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Thursday, September 20, 2012

KOZHAKATTAI / UKDICHE MODAK / COCONUT & JAGGERY FILLED RICE DUMPLINGS


KOZHAKATTAI / UKDICHE MODAK / COCONUT & JAGGERY FILLED RICE DUMPLINGS
GANPATI BAPPA MORYA!!!!!
Yesterday marked the beginning of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, this festival marks the celebration of the birthday of Lord Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, who is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees in the duration of this festival. It is the day Shiva declared his son Ganesha as superior to all the gods, barring Vishnu, Lakshmi, Shiva and Parvati. Ganesha is widely worshipped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at the start of travel.
The festival, also known as Ganeshotsav ("festival of Ganesha") is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). The date usually falls between 19 August and 20 September. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi (fourteenth day of the waxing moon period). The total number of days change according to the waqxing moon and the Hindu calendar. This festival is celebrated  with great pomp all over India, it is most elaborate in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa and Chhattisgarh. Outside India, it is celebrated widely in Nepal and by Hindus in the United States, Canada, Mauritius,[3] Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma and Fiji. (Info courtesy-Wikipedia)
One thing that is always made in my kitchen for my darling elephant God Ganesha is the Tenga Poornam Kozhakattai / modakams.
Modak has a special importance in the worship of the Hindu god Ganesh; modak is believed to be his favorite food, which begets him the moniker “modakapriya” (the one who likes modak) in Sanskrit.
During the Ganesh worship ceremony, known in India as Ganesh Chaturthi the puja always concludes with an offering of modakas to the deity and as prasad.
I make this in the South Indian style as well as the Maharashtrian style as I was born in Maharashtra where the same dish is known as Ukdiche Modak.
In Maharashtra
The sweet filling inside a modak is made up of fresh grated coconut and jaggery, while the outer cover is made from rice flour, or wheat flour mixed with khava(khoya) or maida flour. The dumpling can be fried or steamed. The steamed version is called ukdiche modak.
In South -India
The sweet filling inside a modak is made up of fresh grated coconut and jaggery, while the outer cover is made from rice flour and steam cooked.
I never found the steam cooked kozhakattais in any restaurant in Mumbai, India but was surprised to find this at the Ananda bhavan restaurant here in Singapore. But nothing can beat the home cooked ones especially when they are just out of the steamer/cooker. It’s best to eat this when it’s steaming hot. 
Ingredients
White rice – ¾ cup
Grated Coconut - 1 cup
Jaggery - 3/4 cup
Elaichi (Cardamom) – 2-3
Ghee – ½ tbsp
Coconut Oil - 3 tbsp
Method
To make the coconut jaggery filling (Tengai Poornam)
In a wok, add the ghee and the crushed cardamom minus the skin of the cardamom. Allow this to fry, then add in the jaggery and let it melt on a low flame. Once the jiggery starts to froth, add in the coconut, mix well and keep stirring over a low flame until the mix becomes one, there’s no water and the mix starts to leave the sides of the pan. This is fast to cook in a non-stick wok. Once done, keep aside and let it cool. Make small balls and keep aside.
Make the cover
Soak the rice in water for about 2-3 hours. Rinse well. Drain the water from the rice and grind it in a mixie (blender) by adding some water until it becomes a smooth batter. Add about 1 ½ tbsp of oil and a pinch of salt. Now, in a nonstick pan, Add in the batter and on a low flame cook it until the water starts to evaporate and the batter starts to thicken a bit like chappati dough but slightly more pliable than  that. Immediately put off the flame and allow it to cool. Knead the dough well. Add some oil and knead well.
How to make the kozhakattai
Grease your hands with some coconut oil. Take a small piece of the dough, roll it like a ball and then flatten it on your palm and shape it like a bowl. Gently press and shape the dough to make it bigger and ensure that it doesn’t have cracks. My grandmother always used to say that the best kozhakattai is when the cover is thin and not too thick and also there shouldn’t be cracks. Now place the Tengai Poornam or coconut jaggery filling that you rolled into balls and place it in the centre of your bowl shaped dough and close it, pulling some of the dough up into the shape of a monumental tower on the tip. Make a few and keep aside.
Steaming the kozhakattais
You can use an idli stand, a dhokla stand, a stainless steel or bamboo steamer or any plate, just grease the plate, line up the kozhakattais and cover with a lid and let it cook on steam for abour 5-10 minutes. Check the kozhakattais, when you find that they are a bit shiny and translucent, and not sticky when you touch them, they are ready. Sprinkle one tablespoon of water on them. And serve them on a plate for the lord, this is called as “Neivedyam”. Once that’s done, you can dunk into this steam cooked sweet delight. Always eat these hot. There are some things in life which can be got only at home and not in a restaurant or shop. This is one of them.

Tips
-Use coconut oil for best results.
-Use fresh grated coconut instead of the frozen or dessicated ones
-Grind the rice flour in a stone grinder instead of a mixie.
-You can use readymade rice flour instead of soaking and grinding the rice. But ensure that you use fine rice flour.
- If, at any time, the dough begins to be difficult to work with, add some water to the dough and knead the dough again. If the batter begins to stick to your fingers, dip your fingers into the oil.

4 comments:

Veena Theagarajan said...

looks so tempting and yummy Modak
great-secret-of-life.blogspot.com

divya said...

Looks so flavorful and delicious!!

Sheetal Mali said...

Modak looks yummy....

suhaina aji said...

this looks yumm and love that beautiful clicks.

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