove from oven and let it cool to serve.