Uppu Kozhukattai or Ulundu Kozhukattai
Uppu Kozhukattai means the savoury version of the sweet Kozhukattai i.e. Modak in Tamil. While the sweet modaks are filled with coconut and jaggery, the savoury version has a spicy lentil filling. I had mentioned about this South Indian Steamed snacks that are made for Ganesh Chaturthi in a blog post couple of months ago, when I made Dal Pitha which is a steamed delicacy in Bihar and Jharkhand. Visually they look the same but the filling differs. Bihar and Jharkhand use chana dal as the filling whereas South Indians use their favourite Urad dal with some variation. The process remains the same but the taste differs.
With Ganesh Chaturthi around the corner and me all geared up, this is the last post in the series which started with the Traditional Desserts followed by 3 varieties of Ammini Kozhukattai and now, another traditional favourite, the Uppu Kozhukattai or Ulundu (which means Urad Dal in Tamil) Kozhukattai. Once again this prasad variety is gluten free, vegan and is vegetarian, no onion and garlic too.
Growing up, all this was part of the Neivedyam or the offering to the deity after the pooja. The best part about the all the 3 varieites of Kozhukattai is the rice flour dough remains the same which can be made accordingly, which usually is the more tricky or difficult part. The fillings i.e. sweet, savoury can be done quickly and a day in advance too, if you have a large family to feed or have more guests at home.
This is always made a bit extra on Ganesh Chaturthi for my husband who is a huge lover of the Uppu Kozhukattai. Since the first day is usually full of sweets with guests coming over and of course, home made too, he ensures I have saved this enough for him to relish at night when all he craves is this with some Thenga (coconut) chutney on the side.
Have a look at the recipe below, detailed step by step pics, recipe notes and make this for Ganesh Chaturthi. If you do, please share your pics with me on any of my social media handles.
I will be taking a couple of days off this week and ensure I enjoy myself with family and friends, visit pandals, homes and stuff myself with good food. Ha ha.. I am sure you will do the same.
Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to all of you!
Recipe for Uppu Kozhukattai or Ulundu Kozhukattai
Ingredients for the Kozhukattai (Rice Flour Dough / Outer covering)
- 1 cup Raw Rice Flour
- 1 cup Water
- 1 tsp Sesame Oil
- Salt as per taste
- Heat 1 cup of water in a thick bottom kadhai or non-stick pan.
- Allow it to simmer, add salt and the 1 tsp oil.
- Now slowly add the rice flour and then work your spatula quickly to mix everything together.
- Ensure the heat is on low while adding the rice flour.
- Keep working the dough, you may see some lumps here and there so try and break them with the spatula and after 5 odd minutes of cooking the dough, switch off the flame.
- Cover the dough with a lid for 2 minutes and then start working on the same.
Ingredients for the Ulundu filling or the Urad Dal / Lentil filling
- 1 cup Urad Dal soaked for 3 hours
- Green chillies as per taste
- ½ tsp of Mustard seeds
- ½ tsp of sesame seeds
- 2 tsps oil
- Few sprigs of Curry leaves
- Salt as per taste
Method for the Ulundu or Urad Dal Filling
- Ensure the dal is soaked for 3 hours. Drain the water and grind it coarsely (without water) in a mixer grinder jar with green chillies.
- Add salt and steam this mixture in idli moulds for 15 minutes.
- Cool and then crumble them. Keep aside and prepare the tempering.
- Heat a kadhai / wok or non-stick pan, add oil, followed by mustard seeds.
- Once it crackles, add sesame seeds and curry leaves.
- Mix well and allow the mixture to cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally with a lid closed.
- Switch off the flame, allow the filling to cool and prepare for the rice flour covering.
How to make and shape the Ulundu Kozhukattai or Uppu Kozhukattai
- Ensure oil is handy at all times to dip your fingers while rolling the rice balls, flattening them and then filling the mixture and pressing them in the corners.
- Remove the warm dough from the kadhai on to a plate or thali, add a tsp of oil on top of the dough and then knead it thoroughly.
- Ensure the dough is warm. Never let the rice flour dough to completely cool off, else it will lead to cracks and it will fall apart while steaming.
Tip – you can opt for readymade moulds but I prefer doing this traditionally.
- Take small portion of the dough, make round balls, flatten it in your palm (dip fingers with oil at all times), then take the urad dal mixture and place it on one corner. Ensure you load a good amount of stuffing and slowly cover the same (cresent moon shape) with the rice mixture and seal the edges tightly.
- Repeat the process for the remaining rice dough and dal mixture.
How to steam the Ulundu Kozhukattai or Uppu Kozhukattai?
- Heat water in a steamer and then place the Kozhukattais on the greased thalis. Steam them for 15 minutes. Allow it to cool and slowly remove them from the thalis and place it on the serving dish / bowl.
- Since I don’t have a dedicated steamer at home, I steam them in idli plates in a cooker.
- Heat water in a cooker (no whistle required).
- Meanwhile, grease the idli plates and place the kozhukattais carefully. Don’t overcrowd them as it would lead to sticking and breaking post steaming.
- When water boils and you see steam from the cooker, place the idli plates on the stand and carefully place the idli stand inside the cooker.
- Shut the lid and allow it to steam on medium heat for 15 minutes.
- Allow them to completely cool before carefully lifting them and placing them on serving plates.
- Repeat the process of steaming with the rest of the kozhukattais too.
- Serve hot with coconut chutney if serving as tea time snacks.
Recipe Notes –
- Ensure you knead and work the dough when it is warm. As the rice flour dough cools, it tends to get hard, leading to breakage while filling and steaming.
- Please ensure you dip the fingertips in oil while rolling the dough balls, shaping them into gujiyas. Few tips of oil ensure the dough doesn’t dry and tear while shaping.
- If your kozhukattais are waiting to be steamed, dab few drops of oil and pat it to ensure they don’t dry out while steaming.
- When the rice flour is poured into the hot boiling water, ensure your spatula is handy and immediately start working the dough on low heat. If for some reason, you feel that you are unable to handle the dough and it is sticky, add a tblsp of oil and then work the dough. Don’t worry if you see a big lump of dough, just patiently mix well and keep stirring continuously. Splash some water if you see some dry dough in some areas, mix well again and then follow the steps for kneading.