Recipe for making Kozhukattai/Modakam using Kambu aka Pearl Millet flour. Known as Bajra in North India, Kambu is extremely nutritious, has a subtle sweet flavor, lending itself to this recipe beautifully. I offered this to Lord Ganesha today as prasadam for Sankata Hara Chaturthi.
My husband Madan fasts every month on the day of Sankata Hara Chaturthi. He breaks his fast after having a darshan of the Moon that night. Today happens to be Sankata Hara Chaturthi coupled with the auspicious occasion of Tamil New Year/Varusha pirappu. Even though we belong to a Telugu speaking community, we have been living in Tamil Nadu for over 4-5 generations. We identify with the festivities here much closely. Every Sankata Hara Chaturthi I make an offering to Lord Ganesha. This time I tried out his favorite Modakam/Kozhukattai with Pearl Millet/Bajra flour. Encouraged by the result, I am sharing it with you here –
First we will make the Kambu dough ready for the outer covering aka dumpling. Here I have used Kambu flour which was prepared by grinding whole kambu millet in a local flour mill. I am sure ready-made store bought millet flour will work just fine for this recipe as well. Measure 1 cup of millet flour and set aside. Use this scoop and swipe technique always to measure any flour – Use a standardized measuring cup, scoop the flour from the container and using a knife or back of a spoon just swipe the excess flour from top of the cup. This is the best way to measure flours for recipes like this where the measurement of flour play a huge role in the result. Next, in a 2 liter pressure cooker, add 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Secure the lid, fix the PC whistle and cook the water-oil mixture for 1 whistle. Switch off and release the pressure manually by lifting the whistle with spoon.
Now add the flour to the boiling water, and mix thoroughly leaving behind no dry flour. No need to mix for long or do not try to knead. Close the cooker, fix the whistle and let this flour mixture rest on the kitchen top for a minimum time of 2o minutes.
In the meanwhile, we can make the “poornam”, the sweet coconut filling ready. Heat a kadai or pan with 1 teaspoon of ghee. Add 1/4 cup of grated coconut, 1/4 cup of jaggery powder (use dark “paagu” variety for best results) and 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom powder. Saute in low-medium flame for 3-4 minutes. You will notice the jaggery melting. Switch off and let it cool. The filling will solidify as it cools.
Once it cools down a bit, grease your hands thoroughly with oil/ghee and make small even sized balls like this and set aside.
Now onto shaping the kozhukattai. I will be using a mould to satisfy my ocd for getting evenly shaped kozhukattais. This is the mould I will be using today.These moulds are available online. You can click here to buy the moulds –
Grease the mould and hand thoroughly with oil or ghee. Pinch of a portion of the milet dough and fill the sides of the mould as shown in the picture below. Gently press the dough on to the sides making sure not to create cracks or gaps. Now fill the middle with one portion of the sweet filling. Take some more dough and cover the bottom portion fully. Gently unmould it by releasing the kozhukattai from the mould. Use the bottom portion to nudge it out of the mould so that you dont lose the shape. Also, avoid using too much dough for outer covering as it will result in a thick leathery outer layer. Repeat this process until all the dough is done.
Heat the vessel used for steaming idlis with water. Place the kozhukattais into the idli steamer. Make sure to grease the surface of the plate (on which you are placing the kozhukattai) and steam for 10 minutes on low to medium heat. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before serving.