As my third post for this year’s Ganesh Chathurdhi/Vinayaka Chavithi/Pillayar Chathurdhi, I am posting the popular Paal Kozhukattai recipe, a Chettinad delicacy from Tamilnadu. There are number of ways to make this beautiful sweet and although this is not the most authentic recipe, this is a very simple and easy recipe. Kozhukattai is a popular South Indian sweet, looks like a dumpling but made with rice flour and is usually filled with a sweet stuffing. The stuffing can be of different types – coconut-jaggery, sesame seeds-jaggery, chana dal-coconut-sugar or other spicy stuffing too. The dumplings are steam cooked and are in such a consistency that they melt in your mouth. Kozhukattais are the absolute favorite for Lord Ganesha and are a must for the Vinayaka Chavithi/Ganesh Chathurdhi.
Paal Kozhukattai, means the Kozhukattai that has been cooked in Paal/Milk. Instead of stuffing the kozhukattai, we make it as small balls and cook them in milk-coconut milk concoction. Not only that its simple to make, its super tasty. Once the rice flour is in the right consistency, the dough preparation becomes very easy. As with many of my other recipes using rice flour, the rice flour used for making kozhukattai has to be specially prepared. The raw rice is washed and dried in a cool place until dry. Usually the rice is made into fine powder in a rice flour mill. These days, since locating a mill is so difficult, it can be made in a mixer-grinder too. The flour is then sieved to get the finest powder and it’s ready to use. Sesame oil is used in making the Kozhukattai and that gives it a wonderful flavour. This Paal kozhukattai in particular is special as it is cooked in milk-coconut milk mixture and when its perfectly cooked, the little balls are spongy and the milk, sweet!
To make Paal Kozhukattai
What I used –
- Rice Flour, 1/2 cup
- Water, 1/2 cup + 1/3 cup
- Toned Milk, 1/3 cup
- Thick Coconut Milk, 1/2 cup (see notes)
- Salt, a pinch
- Sugar, 4 tbsp
- Sesame Oil, few drops
- Green Cardamom, 1 -2
- Saffron Strands, a few (optional)
How I made –
- In a pot, bring ½ cup of water to a rolling boil. Add a pinch of salt and couple of drops of sesame oil. Remove from heat.
- Add the rice flour to the boiled water and mix quickly. The water would be completely absorbed by the rice flour and when your hands can hold the heat, roll it into a ball. If required, add a few drops of sesame oil. Set aside.
- Make small equal sized balls out of the prepared dough. Rub your palms with few drops of sesame oil if the dough is sticky.
- In a pot, bring 1/3rd cup of milk and 1/3rd cup of water to a boil. Add crushed green cardamom and sugar. Mix well. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the flame and add the prepared balls.
- Keep cooking the balls in the milk on low flame until they start floating on top. It can take anywhere between 5-7mins. When a ball is taken out and pressed between your fingers, it should be spongy and not crumble.
- Add the thick coconut milk and stir well. Heat it only for 1-2mins and do not let it boil. Remove from heat.
- Offer as Neivedhyam for Vinayaka Chathurdhi. Serve hot with saffron strands on top or serve cold. Tastes great either way.
- The rice flour can be prepared before-hand and stored in an air tight container.
- I use equal proportions of water and rice flour – usually it gives me the right consistency of the dough. The dough should not be too hard or tight but neither should be too runny. Only then the balls can be easily rolled out.
- Coconut milk can be store bought but one can also make it at home. I make my coconut milk and this is how I do it – take a cup of grated/chopped coconut and add a cup of water and blend it until smooth in a mixer. Strain the coconut milk – this is the first milk or the thick milk. You can repeat this process to get second and third milk which are thin but not needed for this recipe. After the first milk, preserve the blended coconut which can be used in other recipes.
- Ensure that the balls have no cracks while rolling. They can break or crumble when cooking in the milk mixture.
- Adjust the quantity of sugar as per liking.
- The balls would start floating on top of the milk when they are cooked.
- Do not boil the milk after adding the coconut milk, it can curdle quite quickly.