Tag Archives: festive snacks

Inippu/Vella-k-kozhukkattai/Jaggery Rice Dumplings – Steamed

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




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. Mix grated coconut and cardamom powder to rice flour
  4. Dissolve jaggery in water and strain for impurities
  5. 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
  6. Pour the hot syrup on rice flour and mix well into a soft dough
  7. Add jaggery syrup carefully because more water might make the dough sticky.  Stop when you feel water is enough to make a soft dough
  8. Half teaspoon of nei/clarified butter can be melted and pour in the dough for some festive aroma, which is purely optional
  9. The dough should be neither sticky nor dry
  10. Slightly grease hands with gingelly oil/clarified butter, so that dough doesn’t stick to hands
  11. Take small portions in hand and press slightly with fingers, to get the beautiful impression of fingers in the rice dough
  12. Steam for 8 to 10 minutes.
  13. Always grease the bowl/idli vessel before placing kozhukkattais to steam. This helps dumplings from not sticking to the vessel
  14. Inippu Vella-k-Kozhukkattai/Sweet Jaggery Dumpling is ready.




  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. Always make thin jaggery syrup first and filter as jaggery of any kind would have mud/sand particles in it.
  4. Too thick a syrup would make dumplings harder – Be careful not to make a thick syrup .
  5. 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.
  6. Thin jaggery syrup should be boiling hot. By this, the rice flour becomes cooked a bit.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Any problem with the shape, just make small balls and steam.
  10. 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.



The All time Favourite Murukku!

Murukku in tamil and chakli in kannada and marathi and chakri in gujarati is very popular for its different shapes and crisp fried taste. It is also handy due to its storable convenience. Nowadays, even in india, families prefer to get them from savoury shops to distribute for deepavali and even to send abroad to their children.

Murukku – as a verb in tamil means ‘to twist’. The dough made of rice flour and urad dal flour(dehusked black gram) is twisted and swirled to be made into round shapes, and hence the name! There are also different kinds of murukkus –

  • thenkuzhal – plain murukku
  • magizhambu or mullu murukku – murukku with a thorny sharp texture
  • kai murukku – hand twisted murukku
  • vennai murukku – butter murukku

and many more with a little variation like ribbon pakoda, kara sev and so on.

Murukkus can be magical for first timers – especially first time makers. Be it the ones made by the murukku maker, or the hand-made kai-murukkus, making murukku is an art by itself. Tasting, without knowing when to stop can be another art worth mentioning! Not getting into any gender bias, boys seem to fare better in this art! Sitting with aachi and amma to see the murukkus being made by hand on plastic sheets or the murukku maker ones directly into oil with elegant expertise, I have experienced the joy of viewing, tasting and once in a while trying to make some too.

They are quite easy to make – with the murukku maker and some patience – you can surprise your family and yourself too with these excellent crispies.  The rice flour used to be prepared by a long process of soaking raw rice, then drying them in a clean white cloth in a shady place at home, and later milled. With easily available rice flour in the indian markets abroad, this has become easier, though nothing to match the home-made rice flour. Of course, the urad flour is not available so easily in the markets – that has to be done at home. I have always used the flours sent by amma, this time I thought I would try making urad flour at home but had the milled rice flour from chennai!  Making urad flour was not at all a tedious one!

Deepavali snacks are incomplete without these different kinds of murukkus.


Making Murukku



Ingredients (makes approximately 15 murukkus)

  • rice flour – 2 cups
  • urad flour – 1/2 cup
  • white/black sesame seeds – 1 tsp (cumin seeds can be used instead of sesame seeds)
  • salt – as needed
  • oil – for frying

Method of Preparation

Making Urad flour

  1. Heat a hard bottomed vessel or kadai
  2. Dry roast ulundham paruppu/urad dal – dehusked black gram till golden brown
  3. Grind to a fine powder in a blender
  4. Sieve it and keep aside.

Note: 100 gms urad dal gives 100 gms urad flour

Making dough

  1. Sieve rice flour and urad flour
  2. Soak salt in very little and let it dissolve. This helps in even distribution of salt
  3. Add dissolved salt, sesame or cumin seeds and enough water to flour mixture and make a smooth dough
  4. The dough should neither be too tight nor too loose. 

