Tag Archives: steamed rice dumplings

Ellu Kozhukkattai/ Rice Flour Dumplings with Sesame Seed and Jaggery

 

dosaikal 232 - ellu kozhukkattai 070dosaikal 232 - ellu kozhukkattai 073
Pillayar Chathurthi, Ganesh Chathurthi or Vinayaka Chathurthi is being celebrated today. The Gods we worship have different names in different parts of India. Pillayar in Tamilnadu is also called as Ganesha or Vinayaka, followed by a list of many other names. Different names don’t interfere in the festivities on the street and inside homes.  What the elephant-headed God, being Pillayar or Ganesha likes is fixed – Kozhukkattai in Tamil and Modakam in Sanskrit. Different Forms of Modak are the most important preparation of Pillayar Chaturthi.

Added to the well popularised Modakam in the God’s hands, is a long chain of local ingredients – fruits, vegetables and grains that come up during the season.

In Tamilnadu, what Lord Ganesha is simplified in the poetic verses – ‘Appamodu Aval Pori’ – which gives the best three things that he likes to eat –

a. Appam/Deep fried Rice flour-jaggery Dumplings (the altered version being made with wheat flour and sometimes banana too)
b. Aval – Flattened Rice
c. Pori – Puffed Rice.

This also shows the socioeconomic connection behind these religion based celebrations. The major crop of the area – Rice and its different versions, has been adapted as ‘Festive Food Essentials’. I often think, if Ganesh Chathurthi had been celebrated elaborately in the northern parts of India – Wheat based specialities would have been his favorite, wheat being the major crop of that part of the country.

Now, the core ingredient of Kozhukkattai or Modakam is the rice flour. What enters into the beautiful rice cover can be optional. Coconut – Jaggery is the ultimate killer combination of all kozhukkattais according to me. The next classic filling is the Sesame Seed – Jaggery combination. The nutty flavor that the sesame seeds give and the traditional sweetness from jaggery can also be a low-fat version for those who feel coconut or fried coconut is rich in cholesterol (not me). Apart from this stuffed modakams, there are also varieties of non-stuffed stuff – pidi kozhukkattai or plain sweetened or salted steamed dumplings pressed with the impression of fingers – that aid additionally as quick and easy evening snacks.

Coconut-Jaggery Kozhukkattai and Pidi Kozhukkattai – Sweet and Salt and Spicy versions, have already been posted. It’s time for Ellu Kozhukkattai or Sesame Seed-Jaggery filled Dumplings this time.
Ellu Kozhukkattai/Rice Flour Dumplings with Sesame Seed and Jaggery
dosaikal 232 - ellu kozhukkattai 032
a. Ingredients specified below makes 20-25 dumplings

b. The V -Part demonstration is for precise comprehension alone – otherwise these dumplings are quite easy to make

 

Part I – Making Rice Flour at home
The core ingredient Rice Flour can be store-bought which comes out well, but the snow-white colour of home-made rice flour is something beyond comparison. For those who prefer home-made rice flour, please refer https://dosaikal.com/2016/08/29/uppu-seedaisalted-rice-ball-crispies/
Part II – Making the Rice Dough which is the outer covering

Ingredients

 

  • arisi maavu/rice flour – 1 1/2 cup – app. 200 gms
  • thanneer/water – boiling hot to make a stiff yet soft dough
  • uppu/salt – 1/2 tsp
  • nallennai/gingelly oil – 2 tsp

 

dosaikal 232 - ellu kozhukkattai 016

 

  1. Boil water in a vessel;
  2. In a bowl, mix rice flour and salt;
  3. Pour boiling hot water on it and mix well with a ladle immediately before lumps form;
  4. Add the gingelly oil for smooth consistency.

 

Part III – Making the filling

 

  • ellu/sesame seeds (white or black) – 100 gms – app. 1 cup
  • vellam/jaggery – 200 gms – app. 1 cup
  • thengai thuruval/grated coconut – 1/2 cup – app. 50 gms
  • chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 1 tsp
  • elakkai podi/cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp

 

roasted sesame with jaggery water…

dosaikal 232 - ellu kozhukkattai 005

 

mixed with coconut, dry ginger powder and cardamom powder..

dosaikal 232 - ellu kozhukkattai 013

 

and shaped to be filled..

dosaikal 232 - ellu kozhukkattai 021

 

  1. Dry roast clean/non-muddy sesame seeds till golden.
  2. Separately dry roast coconut – for 10 mins – with the coco-nutty stickiness intact.
  3. Dissolve jaggery in just enough hot water and filter the mud that is present.
  4. In a pan, heat together sesame seeds, grated coconut, jaggery water, dry ginger powder and cardamom powder.
  5. Let the mixture thicken, ready enough to make small stiff balls.
  6. Make equal sized balls for filling.

