Vella Kozhukattai (Sweet Modak)

By DK on Sep 04, 2010
Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
I have always maintained that when it comes to the language of Food, the borders of various countries start thinning considerably. There is always some kind of connection to some food you can relate to from another region. The ingredient might differ a little, the look sort of and taste a wee bit myriad. But in the heart of it, the basic technique and the concept might be so much the same - enough to point a finger at it and say -"Hey this sounds like our recipe for (so and so)". So if you are aware of the Japanese Mochi (esp. Japanese Daifuku )- then this Indian Sweet referred to as "Modak" in Hindi , "Kozhukattai/Kolukattai" in Tamil, 'Kadubu" in Kannada which is a dumpling with assorted fillings will ring a bell. While the Mochi uses a glutinous sweet rice flour to make this, Indians use regular rice flour. Rest of the process is also quite similar - while red bean paste is used a filling (along with few others depending on the type), the Indian version also has a traditional sweet filling (with jaggery-coconut being prominent) . The cover is then stuffed with this filling and steamed.
Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
The Indian version though quite enjoyed on and oft during the year (depends on how much that particular family LOVES this - like mine;))  is especially a MUST during the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi (also called as Vinayaka Chaturthi) which is considered to be Lord Ganesha's (the Hindu Elephant God) birthday. This sweet Modak is his favorite hence its prepared with much fun fare on his day. Though paradoxically (i never was a sweet lover), I would always choose to reach out for this sweet version than the savory ones. It was mildly sweet , may be that's why! My mother would end up making the sweet version more than the savory ones since it had more takers in the house. Just like any other (make it - most) Indian Sweet Recipes, this can be little tricky to make. Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi The Outer cover is one that's likely to pose an issue. Once that's done with, the filling(s) are a breeze. I have come across quite many methods for making the cover- some simple, some complex, some seemingly simple but never come out right for me etc etc. This method is followed by my mom and now by me which I find convenient. My mother is excellent when it comes to making adjustments even when something goes wrong with the traditional sweets where even small error is so unforgiving. While I am no way even quarter of her league, her tips usually save me from utter disasters. I have given few of them below for this recipe which might help you until you get comfortable without it.
Basic Information
Prep Time: 30 min to 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 min to 1 hour
Serves: 3 people
Yield: About 6-10 kozhukattai (modak) depending on the size
Ingredients
  • For the Cover
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1-2 tsp vegetable oil or Ghee (I use ghee)
  • For the Jaggery Coconut filling (Vella poornam)
  • 1 cup fresh coconut, grated (fresh is recommended, though you can use frozen too)
  • 3/4 cup Jaggery, powdered
  • pinch of cardamom powder (or as per taste)
Method
1
Lets prepare the filling first. Add jaggery and coconut together in a skillet.
Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
2
In low heat, saute until the jaggery melts and the mixture thickens. Add the cardamom to the mix and toss well.
Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
3
Tip: If it does not thicken well, add a little rice flour along with little drops of ghee and cook further for few seconds until it thickens. While still warm, take a small piece of this filling (it will be sticky, you can grease your palms with ghee) and make a small ball.
Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
4
Repeat for all the filling. (Its hard not to take a ball and put it in your mouth. Its addictive!!!)
Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
5

Alternatively lets prepare the cover. There are two ways to go about this.

Method 1:

Traditionally raw rice is soaked for few hours, the water is drained very well and then ground into flour. This flour is used to make this recipe. For those short on time and looking for easier/quicker version, next method is for you.

Method 2:

I most often end up using this method since I find myself short on time to go about grinding the rice flour at home. So I resort to buying ready made store bought ones. If you are using Rice flour from the stores, you have to take care about few points. Sift the rice flour well - even two to 3 times. This is to remove debris etc. Set aside.

Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
6
The quality of rice flour will vary and hence the amount of water used (instead of 1-1/4 cups) will vary. It might need more or less. So try this trick to find out what works best. Bring the recommended amount of water to boil along with salt and Ghee.
Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
7
When its boiled, remove 1/4 cup of water and set aside. You can otherwise heat only 1 cup to boil in one skillet and another 1/4 cup or so in another skillet. Take this skillet off heat and set it in a counter.
Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
8
Add the rice flour to the 1 cup of boiled water.
Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
9
Using a wooden spoon give it a stir. It will be hot. It should come together into a mass all clumped together.
Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
10

Tip 1: If you find that this is too dry and not sticky, then add the additional boiled water you set aside, drop by drop, until it comes together.

Tip 2: If you find this too sticky and not pliable, you can use additional few sprinkling of rice flour/maida (all purpose flour) until it does. Make sure too much flour is NOT added. The taste might get affected. That's why its preferable to go with less water and then added if needed than vice versa.


Let it sit for few minutes until its cool enough to handle. It should still be hot - only just enough to enable you to handle the dough. Dont let it get cold.  Set aside two small bowls - one with oil/ghee, another with warm water. Grease your hands with Ghee and start kneading the dough. The idea is to make it pliable - into a smooth consistency like that of chapathi dough. The difference is that while chapathi dough has gluten and will stretch, rice flour lacks the gluten and will not be stretchy. The dough will be smooth but yet slightly sticky. Can you see my fingers coated with sticky dough? Yet it looks smooth.

Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
11
Grease your palms well and break off a small piece from the dough. You should be able to rotate the dough into an extremely smooth ball - see like below?
Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
12
Alternate now between dipping your fingers  and greasing it with ghee and warm water for preparing the rest of the steps. Using your thumb and other fingers , make a small crater in the ball you made. Like an inverted cone. You should be using both your hands for this one ( I needed the other hand to take a shot of this step, hence you see my right hand is missing but I used it nevertheless to make that depression;)).
Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
13
Slowly rotate  and go around making this crater until it looks little bigger like this one. You are need to make sufficiently big enough to be able to drop in the rounds of filling you made earlier.
Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
14
Drop the sweet filling you made into the depression.
Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
15
Very slowly brings the ends together over the top of the filling. Be gentle.
Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
16
Bring it together so that you can pinch the top, sealing the filling.  Pinch to make a small horn.
Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
17
You can always pinch off excess dough.
Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
18
And shape the remaining to look like a beak. Or if you are one of those lucky ones who has been able to get their hands on these Modak/Kozhukattai moulds (see this picture from Hot and Sweet bowl site), then consider cutting down on the preparation time by half. Or you can use the other shape to make these - The crescent shaped (semi-circle to be more precise) ones - See the step by step pictorial for making those
Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
19
Repeat with rest of the dough. Now steam them for about 10-15 minutes. You know its done when the color slightly changes and the cover becomes little translucent.
Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
Once done, remove and drizzle some ghee on top of it (this is optional, of course) and enjoy it warm/hot. Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi See the cross section of this yummy dumplings? Chewy sweet morsels from  heaven - no wonder its Lord Ganesha's favorite! Vella kozhukattai/Kolukattai recipe (sweet Modak) | Ganesh/Vinayaka Chaturthi
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55 Responses to “Vella Kozhukattai (Sweet Modak)”
  1. Shiks

    Hello, I came across your website when looking for Dal Makhani recipe. I made it as per your instructions and it was finger licking good. I will be making that more often now. Just tried the modaks. I have always wanted to make these and gave them a try today. My modaks are still on steam so will let you know soon how they turned out. Thanks for your beautiful website.

  2. mala

    Thanks they came out well.but many of them had cracks inthe outer covering. Could you
    help us with this

  3. sathya

    Will try this today for chaturthi

  4. rajitha

    kozhukattai receipe is sothappal for me this time I don’t know what mistake I am doing .I followed the same procedure

  5. Nithya

    Thanks much DK for the recipe and more specifically for the tips! My “about to be an accident” turned out as “Awesome Kozhukattais”. Wonder how you manage to do keep up your website with a kid and job!

