Kozakattai (Indian coconut dumplings and salty dumplings)

A few friends and I got together today to recreate a dish from our childhoods–one our moms always make for Ganesha Chaurthi, an Indian holiday that occurs in late August or Early September. We are about a month off…this was the first day that our schedules meshed, but nonetheless we set off to try out a somewhat complicated recipe that none of us would have tried to attempt on our own. (for one thing, forming the dumplings is delicate work and was always impossible when I tried to do it when I was  younger.) It was a fun day and I’d love to do it again…we may have just spawned a new supper club…the SISTA Supper Club (South Indian Sistas Training (to be) Aunties). Stay tuned…

Yum, the finished product

The recipe came from a website called Subbu’s Kitchen (nevermind the subtitle.)

Our reference guide

Warning…this experiment is not for those lacking in time. or for the fainthearted. It was time-intesive, but made fun by having good company. 3 hours later, they turned out pretty well. And they were tasty. There were a couple of initial “fails” (the batch that flattened out into pancakes because we steamed them too long, the ones that fell apart). but we persevered…

what do they taste like, you ask? sweet packets of gooey, flavorful goodness.

The sweet Kozhakattai ingredients

the dough (we doubled this recipe to make dough for the salty ones too)

  • 1 Cup rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1/2 cup water

the filling

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup of grated coconut
  • 1/2 cup grated jaggery (if you want to save time/straining, use brown sugar)
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1/4 T Cardamom powder

Tools: 2 ziplocs, a steamer or pressure cooker (we tried both)

The method

start with the filling. In a pot, boil 1 cup of water. Add the jaggery or brown sugar. When it is dissolved they tell you to strain the liquid to remove particles. Do this if you see them. Add it back into the pan. Boil a few more minutes until it begins to thicken. Add coconut and cardamom and stir. Let liquid boil off. Take off the stove and let cool completely (you need to handle it).  When it is touchable, roll into tiny balls and put them on a plate. Set aside.

Make the dough: Boil 1 cup of water and oil. Add the rice flour  slowly and stir constantly

This is roughly the size you want your balls

(it will get lumpy otherwise). Stir until it is a smooth dough. Remove from the stove. (you may need to add more water if it seems too thick). When cool, it should be thick enough to roll into balls. Roll into balls about the size of something that came out of a mellon baller (2-3″)


You’ll need: A small cup of olive oil (to dip your fingers, a paper towel, and a plate to put the finished goods on)

Step 2: Your flattening technique

On a flat surface, pull out your ziplocs. Rub a little olive oil on each one. Put a ball between 2 ziplocs. flatten it into a thin layer (don’t go too thin or it will rip…you can repair it though). Lift up one ziploc gently.

Step 3: Dough in the center of the ball


Put a ball of filling into the center.  Then pinch it together like you would a dumpling (pull the sides up gently).


Step 3: Close off your dumpling. pinch up the sides to form a tear-drop shaped dumpling. If you close it with a peak, you can pull off excess dough from the peak. any other shape is just fine, too. do whatever helps you close it. If it tears…take a little more dough, flatten and use to patch it. Put it on a plate. cover with a paper towel to keep moist.

The steam bath

Put about 2-3 inches of water in a pressure cooker or large pot with a lid. We used a pressure pan and a pot with a metal colander. Steamers work just fine, too. If you use the pressure pan, tear off a piece of foil. Rub oil on it and then put the dumplings on it, a few inches apart. Steam for 5 min or until the dough is no longer sticky to the touch. no foil needed for the colander method.


Eh, voila….



About ds331

A lifelong vegetarian. A foodie. Can there be such a thing? Some restauranteurs don't seem to think so...but many of my veggie friends and family have a little something or two to teach them.
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