Making murkku

1. Take one portion of dough and fill it inside the cylindrical container of the murukku maker

2. Close it with the single holed disc


3. Press into medium size murukkus on an aluminium foil sheet or any oiled plate


4. I used a greased plate and used a dosai thiruppi – ladle used to turn the dosais, to take it out and drop in the oil


5. Take care to drop the murukkus gently in the oil

6. Fry till golden brown

7. Remove in kitchen tissues to absorb excess oil

8. Let them cool and store in an air-tight container.


Deepavali – the sweets and savouries story!



India and the festive spirit

India is rightly called the land of festivals. Its multi ethnical, multi lingual, multi cultural population and the vast geographical territory are some of the reasons for its festivities and celebrations that knows no boundaries.

All the festivals are celebrated with so much vigor and colour. And the energy with which the people rejoice and glorify each event is a splendid sight. Till today these festivals are celebrated by each household with the same spirit not only because of the sheer joy and happiness involved, but mainly because of those people who want to take forward these unique traditional customs to the next generation.

With each celebration, when it comes to the customs and rituals involved, there are so many questions asked and probed by the younger ones and answers explained by the older ones. But when the younger ones become older, the same spirit of celebration with customs and rituals comes active again with some or many changes in life style. Deepavali is one such celebration. It is celebrated in many parts of India in different ways.


Deepam and Tamilnadu

I am unable to track the origin of Deepavali in Tamilnadu. If anyone has any kind of detail regarding this, please do communicate. In Tamilnadu, karthigai deepam is called the festival of lights. Karthigai Deepam is celebrated in the tamil month of karthigai which falls in November-December.

‘Karthigai Deepam’ is one of the oldest festivals celebrated by the Tamil people. One of the earliest references to the festival is found in Ahananuru, which dates back to the Sangam period (200 B.C. to 300 A.D.) The Ahananuru clearly states that Kaarthigai is celebrated on the full moon day of the Tamil month of Karthigai and mentioned that it was the primary festival of the ancient Tamils. Avaiyyar, the renowned poetess of Sangam age portrayed the festival in her songs………… Unlike many other Hindu festivals, Karthigai Deepam is basically a Tamil festival and is virtually not known in other parts of India’(http://tamilnadu.com/tamilnadu/main/common/tamilnadufestival.jsp?festival=Karthigai%20Deepam).

Tolkappiyam, The earliest tamil grammatical treatise, the dating of which has been debated among various scholars also mentions about deepam –

‘Evidence from Tamil literature proves that this festival is one of the oldest in the state. In ancient Tamil literature, the oldest available work Tolkappiyam gives in concise verse form rules for Tamil grammar as well as other topics. Scholars agree that this work dates back to 2,000 or 2,500 BC. In one of the formulae Tolkapiyar in his treatise uses the phrase “like the lamp’s flame pointing upwards.” This phrase, says one of the commentators, refers to the beacon lit on the Annamalai Hill, which burns brightly without flickering in the wind, and flares up towards the sky’ (http://www.kerala-tourism.net/tamilnadu/tamilnadu-fair-festivals.html).

According to Wikipedia, ‘Some scholars prefer to date it not as a single entity but in parts or layers which are estimated as written between the third century BCE and the fifth century CE’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Date_of_the_Tolkappiyam).

We shall talk about karthikai deepam after Deepavali celebrations.


Deepavali and Tamilnadu

Karthigai Deepam can be called the traditional deepam festival of the Tamils. Though Pongal, Tamil Puthaandu (New Year) and Karthigai Deepam are the major tamil festivals, Deepavali has a special place.

In so many years now, Deepavali has also taken its place among the major festivals. Deepavali is a culmination of the two Sanskrit words Deepam and Avali. Deepam means light and avali means a row. The display of the row of lamps at home and crackers throughout the day and few days before and after is a fascinating sight. It is regarded as the celebration of the victory of good over evil.

It is celebrated as the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon Narakashura. It is marked by new dresses, sweets and savouries distributed to friends and relatives and bursting fire crackers.

After marriage, the first Deepavali of the newly married couple is called ‘Thalai Deepavali’ and is celebrated with extra pomp and pride. If one is married in December, then Deepavali in somewhere October or November the next year is the Thalai Deepavali for the couple though they might not fall under the ‘newly married’ category!


