August 29, 2014

Sweet Coconut Kozhukattai/Modak

How to make Sweet Coconut Kozhukattai

         I have been wanting to do a post on Ganesh Chathurthi, (also known as Vinayaga Sadhurthi) for so long now - but for some strange reason, i keep missing it every year. I'm glad, I've no regrets at least this year. The Modak/Kozhukattai is supposedly lord Ganesha's most favorite treat. Once you know how to make the outer covering, your filling options are unlimited, with numerous sweet or savory fillings. 

        What I like about Ganesha, is that he's really not particular about how good, his treats are shaped; or for that matter, how his shape & form is either. He's loved, worshiped & displayed in over a 100 ways as figurines, paintings and statues. Ganesha is associated with auspicious beginnings, remover of obstacles &  to bring good fortune.

         Psst!! If you would like to take a sneak peek at our first attempt (with the help of our local temple) at making a clay Ganesha idol, scroll down all the way, to see our humble creation. I must confess, at first I thought my Ganesh looked pretty good for a first timer - in the end; i was all in love with my son's infant  Ganesh, wrapped in a blanket with the cutest li'l trunk. His original idea, won many hearts.(Your comments are welcome, as always)

Vella Kozhukattai

Ingredients for the filling:

Fresh grated coconut (use only the white portion) - 1 Cup
Crumbled Jaggery - 1 Cup
Cardamom/Elachi powder - 1 tsp
1Tbsp of water
Roasted gram/Pottu Kadalai - 1/4 Cup - to powder fine

Stove top method:

  • If preferred - Run the grated coconut in a dry mixer to get a softer consistency.
  • To the powdered jaggery, add about 1 Tbsp of water in a pan & heat until the jaggery has dissolved. 
  • Filter any impurities & place the syrup/pan back on the stove. Wait just, until the the mixture begins to boil & thickens a little and becomes aromatic.
  • Add the grated coconut, Cardamom powder & stir over low heat.
  • Cook until most of the water is absorbed & the filling becomes sticky & gooey. DO NOT let it become too thick or else, what you will be left with is - Kammarkattu (a hard & sweet coconut candy) !! If that, does happen, just roll them into balls & relish anyway :)
  • If you are using roasted gram dal powder, add it now & stir in.
  • Remove from heat & let it cool down.

Ingredients for the outer covering:

Rice flour - 1 Cup
Water - 1.5 Cups
Salt - a pinch
Sesame oil - 2 Tbsp + more as needed
a clean white cloth - optional

Stove top method:

  • Heat the water in a heavy bottom kadai/wok with salt & oil.
  • When it starts to boil, reduce the flame & add the rice flour & stir swiftly to blend in with the water. Insert a wooden ladle into the flour & cover the wok, leaving a small gap on one side (to allow some steam to escape).
  • Cook & cook over the lowest heat possible for 2 to 3 mins.
  • Now, turn off the heat & give the dough a quick stir until it forms into a lump-less ball.
  • Wet the cloth, squeeze out extra water, spread it on a clean plate - transfer the dough onto the wet cloth - wrap the cloth around the dough, knead it & keep covered in a wet cloth until ready to use.
  • Once it's cool to the touch. Use a little more oil, if the dough is dry & knead into a smooth dough.
  • Apply some oil to your hands & make small lime sized balls from the rice dough.
  • VERY CAREFULLY - Using your thumb & fore finger, flatten the edges & gradually shape it into a cup by turning & pressing by applying equal pressure on all sides. Or if you have a mold (as shown in the pictures) - you can use them to get uniform sized Kozhukattai's.

  • Using a spoon, keep a small amount of the sweet coconut filling in the center of the cup & bring all the sides of the dough upwards, gently close the Kozhukattai & seal it at the top.
  • If you find this method, too hard - you can also shape it like a sweet  Somasi/Karjikai, or any other shape you can think of, which works out excellent for beginners & children to try out.
  • Once you have a few Kozhukattai's ready, place them on a greased plate & steam it for about 15-20 minutes on medium high heat & devour warm or at room temperature.

Sweet Modak


  • While preparing the sweet filling - take utmost care towards the end, so your filling will not turn into a hard ball.
  • If your filling is watery & you are short on time, you can add the roasted gram powder to thicken it quickly.
  • After you shape a few Kozhukattai's, steam them immediately; so the outer covering will not dry out.
  • While steaming - when the Kozhukattai's outer covering does not stick to your fingers & you do not get the raw smell of the rice flour - your Kozhukattai's are done.

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