Pillayar Chathurthi/Ganesh Chathurthi/Vinayaka Chathurthi falls on September 9 this year. It is Poorana Kozhukkattai – Stuffed rice dumplings or Modhakam the favourite of most of the households. (For Modhakam – see modhakam-pillayar-chaturthi-special.) There can be variations in the stuffing too – coconut-jaggery filling or sesame-jaggery. I hear some make kadalai paruppu/Channa Dhal – jaggery filling in their Poorana Kozhukkattai! Uppu Kozhukkattai (pidi-kozhukkattai-karamsalted-rice-dumplings) and Vella-k-kozhukkattai are the dumplings which have no stuffing but a mixture of few ingredients to make the kozhukkattai sweet or spicy.
Vella-k-kozhukkattai is the sweet rice dumpling. Vellam means Jaggery in Tamil language and Kozhukkattai is Rice Dumpling. The taste of coconut and jaggery blended with cardamom powder tastes heavenly and is versatile in south indian cooking. It can be made as Poorana Kozhukkattai/Modhakam, Poli – sweet stuffed chappathis (poli-a-different-story/) or non-stuffed plain-mixed rice dumpling, which is what I am writing about today – Vella-k-Kozhukkattai!
This steamed rice dumpling has the simple mix of grated coconut, jaggery and cardamom powder with the core ingredient – rice flour. This is yet another version of ‘Pidi Kozhukkattai’ – Given the shape by pressing with hands! This can be a healthy snack for children any time – and what more those little hands can make their own shapes and munch them too!!
For the initial procedures of grinding rice flour and roasting it to be ready to make dumplings – please see https://dosaikal.com/2013/07/29/pidi-kozhukkattai-karamsalted-rice-dumplings. We directly move on to make the dough ready for kozhukkattai.
Vella-k-Kozhukkattai/Steamed Sweet Rice Dumplings(with Jaggery)
- arisi maavu/rice powder – 1 cup
- vellam/jaggery – 1/2 cup (for the sweet toothed can make 3/4)
- thengai thuruval/grated coconut – 1/2 cup or more as per taste
- elakkai podi/cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
- thanneer/water – 3/4 cup
- nallennai/gingelly oil – 1 tsp to grease hands and 1 tsp to grease vessel/idli plate
- Dry roast the ground rice flour to take away the raw smell out of it
- Sieve the flour, remove granules away and take the required quantity of smooth flour in a wide bowl to mix all the ingredients in
- Mix grated coconut and cardamom powder to rice flour
- Dissolve jaggery in water and strain for impurities
- Boil jaggery-water in sim position for 3 minutes – this would not make a thick syrup but yet a thin syrup which will blend well with rice flour
- Pour the hot syrup on rice flour and mix well into a soft dough
- Add jaggery syrup carefully because more water might make the dough sticky. Stop when you feel water is enough to make a soft dough
- Half teaspoon of nei/clarified butter can be melted and pour in the dough for some festive aroma, which is purely optional
- The dough should be neither sticky nor dry
- Slightly grease hands with gingelly oil/clarified butter, so that dough doesn’t stick to hands
- Take small portions in hand and press slightly with fingers, to get the beautiful impression of fingers in the rice dough
- Steam for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Always grease the bowl/idli vessel before placing kozhukkattais to steam. This helps dumplings from not sticking to the vessel
- Inippu Vella-k-Kozhukkattai/Sweet Jaggery Dumpling is ready.
- Since the rice flour is dry roasted, cooking time is less.
- Always sieve the ground flour after roasting. Granules tend to form while roasting.
- Always make thin jaggery syrup first and filter as jaggery of any kind would have mud/sand particles in it.
- Too thick a syrup would make dumplings harder – Be careful not to make a thick syrup .
- I somehow feel comfortable with the syrup if boiled a little while. So, I let the jaggery water boil a bit but yet not loose its thin consistency. Then add to rice flour-coconut-cardamom powder mixture.
- Thin jaggery syrup should be boiling hot. By this, the rice flour becomes cooked a bit.
- If one is using rice flour from shops, use the flour meant for Idiyappam-string hoppers and do not forget to roast it a bit.
- 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.
- Any problem with the shape, just make small balls and steam.
- Both Kaara-k-Kozhukkattai and Vella-k-kozhukkattai would become dry too quick. For immediate consumption, keep in a hot case. Or else, cover it well and lightly steam before serving. Never leave it open.