Of the numerous festivals celebrated in Tamil Nadu, Ganesh Chathurti is one such religious festival that is celebrated for ten days by the Hindus to honor the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha. He is known by 108 different names and is the Lord of arts and science and the giver of wisdom. Before beginning any ritual or ceremony, he is honored first by the Hindus as he is considered as the Lord of beginnings.
In Tamil Nadu, the kozhukattai snack is a must-offer dish to Ganapathy; the best part of this dish is that it can be made either sweet or savory. With many people being afflicted by diabetes these days, let’s engage on the spicy version of this dish instead!
The kozhukattai or Modak is basically an Indian rice dumpling and even though the sweet version made with jaggery and coconut is more popular as Ganesha is believed to have a sweet tooth, the savory version is equally delicious. And you don’t have to wait for the festival to make this dish either as it’s an ideal filling evening snack.
Kara means spicy, pidi means ‘to hold’ while kozhukattai refers to dumplings. It can be made with idiyappam flour, home-made or commercial rice flour. Here is a look at how this snack is made:
Rice flour – 1 cup
Water – 1 cup
Salt - To taste
Oil – 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Chana dal – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Oil – 2 tbsp
Green chilly – 2-3, finely chopped
Coconut – 3-4 tbsp, grated
Asfoetida powder – 1 pinch
In a deep, heavy kadai, heat oil before adding all the seeds for tempering. Next add the chopped chilly, curry leaves, grated coconut and asfoetida powder; fry for a minute or two before adding water and salt and allowing it to boil. Lower the fire while adding the rice powder a little at a time, and mixing vigorously to prevent clumping; since some rice powders absorb more water than others, keep some hot water on standby while cooking the rice powder. When it starts to leave the sides of the pot and form balls, switch off the fire. Cover it and keep aside to cool a little.
Using a little oil rubbed onto your palm, shape the dough into small balls in the center of your palms. Remember to leave the traditional finger imprints as you press the oval ball in between your palm and fingers.
When you have finished making a batch, steam it in a lightly greased idli mold for 5-7 minutes.
Your prasadam is ready and can be enjoyed with coconut or any other kara chutney!