Part IV – Making Kozhukkattai/Dumplings

(for step-by-step procedure for keeping the filling inside and closing kozhukkattai please refer – https://dosaikal.com/2011/09/14/modhakam-pillayar-chaturthi-special/

 

  1. Make small equal sized balls for the outer covering.
  2. Keep a bowl with 3 tsp gingelly oil for greasing palm – this helps the rice dough not sticking to the palm.
  3. Grease palm with gingelly oil.
  4. Take one rice ball and press it flat in the palm and fill it with one sesame jaggery ball.
  5. Cover it well and make kozhukkattai/dumpling.
  6. Make all dumplings to be steamed.

 

ready to be steamed

dosaikal 232 - ellu kozhukkattai 030

 

Part V – Steaming Modhakams

 

img_1037

 

  1. Take an Idli Kopparai/Idli Cooker or any Steamer.
  2. Boil water in the base of the steamer.
  3. Oil the moulds and place the kozhukkattai/dumplings.
  4. Place the mould in the steamer and steam for 15 minutes.
  5. Kozhukkattais are ready to be served.

 

dosaikal 232 - ellu kozhukkattai 043

 

Num Kom-Sticky Rice Cakes with coconut filling/Khmer Kozhukkattai!

Modhakam (http://modhakam-pillayar-chaturthi-special), Kara Kozhukkattai (http://pidi-kozhukkattai-karamsalted-rice-dumplings) and Inippu Kozhukkattai (http://inippuvella-k-kozhukkattaijaggery-rice-dumplings) for Pillayar Chaturthi have been made in the recent posts. So why not make this Pillayar Chaturthi a fusion festival – with a Tamil-Khmer festive sweet… that which also somewhat resembles our Poorana Kozhukkattai (Dumplings with filling) in preparation and filling!
Here is Num Kom – The Cambodian Sticky Rice Cake!

IMG_2543

Cambodia with the staple food rice has many varieties of food made with Rice, especially the Glutinous Rice or the Sticky Rice.

Glutinous rice (Oryza sativa var. glutinosa; also called sticky rice, sweet rice or waxy rice) is a type of rice grown mainly in Southeast and East Asia, which has opaque grains, very low amylose content, and is especially sticky when cooked. It is called glutinous (< Latin glūtinōsus)[1] in the sense of being glue-like or sticky, and not in the sense of containing gluten. While often called “sticky rice”, it differs from non-glutinous strains of japonica rice which also become sticky to some degree when cooked. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sticky_rice

 

IMG_2668 (2)
Some of the main delicacies made for special occasions with the Sticky Rice are the different kinds of Rice Cakes. Special occasions can be Weddings, Khmer New Year or Pchum Ben (Festival devoted to worship of ancestors).

The Rice Cake varieties can be Num Kom,  Num Ansom Chrouk and Nom Ansom Chek. Num means Cake in general. Nom Kom is the Rice Cake with coconut and palm sugar filling. Ansom Chrouk has a filling mainly of pork fat and green bean and can be a main course.  Ansom Chek has a filling of banana and it is served as a dessert.

During Pchum Ben – where the ancestors of every family are worshipped – women of the household, young and old sit together and prepare Num Kom.  The Rice Cakes require a lot of time wrapping them in banana leaf – folded in a particular pattern.  While Num Kom – the coconut filled rice cake needs less time comparitively,  there are other fillings to the rice cake – like pork meat – cooking time of which is longer. So, they say the womenfolk sit chatting in the night making hundreds of rice cakes, while the different kinds of cakes get cooked for the next day ceremony.

Thanks to http://blog.aseankorea.org/archives/16079 – from which I could collect some interesting information about these Rice Cakes.

Special thanks to my friend and one of the pioneer bloggers of Cambodia at a very young age – Keonila of blueladyblog.com for helping me out in the search of more authentic information. Also patiently answering my doubts on the fillings of Nom Kom. She is one of the top 5 bloggers of Cambodia and a social media advocate. Thankyou Nila!

And all those other friends who may be reading this – do correct me when I am wrong on information – and please do not hesitate to share your thoughts. This would help me get a better insight into the traditions and culture behind the cuisine of Cambodia!

