Those foods that you make for special events every year, like this Kozhukatta recipe, are my favorite. That is to say, because every year you grow with the process. Maybe in your first year of making kozhukatta, the dough will be dry or the filling will be too watery or the balls crack while steaming. Over the years, if you keep up with the tradition, you learn little tricks and tips to make these recipes better and perhaps even more of your own. That’s 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, fresh off the steamer. As we get older, however, the hands that make us our favorite things and help us create some of the most delicious memories won’t always be there. It’s my hardest reality to accept, but it’s the fuel that keeps me yearning to keep these old recipes alive somehow. My mom said it best, “Cooking these old recipes is like a family get together.”
My favorite thing about making Kozhukatta is the filling. It’s a glorious combination of melted jaggery, freshly (or frozen) grated coconut, and a few spices. The common spices used are green cardamom and ground cumin. However, I personally like the addition of ground ginger. Additionally, I think ceylon cinnamom and ground cloves would also be lovely inside the kozhukatta.
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, or my Kerala-Style Mutta (Egg) 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!
- Jaggery/Brown Sugar, 3/4 cup + 1/8 cup water
- Grated Coconut, 1 1/2 cup
- Green Cardamom, 8-10 pods, ground
- Cumin, 1/2 tsp ground
- *Ginger Powder, 1/2 tsp
- Rice Flour, 1 1/4 cup (lightly roasted)
- Coconut Milk, 1/2 cup
- Water, 1/4 cup
- Salt, 1/4 tsp
- Coconut Oil, 1 tsp
Make the filling
1. Start by making the filling. In a sauce pot on medium high heat, add the jaggery and water. Once this melts and comes to a light boil, add in the grated coconut and remaining spices. Continue to mix this on medium high heat until the moisture completely evaporates. Set aside.
Make the dough
2. Now to make the dough. Start by adding the rice flour to a skillet on low heat. Lightly roast the rice flour to remove some of the starchiness and rawness. About 1-2 minutes will do. Remove from heat and add to a mixing bowl.
3. Boil the coconut milk, water, and salt just enough so it's hot. Little by little, pour this into the rice flour and use a (wooden) mixing spoon to start forming the dough. Once the dough starts coming together add the coconut oil and continue mixing so the dough comes together. The dough should hold its shape and be soft to the touch, not sticky.
Make the balls
4. Now separate the dough into about 10 chunks the size of golf balls. Roll these into smooth balls. Use both thumbs to press into the center of the ball. Gently start using your thumb along with your index and middle finger like "pinchers" and rotate and flatten out the dough to form a thin bowl. Be careful to not roll the dough out too thin or else it will crack.
5. Fill the dough bowl with about a tbsp of the coconut filling. Squeeze your fingers forward to fold the bowl, then pinch the opposites sides of the bowl to start closing the seal and forming a ball.
Steam and eat
6. Lightly roll the balls into coconut milk and then steam them in a steel basket steamer. You can skip this step and go straight to steaming these for about 10-12 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. That's it!
*Ginger powder in the coconut mixture is not as traditional. I personally like the warming spices and think ginger, cinnamon, or even crushed cloves could be great additions to the usual green cardamom and cumin.
*Kozhukatta paal is a thing where you can add these steamed dumplings into a bowl of spiced/sweetened coconut milk.