Thursday, September 20

Kozhukattai/Modak

Today is the first Vinayagachathurthi that we got to celebrate in the new home. Though we don't have a strict tradition brought down by either families we just thought of making it in a free-style way. I just tried few Kozhukattais,Sundal and made a simple pooja to call it a day.


However, preparing KK (Kozhukattai's) was a very new experience for me filled with venturous feeling, excitement, nervousness a bit (you would know why when you do it alone the first time), lot tired due to fasting, angry on myself because i took a overload and very amusing to play with those small shapes like we used to feel messing with those clumps of clay when young.

I tried some 4 types of KK. Pidi KK being the easiest and personally i felt the tastiest as well and seems like lord Ganesh too is reportedly fond of this ;)

Recipe for Pidi Kozhukattai:

Ingredients:
Rice flour - 1 cup
Jaggery - 1 cup (depending on your taste and the sweetness of jaggery can add more or less)
Water - 2 cups
Coconut - 1 tbsp finely chopped
White sesame seeds - 1 tsp dry roasted
Cardamom powder - 1 pinch
Salt - half a pinch (Optional)
Ghee - 2 tbsp

Method:
Step1: Mix jaggery in the 2 cups of water and bring it to heat until jagerry disolves completely. Filter to get rid of debris any and then bring to boil again with salt if you are adding and 1 tbsp of ghee
Step 2: Add the rice flour slowly to boiling jaggery water and stir rapidly to avoid lumps. 
Step3: Add other ingredients and stir until it rolls up in a roti dough consistency
Step 4: Let it cool a bit and then roll them into desired shapes. However, Pidi KK as its name suggests is typically made by pressing inside a palm in oblong shape with finger impressions.
Step 5: Steam these KKs for 5-10 min and relish them.


Other than this pidi KK, KKs I know are prepared in three phases: the outer cover, puran or the stuffing and the art of stuffing & shaping to steam them finally. For each of these three phases, there are varieties of methods and styles that people follow and I have shared those that I followed.

Recipe for Kozhukattai Outer Cover:


Ingredients:

1. Raw rice - 2 cups
2. Oil - 4 tbsp
3. Salt - 1tsp
4. Water - 5 cups


Method:

Step 1: Wash and Soak the rice, say for some 3 hours
Step 2: Drain the water thoroughly; measure 5 cups water in a jug and use only that from now on for the recipe
Step 3: In a mixer grind the rice to very smooth paste using some of the water from jug and make it to pour-able consistency
Step 4: Bring the remaining water in the jug to boil with salt and a couple of spoons of oil in it
Step 5: In the boiling water add the batter and stir continuously to avoid lumps.
Step 6: Add rest of the oil and stir till dough like consistency is obtained. This dough can be used to make covers for the puran KKs.
Step 7: Now roll small balls of these by greasing your palms with oil and place it in between plastic sheets and roll with rolling pin or press with a plate on it to get round thin sheets.
Step 8: Place the puran portion (couple of recipes discussed below) in middle of this sheet and mould into desired shapes. Garlic pod shape, spherical shape, D- shape and oblong shapes are very commonly adapted shapes for KK. You get molds of different shapes called 'Choppu' in the market, though hand moulding is an interesting art people prefer.

I had prepared one sweet puran with coconut and one savory puran with urad dal which I've discussed here.

Recipe for Coconut Puran:

Ingredients:

1. Coconut - 1 cup grated
2. Jaggery - 1 cup grated
3. Cardamom Powder -1tsp
4. Rice flour - 1-2 tbsp (If required)
5. Ghee - 1 tbsp

Method:
Step 1: Grate the jaggery and heat it in a pan with few drops of water until it completely dissolves and comes to boil
Step 2: Stir in the grated coconut and cardamom powder
Step 3: See if it thicken doesn't seem to thicken in next 5 minutes, sprinkle some rice flour over it and stir until it becomes a loose solid.
Step 4: Turn off the gas and let it cool a bit
Step 5: When it is warm, grease your palms and roll small portion of it into gooseberry sized puran balls.
Step 6: I made tower shaped KKs with cocconut puran


I tried the savoury type KK with Urad dal; this is not very spicy, but is salty and flavorsome. They are good to munch in between your very sweet versions of KKs with some balancing act of healthy steamed dal as well. It can be relished as a snack off the festival as well.

Recipe for Urad dal puran:

Ingredients:
Urad dal - 1/2 cup
Green chillies - 2
Salt - 1 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Mint leaves - To garnish

Method:
Step 1: Wash and soak urad dal for 1 hour
Step 2: Drain the water completely and pulse in a mixer jar along with chopped chilies and salt until you get a course and moist powder.
Step 3: Roll them into balls and steam them for 5-10 minutes
Step 4: Once cooled, crush the balls to get a course powder (Like that of paneer bhurji or idli upma)
Step 5: Heat oil in a pan, splutter mustard seeds, sprinkle asafoetida, throw in curry leaves and finally add urad bhurji and toss a bit. 
Step 6: Turn off the stove; when it is a little warm, roll into small puran balls (in case it is dry it could crumble and not form balls; it is still ok to use the mix for puran as they still taste the same)
Step 7: I made spherical savory KK's this time.



And this one is an interesting version of KK called mani KK/ pearl KK/ ammini KK and so on. This is prepared by rolling the white dough into tiny balls, steaming them and then tossing them with the crushed savory puran; you can add a pinch of pepper powder to enhance the spice level. Again, these tiny balls can be spiced in varities of ways like we season pasta.

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