Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kozhukattai Story

To follow up on my recipe for Kozhukattais, here is a story about kozhukattais on my Kathai Kathaiyam website.

Recipe: Upma Kozhukkattai

When I wrote the recipe for sweet kozhukkattais, I had promised that the recipe for other kozhukkattais would follow and somehow I have not been able to post all of them yet, though I did post ammini kozhukkattai sometime back. Among the varieties of kozhukkattias, Upma kozhukkattais are the ones made quite frequently as a breakfast item or an evening snack or as a substitute for dinner on the days when rice was not eaten. The snack gets its name Upma kozhukkattai as the kozhukkattais are made from an upma made of rice rava.
When we were children, there was no concept of a breakfast in many Iyer households, instead there was a brunch, followed by a tiffin in the afternoon. The midday, around 2.30 – 3.00pm, was the busiest time of the day, when the afternoon tiffin had to be prepared, followed by night dinner, children came back from school and the cows returned home. There are many stories describing the busy scene of this time. There are also many stories with Kozhukkattais as the theme. I have also written a story which depicts both the busy evening and the kozhukkattias.

During those days, Kozhukkattai was not a regular tiffin item at our house. We usually had idli, dosa or adai. My chithappa (paternal uncle) used to refer to kozhukkattai as Emden (M10) referring to the bomb used in the World War I.
My mother used to say that once when kozhukkattai was made, it turned out very hard and hence my chithappa named it as Emden. Those days, kozhukkattais were prepared by using ground boiled rice, which were very sticky and turned hard if it was not cooked in right quantity of water. These days, we use rava made of raw rice or the commercially available idli rava.

However, kozhukkattai was a favoured tiffin item in my husband’s house. My astute and blessed mother-in-law used to make the softest kozhukkattai and I have learnt the art from her. However I restrict myself in the quantity of tempering oil used. The secret of petal soft kozhukkattais lies in the quantity of oil and coconut used, my mother-in-law used to say. Her kozhukkattais and upma were very famous among my side of the family even. "Patti makes the best Upma," my brother used to say, referring to my mom-in-law.

The rava required for the recipe can be prepared at home or one can use the idli rava available commercially. To prepare the rava at home: Wash and drain raw rice and dry it by spreading on a clean cloth. Dry grind the rice coarsely in a mixer, to rava (sooji, semolina consistency). If one spoon of toor dal is added to every cup of raw rice while grinding, it adds to the taste. If you are making the kozhukkattai immediately, the rice need be spread on a towel only until the rice is just dry. However, if you plan to store the rava, dry it in sun, until the rice completely dry and crisp.

Here is the recipe:

Rice rava: 1 cup
Water: 2½ cups
Grated coconut: 2 tbsp.
Curry leaves: a few
Oil:1 tbsp.
Mustard:2 tsp
Urad dal: 2 tsp.
Chana dal: 2 tsp.
Red chillies: 2.
Hing powder: ½ tsp.
Coriander leaves: 1 tbsp (finely cut)
Salt to taste

The above are the usual ingredients for Upma kozhukkattai. For variety I always add either grated carrot or finely cut spinach while preparing the upma.


Use a thick bottomed pan. Heat the oil in the pan. When the oil is hot, add the hing powder, mustard, urad dal and chana dal. When the dals turn pink in color, add the broken red chillies and curry leaves and add the water and salt. When the water starts boiling add the grated coconut and finely cut coriander leaves (If you are using carrot or spinach, add these now). Add the rice rava and cook until all the water is absorbed. Remove from stove and keep closed for 10 minutes.

When the Upma is cool, mix it well and make small oblong kozhukkattais and steam them for 15-20 minutes. Absolutely delicious kozhukkattais are ready. Enjoy!

Kozhukkattais can be served with sambar, chutney or Podi. My favourite though, is kozhukkattai with rasam. My friend Lalitha says, kozhukkattais taste wonderful with Vattalkozhambu. Pick your choice and Enjoy.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Recipe: Shahi Mysorepak

I was in Bangalore for Diwali. We have not been celebrating Diwali in a big way since my father-in-law’s passing away on Diwali day 20 years ago. Instead we observe his Shradham on that day.
My brothers and their families come visiting with all the goodies towards evening and my mother-in-law used to say, “Appa passed away after a full and happy life in the midst of his family after celebrating Diwali, so we should bring in Diwali after the shradham.” With the kids moving away for studies and later on work, I never used to prepare many goodies. This time around, both our children were with us and with my brothers and their families, we had a nice time.
My creative and multi-faceted niece who is in her early teens had prepared a melt-in-the-mouth delicacy, which she had named Shahi Mysorepak. I want to share the recipe with my readers. Here is her recipe. She herself has posted it on her Facebook page.

1/3 cup mixed dry fruit powder
1/3 cup milk powder
1/3 cup Besan
1 ½ cups of Sugar
2 cups ghee
1 cup water

1. Mix the sugar and water and put on boil while stirring continuosly.
2. In a bowl mix the dry powders.
3. Take 1/3 cup ghee, melt it, and add it and mix so that no lumps are formed
4. Allow the sugar to melt so that when you take a drop of it between your two fingers it sticks in two strings
5. Add the mixture in at this stage and stir while adding so that no lumps are formed
6. While on boil, add the rest of the ghee, after melting, little by little and boil while continuosly stirring.
7. Continue to boil until it starts leaving the sides of the bowl. Take off the flame and cool in a large sided plate.
8. While it is cooling, cut it into squares and continue cooling. Can be had after 5-10 mins of cooling.

Makes around 60 pieces

Recipe: Balushahi

That was a long time off. Getting back to blogging after so long is like getting back to school or work after a long vacation. The mood just doesn’t set in. Many things happened during this period, mainly I was shuttling back and forth between Bangalore and Hyderabad.

For Diwali, I made Balushahi, the recipe for which I had blogged a long time ago when I was new to this. I had not published the pictures then. This time around, I managed some pictures, holding the camera with the right hand and managing the balushahi with my left.

Last time around, I had given the measurements in cups. For those who would be more comfortable with weights, I have the measurements in weights now. Here we go.
Maida : 500gms
Margarine or Vanaspati : 250 gms
Sugar : 500 gms
Thick curds: 2 tbsp.
Soda bi carbonate: a pinch
Rose essence : few drops(optional)
Oil for frying
Method is here.