  6. kalaiselvi sasikumar

    Dear DK,
    Last year after lots of prayer i made this recipe,& it came out very well… My dream(!!!)of making Kozhukattai came true…My lil son & my nephew loved it sooo very much.Ur step by step pictorial explanation makes us to follow more clearly :-D
    Thank You
    Waiting for ur newer recipes.
    Luv,
    Kalai.

  7. kol
  8. Dhvani

    (The last time i made modaks it was a complete flopshow)This recipe is so good. It doesnt leave any room for error. I have shaped the modaks and they have turned out absolutely perfect. I am still to steam them, but thought of first thanking you for the effort of putting up this recipe with so much detail and with so many pictures.. I will now go on and steam a few of the lot and refrigerate the remaining.

  9. Axie

    Hi my dough cover got sticky and broke while making it. What is the reason? Is it excess water? Also the filling was not so hard a little liquidy. What went wrong. Again should salt be added to the cover as it is a sweet dish?

    The cover will be sticky. You would need to first make a smooth ball and gently fill in with the filling. As for the filling being liquidy, you should have cooked it a bit longer for it to thicken. A pinch of salt will help to bring out the sweetness further. Since you are not using a lot, it will not taste salty at all –DK

  10. Nirmala

    :-P Dear DK
    Thank you so much for posting this recipe….I followed it to the t….the step by step pics made it easy to follow and it turned out abs yummy. And both my mother who was not sure i could do it, and my husband who does not like Indian sweets…really tucked into it. happy Ganesha Chathurthi to all.

    I am so glad to hear that Nirmala. Happy Vinayaka Chaturthi to you and yours :) –DK

  11. MK

    DK – I’ve used your recipe twice to much success, including today Ganesh Chaturthi! Thanks so much for sharing. My mom, who has never made these is now envious that I know how to make them :wink:

    LOL – that must be such a proud moment. I am so happy to hear the outcome. Happy Chaturthi to you and your family :) –DK

  12. Madhu

    You made my Vinayagar Chathurthi very sweet with your modaham recipe. It came out very well.Thanks and Vinayaga Chathurthi wishes.

    Extremely glad to hear that Madhu :) Happy Vinayaga Chaturthi :) –DK

  13. bina

    :) hi..can i use okda rice….boiled rice..soaked n ground at home..

  14. aarthi

    Can i make these kolukattais the previous night and steam them the next day?

  15. P Rathnakumari

    Hi DK,
    I made this kozhukattai last year by this method turned out very well. Thank u .

    I am glad to hear that :) Happy Vinayaka Chaturthi –DK

  16. SREEJA

    They were quite good. my husband who is quite finicky also liked them. the last tme i made them did not turn out well

  17. Prathima

    Hey DK,
    Normally the jaggery will have impurities in them. Can we dissolve it in little water, drain and then use.? How do u suggest we remove them for making the poornam?

    Definitely yes. If you see my posts for Akkaravadisal and vella seedai (and quite a few others I think ) i would have placed the jaggery in some hot water for it to melt and then strained it. This straining helps to remove the debris –DK

  18. please reply if i made in maida it is very hard why

  19. s.saraswathi

    :oops: its look very nice. i will try this tonight.

  20. Honey

    I made this last year for a puja and turned out very well. This year I am coming back via my bookmark!! Have to make it again. The instructions and pictures were very easy to follow Keep up the great work.

    Thank you so much for the feedback. :) Glad to hear that–DK

  21. buzybi

    I made with ready made rice flour from the store. I kept the dumplings on a plantain leaf in the steamer and steamed them. :-D They turned out very yummy. In no time they got over.

  22. buzybi

    I made with ready made rice flour from the store. I kept the dumplings on a plantain leaf in the steamer and steamed them. :wink: :wink:
    :wink: They turned out very yummy. In no time they got over.

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