The Deepavali Day

The day starts very early with an oil bath – applying gingelly oil on hair and shampooing with shikakai – the traditional shampoo powder made of herbs. Then the new dresses purchased would be kept in front of God and the auspicious turmeric powder would be kept like a dot in an unknown corner and the dresses transferred to each member of the house.

After dresses, comes food – special deepavali pujai snacks are prepared fresh in the morning (athirasam, appam and a few more). Morning pujai with all the sweets and savouries made – kids eyes closed and hands put together in vanakkam position (greeting the tamil way), but mind wandering on which sweet or snack to taste first!

Then comes tasting – that seems to be beyond words.. After tasting and having breakfast, comes distribution of sweets and savouries to neighbourhood and friends and family. This is mainly the task of the girls of the house. Some of the houses we go and some guests come home to deliver. It is basically exchange of goodies and good wishes – and we greet each other – ‘Deepavali Vaazhthukkal!’

Deepavali would be incomplete without crackers.. Irrespective of the age, there is a cracker or firework for all.


Deepavali and dosaikal

I thought of starting this as a Deepavali Sweets and Savouries special series! In most of the houses, preparation for Deepavali in terms of sweets and savouries starts about two or three days before. Apart from the fresh sweets made for the pujai or worship on the special day, there are a lot more sweets which have to be made before hand and these can be stored for weeks, and especially savouries for even months. After distributing to friends and relatives, it would be a daily evening snack or throughout the day snack and would be ultimately over within days is another different issue.

My memory goes many years behind, where the grinding of kadalai maavu/bengal gram flour for kara sevu, arisi maavu and ulundha maavu/rice flour and urad flour for murukkus, paasi paruppu maavu/yellow lentil flour for nei urundai, plain arisi maavu for athirasam would start nearly four days before Deepavali. The dining area would be filled with thookuchattis (tall vessel with handle to store flours and snacks later) with different flours in them. The aroma of the snacks would start spreading the house two days before Deepavali. I would be sitting on the floor with aachi and amma, watching them make Pathirpeni (deep fried flat cakes covered in powdered sugar), Poli (channa dal-sugar mixture filled flat cakes), Gulab Jamun (deep fried sweet dumplings in sugar syrup) – to mention a few of the sweets and different kinds of murukkus, thattais and mixtures – some of the savouries. That is how I learnt to make the very special kai-murukku.

When I was thinking of explaining Murukku, I just visited Wikipedia and got a beautiful definition. Murukku is made out of a combination of rice and urad flour. ‘The mixture is made into a batter, mechanically extruded, formed into a spiral or coil, and fried to a crisp. Murukku can also be rolled into a flat ribbon (ribbon murukku) or shaped by hand (kai murukku). Kai suthu murukku (Hand spun) is prepared by getting a string of dough and twisting it while winding it into a ring. This process is very hard, requires patience and is highly technical work.’

This is the speciality of kai murukku. Though I have half forgotten the art of kai murukku, learnt from aachi (my paternal grandmother), the next sentence in Wikipedia definition made me think of practicing it again seriously – ‘This profession is in high demand and is paid very well’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chakli)!

Any festival or celebration comes with a teaching note.. Deepavali I think in our households has taught us patience and self resistence. The sweets and savouries prepared and ready but lids closed, would not be allowed to be tasted till pujai on the day of Deepavali. The aroma of the sweets and murukkus spread over the whole house and the whole locality (each house’s speciality), everyone waits eagerly and patiently for the first bite – allowed only after it is displayed in front of the Gods and tasted by them!

Nowadays, with both members of the family working, and less time to spend in kitchen, youngsters becoming more conscious of the fat content, children of many families working or settled abroad and eventually lonely parents, buying sweets and savouries – both traditional and modern(?!) from sweet shops has become common. Distribution among friends is still a living element – thankfully. Though some important sweets for pujai are made at home.

deepams arranged on traditional kolam


Why Deepavali series so early?

I know this is going to be a great learning experience for me – trying to make those mouth watering sweets and savouries – some for the first time! That is why I thought, if I could start a little early, might be I could make more goodies in a relaxed way – experimenting stress free.. I would also be happy to learn new recipes from any of you – my friends!

So let us celebrate Deepavali together!! This year Deepavali falls on October 26th (2011).