The foods made for annual holidays, like this Kozhukatta recipe, are my favorite. It’s because every year I feel like I learn something new and grow with the process of making it. In my first year of making kozhukatta, I couldn’t get the dough right or the filling would be too watery or the dumpling crack open while steaming. In keeping up with the tradition, I learned little tricks and tips to make these recipes better and even started added my own flair to make it feel like more of my own. I find this to be the beauty of the process.
Making Kozhukatta on Palm Sunday is something I absolutely loved growing up. To be honest, it was mostly so I could eat them one after the other, as mom placed them on a plate fresh off the steamer. As I got older, I started to realize the hands that would usually make my favorite things would not always be there to create my delicious memories. It’s my hardest reality to accept, but it’s the fuel that keeps me yearning to make these old recipes. My mom said it best, “Cooking these old recipes is like a family get together.” So as long as I have this kozhukatta recipe, I will always feel like we are together.
My favorite thing about making Kozhukatta is the filling. It’s a glorious combination of melted jaggery, grated coconut, and a few spices. The common spices used are freshly ground green cardamom and cumin seeds. But, personally, I like the addition of ground ginger. Additionally, I think ceylon cinnamom and ground cloves would also be lovely inside!
Some tips when making this recipe:
- If you don’t have jaggery, dark brown sugar works well.
- For the grated coconut, I love using the frozen version by Daily Delight (usually at the Indian store)
- I recommend getting this silicone baking mat. It’s perfect for handling hot doughs for kozhukatta or iddiyappam making!
- If your dough feels dry or crumbly, just add a little more water or coconut milk. You want the texture to be soft and workable.
- Letting the dough rest for a few minutes helps the moisture fully absorb into the flour.
- Rubbing your hands with coconut oil adds a light flavor, but also makes it much easier to roll the dough balls.
- Be sure to completely seal the jaggery coconut filling in the dough to prevent leaking or breaking when steaming.
- I use this basket steamer. Instant Pot also has this video that explains how to steam within it! If you steam with an IP, I would try cutting my steam time in half to prevent over steaming.
Here are a few other recipes aside from Kozhukatta that I make during Easter that you may also enjoy!
- Kerala Vattayappam
- Kerala Appam/Palappam
- Kerala-Style Chicken Curry
- You can also find one of my Pesaha appam and paal recipes here.
As always, if you have any questions when making this recipe reach out to me @thefamiliarkitchen on instagram. I’d LOVE to see how it turns out for you and answer any questions you might have. Tag me if you make it!
How to make Kozhukatta
For the filling
- Jaggery or Dark Brown Sugar 3/4 cup
- Grated Coconut 1 1/2 cup
- Green Cardamom 10 pods, seeds only, ground
- Cumin Seeds 1/2 tsp ground
For the dough
- Rice Flour 1 1/4 cup
- Water 1 cup
- Coconut Milk 1/2 cup
- Salt 1/4 tsp
- Coconut Oil 1 tsp
Make the filling
- In a skillet on medium heat, add the jaggery and 2 tbsp of water.
- After about 1 minute, the jaggery will dissolve and start to bubble. At this point, add in the grated coconut, ground green cardamom seeds, and ground cumin.
- Continuously mix this on medium heat until most of the moisture evaporates and the jaggery sticks to the coconut. Set aside.
Make the dough
- Add the rice flour to a clean skillet on medium heat.
- Lightly toast the rice flour for about 1-2 minutes to remove some of the starch and raw flavor. (You will see a little steam rise from the rice flour which indicates it has been roasted long enough.)Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Now, in the same skillet, add the water, coconut milk, and salt and increase the heat to medium high. Allow this to come to a low boil.
- Little by little and with a mixing spatula ready in hand, pour in the toasted rice flour and mix to begin forming a dough. It will look crumbly at first, but will slowly start coming together as the liquids absorb into the flour. If it is still too crumbly, add more warm water.
- Once the dough starts coming together add the coconut oil and continue mixing until the dough is fully combined and soft to the touch. The dough should hold its shape when pressed.
Form the kozhukatta
- Now, transfer the dough to a silicone mat or clean counter surface and let rest for about a minute before knead the dough well for 2-3 minutes. We want to ensure the moisture and flour have fully absorbed together.
- Separate the dough into about 10 lime-sized balls.
- Rub your hands with coconut oil and roll the dough pieces into a round ball. Use your thumb to press into the center of the ball. Gently rotate and press the dough outward until you have formed a little bowl. Be careful to not press the dough too thin or else it will crack while steaming.
- Add about a tbsp of the jaggery coconut filling to the little dough bowls. With your hand cupping the dough bowl, squeeze your fingers forward to fold the bowl, then pinch the opposites sides of the bowl to start closing the seam and forming a round ball.Be sure there are no cracks or openings where you can see the jaggery filling or else it will break open as it expands while steaming.
Steam and enjoy!
- Optionally roll the kozhukatta in a little coconut milk then spray the inside of a basket steamer with cooking oil to prevent sticking. Steam on medium high heat for 12-15 minutes. You'll know the kozhukatta are done when the outer shell is slightly sticky and not as brightly white as it was before steaming. Enjoy!
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