This Rice Cake could not have been prepared without the guidance and helping hands  of friend ‘D’, who played teacher in letting me learn this cake – with the taste and twist (literally) of banana leaves. Thank you ‘D’.
Num Kom

 

IMG_2548

Num Kom is a Rice Cake made with the outer shell of Sticky Rice with a filling of coconut and palm sugar, wrapped in banana leaf and steamed.

Originally palm sugar is used as sweetener. Since I did not have it, I substituted with the home made jaggery syrup which was available. Incidentally, when I made modhakam/poorana kozhukkattai on pillayar chathurthi, there was no jaggery at home as well in the Indian shop I get it from. I could only palm sugar instead. It was meant to be this way I suppose – Indian Kozhukkattai (Rice Dumplings) substituted with palm sugar and Khmer Kozhukkattai (Rice Cakes) with jaggery.

 


Ingredients (makes 7-8 num koms)

 

for the filling
IMG_2672 (2)

 

  • glutinous rice/sticky rice – 175 grams (1 cup – a little more or less)
  • grated coconut – 1 cup
  • sesame seeds – 3 tsp
  • jaggery syrup – little less than 1/2 cup
  • salt – a pinch
  • banana leaves to wrap

Method of Preparation

 

I. Preparation of Outer Shell/Rice Covering

 

IMG_2507

We decided to go for the traditional method of soaking rice and making a paste. The paste is strained in a netted cloth and the water content remaining in the paste would go. Then, hot water is added to somewhat dry dough to make it easy to wrap the filling inside.

 

IMG_2488

This was a flop with the cloth I had was thick and could not strain the water away.. Emergency!!!  Got some glutinous rice powder and mixed it with the rice paste and converted it into the required right consistency to make Num Kom

Keep aside.

 

II. Preparation of filling
IMG_2687 (2)

 

  1. In a wide pan, dry roast sesame seeds till slightly brown. Preferably black sesame – but I had white.
  2. Switch off the stove and add grated coconut and jaggery syrup
  3. If one uses palm sugar, it mixes well very fast and easily
  4. Frying more or making the filling thick and sticky as in south indian dumplings is not needed here
  5. Mix well and keep aside.

 


III. Preparation of Rice Cake

 

IMG_2527

 

 

  1. Make small balls of rice dough
  2. Flatten each to keep the filling inside
  3. Fill with coconut-sesame-jaggery filling
  4. Close and make a ball

IV. Folding the Rice Cake in Banana Leaf

1. Cut the banana leaves in 8 by 7 inches  (khmer food cooking tutorial: num kom’s (steam rice cake with coconut)

2. Wash the leaves well and wipe them clean with cloth

3. Fold each leaf vertically and give it a slightly cross cut

IMG_2493

4. The cut leaves look like this

IMG_2510
5. Fold it vertically – one fold

IMG_2494

6. Next fold – make it a ‘V’

IMG_2496

7. There would be two pockets – open the wider pocket

IMG_2498

8. Grease the leaf and place the Rice Cake inside

IMG_2520

9. Do not close it the same side where the leaf looks ‘V’ – but, fold the leaf to close the cake in the middle portion where there is a double slit – now, this is a tricky part I forgot to capture. I was learning to close it and was quite successful too. But no photos please. Shall try again for sure!

10. Done and the cakes are ready to be steamed.

IMG_2523

 

V. Steaming Num Kom

place the rice cakes randomly in the vessel
IMG_2535

 

  1. Boil water in a steamer
  2. In the container, place banana leaves as base. This prevents the num koms from sticking to the bottom of the vessel and also gives more banana leaf fragrance and flavour to the steamed cakes
  3. Arrange the prepared rice cakes. Be careful not to damage the shape
  4. Place more banana leaves on top and close the steamer with lid
  5. Steam for about 15 minutes
  6. Num Kom is ready

 

IMG_2538

Sounds so similar, feels so familiar – yet so different! This holds good to the cuisine connections of Cambodia and South India! Shall explore more…

IMG_2546

 

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

IMG_2230
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)

Ingredients

  • 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

 

IMG_2175

 

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.

 

IMG_2233

 

Notes:
  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.

 

IMG_2218

Pidi Kozhukkattai -Karam/Salted Rice Dumplings-Spicy

 

IMG_2209

Kozhukkattai is a steamed rice dumpling made sweet or salt. We had already seen the stuffed version of Kozhukkattai before – (https://dosaikal.com/2011/09/14/modhakam-pillayar-chaturthi-special). 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 (https://dosaikal.com/category/chutneys).

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

IMG_1985

 

rice – powdered

IMG_2210

 

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

 

IMG_2201


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

IMG_2222

 

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

IMG_2229

Note:

  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.

 

IMG_2207