September 12, 2013


Kozhukattai is the favorite prasadam of Lord Ganesha, the elephant faced God in Hindu mythology. Kozhukattai is usually prepared and offered during Ganesh Chathurthi (a festival celebrating the birth of Lord Ganesha). Kozhukattai is very similar to rice dumplings; steamed with two kinds of fillings, sweet & savory. Personally, I like sweet kozhukattai than the savory ones. Making kozhukattai needs a lot of prep work and hence, considered to be complex & time-consuming.

Lord Ganesha, fondly called as Pillaiyar is celebrated as the first God and is invoked at the start, be it a prayer, ritual (or) an occasion. So, for my mom, making kozhukattai is more than a yearly routine; has got lot of sentimental values attached. Be it my first trip to abroad for work (or) my bro's first trip away from home for his studies (or) her first trip ever away from homeland (or) before special occasions like my marriage, baby shower etc - can't even imagine them commencing without my mom making kozhukattai and offering it to Lord Ganesha. She also prepares it every chathurthi (4th day after full moon of every Tamil month) for neivedhyam (offerings) and follows it religiously. So, making kozhukattai is like a cake-walk for her and needless to say, her kozhukattai tastes out-of-the-world.

I have been helping my mom in making kozhukattai since I was young (about 10 yrs old). All my relatives used to be amazed at the way I make 'choppu' (outer layer of kozhukattai) at that young age with such an ease and I used to be beaming with pride!

Kozhukattai can also get tricky in the sense that the outer layer might fall apart during steaming if the consistency of the sweet filling / the outer dough is not right. But, with a great cook like my mom around, even a novice can nail it to perfection. My mom proves it time & time again with a precise recipe and valuable tips to watch out in the process. I wouldn't want to change a thing in her recipe as I have been always successful in satisfying my family by simply following her recipe to the tee!

Basic Info
Complexity - Difficult
Prep time - 1 hr (includes soaking time)
Cook time - 20-25 mins each to make outer dough, sweet pooranam & ulundu pooranam
                   30-45 mins for making & steaming both varieties of kozhukattai
Serves - 12 nos each

For outer dough
Rice - 1 cup (sona masoori)
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Coconut oil - 6-8 tsp

For vella pooranam
Coconut - 1/2 cup (grated, packed)
Jaggery - 1/3 cup (grated, packed)
Black sesame seeds - 1 tsp
Cardamom - 2 big pinches
Ghee - 2 tsp

For ulundu pooranam
Whole urad dal - 3/4 cup
Hing - 1/4 tsp
Green chilli - 1 small
Dry red chilli - 1 small
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Sesame oil - 3-4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp

Outer dough
Wash and soak rice in water for atleast an hour. Grind it into a smooth batter by adding water as required. The batter should have thick-buttermilk like consistency (கெட்டி மோர் பதம்).

Add salt and 2-3 tsp of coconut oil to the batter and mix well.

Transfer this batter onto stove in a small sauce-pan. On medium heat, stir the batter continuously so that it doesn't form any lumps. When the batter starts to boil, add 2-3 tsp more of coconut oil and keep stirring (கை விடாமல் கிளறவும்) until the batter thickens into dough-like consistency. 

- Remove from heat if the batter comes clean off the sides and rolls into a ball.
- If you stop stirring, the dough will have lumps and handling the dough while making kozhukattai becomes very difficult.

Transfer the dough into a container and keep covered for 20 mins. After it cools, grease your hands with coconut oil and knead the dough into a smooth round. Keep covered and set aside.

Vella Pooranam
Mix coconut, jaggery, sesame seeds. Transfer onto stove in a small saucepan and cook on medium heat. Remove from stove when the jaggery, coconut & sesame seeds becomes one thick mass and doesn't stick to the sides of the pan. Add cardamom powder, ghee and mix well. Set aside to cool.

- Use fresh coconut for maximum flavor.
- Use good quality jaggery for best results.
- The cooked pooranam will be sticky, but you should be able to roll it into a ball.

Ulundu Pooranam
Soak urad dal in water for 30-45 mins. Grind it into a thick & coarser batter along with red chilli, green chilli, hing & salt. Use as little water as possible.

Grease idli plates with little sesame oil, and steam the batter until urad dal is cooked through. When the cooked urad dal cools, crumble it up using your hands. Splutter mustard seeds in a tsp of sesame oil, add it to the ulundu pooranam and mix well. Set aside.

- Ground batter should have coarser texture & thicker consistency. This helps in easier handling of the pooranam after pressure-cooking and crumbles easily & beautifully into even texture.

Making Kozhukattai
Divide vella pooranam into 12 portions and roll them into balls. Grease your hands with little ghee, if required.

Divide ulundu pooranam into 12 portions and roll them into oblong shapes. Grease your hands with sesame oil, if required.

Divide outer dough into 12 small balls (for sweet kozhukattai) & 12 slightly bigger balls (for uppu kozhukattai). Grease both your hands with coconut oil and using both your hands, shape a ball of dough into a cup. Fill the dough-cup with a ball of sweet pooranam, and carefully bring all the sides together and close at the top. Repeat for rest of the pooranam.

Sameway, shape the bigger ball of dough into a bigger & deeper cup. Fill the cup with ulundu pooranam, shape it like a semi-circle and close it all the way from one end to the other. Repeat for rest of the pooranam.

Now, steam cook all the prepared kozhukattai in a idly cooker for about 6-8 mins until the outer layer changes color.

First, offer them to pillaiyar and distribute kozhukattai prasadam to your family.

Check back for a video demo on how to shape the outer layer and make sweet & ulundu kozhukattai.

Linking this to Gayathri's Cook Spot - Tribute to my mom - Special Event.