When my mom was here, helping me look after Narad, one of the things that I learnt quite a bit about were the cute little dittys that paati’s sing to the grandkids. Mostly used to entertain the kids, some of them were educational also. The one I have mentioned in the header is an educational one. The story for this goes like this –
A mother who had four kids made kozhakattai’s, 4 each, and placed them in a cheenchetti(wok kind of a vessel). The first child walks in and eats 5 instead of 4, closes the vessel and walks away. The second child eats 5 and walks away too. The third child, the most mischevious one, eats 6 and fearing the mother’s anger, puts a frog in the cheenchetti and runs away. Now the last child comes in, the youngest one. The child does not realise that the “kozhakattai” is a frog and tries to hold it in its hand. The frog jumps away from the child. The child then goes to it mom and says –
“Amma amma kozhakattai-kki kannum unndoe dee( amma does a modak have eyes?)
Amma amma kozhakattai-kki vaayum unndoe dee” (amma does a modak have mouth?)
and so on, covering all the body parts. Finally the child asks the mom
“Amma amma kozhakattai chaadum-oe di?” (amma, can a modak jump?)
and that is when the mother realises that the child has seen something else in the cheenchetti!
I have been making modak’s for Lord Ganesha for the past 5 years, and every single year they would have a life of their own. I would never be able to get the covering dough right or the poornam right. Even if everything seemed perfect, when I steamed then, the poornam would jump right out of the covering! It was almost like they would be possessed by a frog’s spirit 🙂 This rhyme was perfect everysingle time I made the modak’s. Even though I did not know the whole story, I did know the rhyme and I would sing it while making the kozhakattai’s.
So this year, “Project kozhakattai” was started well in advance, almost a month in advance. In aashad month, my mom offers kozhakattai’s on one of the Friday’s. I decided to try my hand at the jumpy kozhakattai and a very “jumpy” me made the poornam. Again, the kozhakattai was a mega flop.
For chaturthi I still wanted to go ahead and make it and asked a few sources how they went about making the elusive kozhakattai. Finally I settled on my mother’s recipe, because obviously, amma knows the best! Laksh, the recipe all for you 🙂
For the covering –
- 1 cup raw rice
- 1 tablespoon maida
- Pinch of salt.
Grind the raw rice either in mixie or grinder to a fine paste. My mom said the consistency should be that of the maavu we use for making kolam. Now since I had no clue what that consistency was, I maintained dosa batter consistency. Mix the maida into the batter and salt and leave it aside. This can be done the previous day also. On the day of making kozhakattai, pour the batter into a kadai(if non stick better, then you will not lose too much batter). Keep stirring till the batter leaves the sides of the pan and rolls up into a ball. At this stage remove from the fire. The next set of steps is optional , keep the ball of maavu in a wet towel and wrap the towel round the maavu. Let the maavu cool down. This helps breaks down any knots that might have formed in the maavu. I did not do this, instead while making the covering, I used to take little batter at a time, knead them nicely so that the knots break and used the matter to make the kinnam(covering).
Poornam for sweet
Coconut – 1/2 cup
Jaggery (no sodium one) – 3/4’s to 1 cup depending on the sweetness
Elachi powder a pinch.
Make a paagu of the jaggery(melt the jaggery and let it thicken). It should be a thick paagu, when you test with a little in a small bowl of water, the jaggery should automatically turn into a ball. Once the jaggery reaches this stage, put the coconut in it and keep stirring. Put the elaichi powder and a spoon of ghee and turn off the gas. Once the poornam cools down make balls of the poornam and keep it inside the white filling. Now the kozhakattai is ready to be steamed. Place it in the steamer of your choice and steam for about 10 minutes when the kozhakattais will get a glossy appearence. This indicates that the kozhakattais are done 🙂
Poornam for savory
urad dal – 1cup
Curry leaves – 1 twig
G.chillies – per taste, usually I add as a rule 2 for each cup of dal.
salt – per taste
hing, mustard seeds – for tadka.
Soak the urad dal in water for about 3 hours. Once the dal is soft, drain all the water out and grind it along with curry leaves and the green chillies. The batter should be coarse like adai dosa batter but not as watery as the adai dosa batter. Add the salt to the batter. In a kadai, do the tadka of hing and mustard and pour this ground batter into the kadai. Keep stirring till the urad gets cooked and leaves the sides of the pan. That’s it the poornam is done. For making the kozhakattai’s follow the same steps as the sweet modak.
There done, hopefully this recipe will help you also!
Ciao for now, Rad calling 🙂