Saturday, August 30, 2008

Traditional Pidi Kozukattai and a Masala Variation - Rice and Lentil Dumpling

PIDI KOZUKATTAI - Rice and Lentil Dumpling

The monotonous groaning of the stone grinder was enough to announce that we were going to be served with either rice uppuma or pidi kozukattai for the evening tea. The aroma of the rice and lentil being ‘broken’ would never fail to kindle a craving, even as we hurriedly got ready to return to school after a full meal. As we went out to the back yard to wash our hands, we would see Lingamma sitting with one leg outstretched, and turning the iron handle of the stone grinder. Her body - waist upwards- seemed to rotate along with the circular grinder as she went forward and backward, while feeding the ‘machine’ with rice and lentil with the other hand. This dance continued till she finished with all the rice which fell out from between the two circular stones, crushed or broken to the required texture. We always took a pinch of the flour and threw it into our mouths and rushed out, never waiting to listen to Lingamma’s whining for having moistened the flour.

PIDI KOZUKATTAI is yet another steamed rice & lentil dish that is filling as well as easy on the digestive system. It is very good for children as it is double cooked. ‘Pidi’ means ‘hold’ or 'fistful' in Tamil. The dumplings are made taking a fistful of mixture in the palm of one hand and ‘holding’ or pressing it lightly with the fingers.
This dish was prepared often, especially when Machakottai or Avarekalu ( field beans) were in season. The addition of “kalu” or field beans to any recipe lends a distinct aroma to the dish which is adored by one and all.
Rice – 2 cups
Mung Dal (split green gram dal) – ¼ cup
Cumin seeds - 1 tbsp
Salt – 2 tsps
Red chillies – 4
Asafoetida – 1 pinch
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Curry leaves – a few
Oil - 1 ½ tbsp
1. Dry grind rice, mung dal and cumin seeds to the texture of semolina.
2. Wash the broken rice and dal mixture lightly, drain and set aside.
3. Heat oil in a pan and add asafoetida and mustard seeds.
4. When the mustard splutters add the broken red chillies and the curry leaves.
5. When the chillies become crisp, add 4 cups of water, and the salt, and bring to a boil.
6. When the water in the pan is boiling, add the rice and lentil mixture and stir continuously until it forms into a thick uniform mass. Now switch off the flame.
7. While the mixture is still warm, dip your hand in ice cold water and take a fistful (pidi) of the hot cooked mass and quickly press it into an oval ball or kozukattai.

Note: You need to do this quickly, so that you do not burn your hands! If the mixture becomes cold, it is difficult to mould the mixture, and the kozukattais will break.

8. In the same manner, shape all the mass into several kozukattais.

9. Steam the kozukattais in a pressure cooker without weight, for 10 – 15 minutes.
Serve hot kozukattais topped with a dollop of ghee, along with any gojju or chutney.

My grandchildren love the kozukattais made with Basmati rice.
To make masala kozukattais, the same procedure as above is followed, after substituting the rice and seasoning. Use a good flavourful basmati rice instead of normal rice. Omit the asafoetida, red chillies, mustard and curry leaves. Instead use chopped green chillies and ginger shreds for the seasoning. Cumin seeds instead of mustard seeds will create a different flavour. One cardamom, one clove and a very small piece of cinnamon can be powdered (or a pinch of garam masala) and added while seasoning.
This kozukattai can be served with any North Indian masala sabji such as navaratna kurma, or paneer butter masala and so on, which are usually prepared with Palav or Rotis.

9 Post your Comments:

Anonymous said...

mouth watering. yummy. appa

S.R.Ramachandran said...

mouth watering dish

jayasree said...

Loved the masala twist to the traditional kozhukkatais. You have the picture of the woman grinding the rice very well. Reminded me of my paati doing the same.

notyet100 said...

the grinding thing reminded me of my grandmother,...nice post made me nostalgic,..and nice recipe too,..ceeya happy weekend,..

YOSEE said...

Paati-era grinder ! But to the present gen. looks like Mohenjo Daro atifact !!! Heee-Hee !....So nice and wholesome, these kozhukattais !

Dibs said...

Thanks appa, SRR.

Jayasree - Yes I personally like the masala twist better.

Notyet100, Yosee - ya grinding thing belongs to the pati-era. Intersting how we dont use these anymore ...but run to the gym instead! :-)

Roochi said...

Very nice recipe...recipe is mouth watering. I love the hand grinder. When i was a child i was fed ragi ganji, ragi flour ground in such one... I used to keep cribbing with amma that my colour turned darker than my sisy and bro eating lots of ragi :) memories... love it...

Roochi said...

my amma prepares this for one of the festivals. I did not know what the name was. i will try this out.

Anonymous said...

Ama - Super yummy!!!

A. Ram