One great homely sweet but called by so many names according to the regions from where they come, yet all agree that Ganesh Chaturthi is incomplete without this scrumptious traditional sweet, besides the ultimate modaks also called kozhakkatais in Tamilnadu, Mothagam in some other parts , again a simple but tasty steamed sweet dumpling made of coconut, jaggery and delicately infused with cardamom , all encased in a thin outer covering made of rice four.
For the outer cover
1 cup all purpose flour/maida
1/4 cup chiroti rava or fine rava/semolina/sooji, roasted.
1 1/2 tbsp hot melted ghee.
pinch of salt
warm milk to make the dough .
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup dry coconut powder.
pinch of cardamom powder
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
2 tsp poppy seeds/khus khus
2 tbsp of assorted nuts like cashews, almonds, pistachios and some raisins.
Prepare the dough for the outer cover by making little tight dough with the ingredients given above for the outer cover.
Use hot ghee to make the dough for good taste or hot oil if you wish to avoid ghee, use warm milk to bind the dough, cover and keep aside for around 15 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile the filling ingredients like coconut powder, sesame seeds , poppy seeds should be roasted seperately and powdered , roast the nuts too lightly and powder them coarsely, chop the raisins to small pieces. Mix all the filling ingredients well.
After 15 or 20 minutes take the dough, knead well for few minutes and it will be soft and pliable.
Pinch off small balls and make portions of the filling for each of the small poori.
Take one small ball, no need to dust the poori as it will not stick , make a small poori shape, not too thin or too thick. Place a small portion of the filling along one side, along one half of the poori like a semi circle. cover with the other half to make a semi circle to make both ends sealed well, use a fork to make the marks and it will seal the ends well or else the filling ingredients will spill into the hot oil during frying.
I prefer to use the fork to make the marks to seal the ends, some people use a small mix of maida and water to make a sealing paste and apply on the ends and seal, I find it messy and cumbersome, Fork works well, or else best is to get the karchikai moulds , to get perfect shapes. You just need to place the poori over the mould and then press the mould, excess portion of dough may be removed to get the perfect semi circle.Prepare few karchikais ready before frying.
Keep the oil to heat well, test by dropping a small bit of the dough to see whether it comes up sizzling well, then drop the prepared karchikais into the oil one by one slowly, keep the flame on a medium now, to prevent quick browning.
It has to cook well and also the outer cover has to become crispy, so flip them over both sides to get even browning, drain in a colander and store only when completely cooled.Stays good for a week .
These karchikais are so addictive being mildly sweet and the crisp flaky exterior gives a great crunch, you may not be able to store any as they get over as fast as you make them !
Sweetened Rice dumplings with coconut jaggery filling ( Kozhakkatai)
This is a pretty simple recipe and easy to make. Traditionally this is made by soaking raw rice in water for few minutes and then draining it off water and spreading on a clean cloth to dry off naturally.
Then this is powdered, sieved and the superb soft , slightly damp flour is used to make these dumplings.
But we are now pampered by all these branded store bought flour ready to use and I have fallen prey to this due to lack of time and convenience. personally Iam never satisfied with the store bought flour as I do not get the pure white colour to the dumplings but having no choice , have used it. On certain occasions like Sankatahaara chaturthi , I make it the old traditional way as we do not have to prepare other varieties of snacks and it is not a festival time either.
1 cup rice flour
1/ 2 cup jaggery powdered
3/4 cup coconut flakes, either dry or fresh coconut
pinch of cardamom
small pinch of salt
Water as needed to make the dough.
1 tsp oil
First prepare the jagggery coconut filling ready by preparing the melted jaggery syrup, in a pan . Let the jaggery melt competely with little water and when it starts bubbling add the coconut and cardamom powder and quickly stir, or else it will start crystallising. You can add litltle water if you think the filling is getting to be too brittle and sticky.
Let the filling cool and make small balls of it ready to be used a s filling. Just roll the filling ingredients into small soft balls.
To prepare the dough for the outer cover
Take a pan of water , boil well, and keep the flour ready, add the salt, 1 tsp oil and and when the water has come to a good boil, pour it in small quantities as you keep mixing the flour with a spatula. Keep stirring the flour with hot water , just enough to make a dough. Cover and keep for few minutes till the dough is just warm enough to handle and then take the whole dough, knead well with little oil if need be and make small balls of it .
Apply little oil in the palm and take a small ball of dough and make a deep depression with your thumb in the middle, you will get a deep crater, then work with both your hands around the depression to enlarge the cup, to get a deep cup and keep turning around till the layer is thinned and then keep the filling in the centre , cover with the dough and bring it together like a potliin the middle.. Make several such modaks as will fit in your idli steamer.Keep the prepared modaks covered , dont allow to dry out or else the modaks will get cracks while steaming.Keep the idli steamer with water ready and boiling , pace the prepared modaks in the cooke container or idli stand and cover and steam for 15 minutes till they look shiny and beads of water on the cover will indicate they are done.