So before you attempt to erroneously say "kozee- catta", I will supply you with a solid, but not direct English translation. For you see, there is no real translation to kozhukatta, which literally means "plump block". Not too attractive sounding, right? The elements that make this dish are anything but that horrendous definition. So nix it and know that a kozhukatta is a steamed dumpling with a sweet core.
In essence, dumplings made of rice flour, set with a soft, moist coconut filling nestled into it's center.
As part of my ever growing to do list, I had always and very desperately wanted to make kozhukattas. Dissuaded from even attempting, I felt it would end up on my record of kitchen disasters, and believe me, there are many. So, I had in me the fear of trying the unknown.
Today, I charted that unknown territory. After taking out a tattered, very old, page- missing cookbook, where the author did everything from scratch, I found my kozhukatta recipe. Out of the 10 or so existing pages from my culinary print source, there it was, waiting for me to find it.
There are all but 4 ingredients to the dumpling recipe and each element counts for a lot. The two main components of rice flour and water is what the dough turn out relies heavily on. Too much water leads to super sticky dumplings, that end up looking like loose jackets over the filling. Too much flour has you with a compacted dough bearing zero moistness. It really depends upon how much and how fast you add and stir in the flour to your moisture.
By now, you know I love coconuts. There is no help for me in this. I admit it, rightly nodding to my South Indian heritage. The coconut for the filling is grated, which if you have a grater and availability to fresh coconuts, good for you and those arm muscles. For the rest of us, there is the shredded, unsweetened alternate you purchase frozen or dried at many specialty stores. It's the easier, lazy man's standby, almost as tasty as it's fresh cousin.
What I fancy most about these plumped rice spheroids is that that they are a pretty healthful choice for a hunger induced nibble. The sweetened coconut, enhanced with cardamom, plays off the rice flavored overlay so deliciously well, I guarantee your first thought on tasting one, would perhaps be, "oh, delectable goodness, where were you all my life?" .
These are exactly the kind of specialty delights you'd serve to guests or bring along as hostess gifts. Singularly reckoned as the unsurpassed queen (or king) of the Kerala kozhukatta you'd be, and that's a totally good thing, yes, it is.
Recipe adapted from Mrs. B. F. Varghese' recipes
- On high heat in a deep sided saucepan, bring water to a boil.
- Add oil and salt.
- Reduce flame to medium-low, add flour by half cupfuls stirring vigorously, all the while. Add enough flour until mixture pulls into a translucent dough, not too sticky, kind of elastic consistency.You may not need all the flour, so judge accordingly.
- Remove from heat. Let cool completely.
- In the meantime make the filling (below).
- Take off pieces from the dough. Form flattened circles from the dough using lightly oiled hands, about 2" in diameter.
- Place about a teaspoon of the filling in the center of the circle.
- Bring all sides of dough together over filling, pinching together the the opening over the top of filling. Roll the dumpling into a ball carefully so as not to break the cover. Cover and pinch dough over any exposed filling.
- On medium heat, and using a *steaming apparatus of your choice bring water a fourth of a ways up steamer pot, to a simmer. Spray the steamer's surface with a non-stick vegetable spray to prevent sticking. Place as many dumplings as will fit onto surface, without touching each other. Cover and steam for 8-10 minutes over medium heat, light simmer. Remove the dumplings. Repeat until all are are cooked.
- 1 cup grated fresh coconut or unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup sugar or 1/2 cup grated jaggery
- 1 cardamom pod, powdered or crushed
The coconut/ jaggery combination has been used in aval vilayichathu and is similar to the brown sugar filling in my nazook DB challenge recipe.
|We love jaggery with these dumplings, not cloyingly sugary, but it lends just the right amount of sweetness.|
* Update* I am sending this to my friend Julie, who blogs at Erivum Puliyum. A most fantastic spot is what Julie has over there at EP, where she cooks up many an ingenious and creative recipe, Indian and otherwise. She is hosting a series for Kerala Kitchen, a virtual cooking club, comprising a superabundance of shared deliciousness- recipes, all influenced by the flavors of God's own country, Kerala. So, here goes my entry- The Kerala Kitchen- June 2012 . Thanks Julie!******
No need to fear~
"Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,”they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Matthew 14: 25-27 (NIV)