Uppu Kozhokottai ~ Steamed savoury snacks
Uppu Kozhokottai ~ Savoury steamed dumplings with blackgram dal filling

I hail from Palakkad and our cuisine is a combination of the best from the regions of Tamilnadu and Kerala. Every festival is celebrated with sweets and savouries that are unique to that festival. The traditional sweets made for Ganesh Chaturthi in Palakkad, are 'vella kozhokottai' (Steamed jaggery and coconut filled sweets) and 'sugiyan' (Fried jaggery and coconut balls). The savouries comprise of vadai (savoury fritters) and many varieties of savoury kozhokottais (steamed dumplings).

Kozhokottai (pronounced as koyo-ko-tie, the 'y' is pronounced with a roll of the tongue), is much loved and for some reason I seem to make it only during Ganesh Chaturthi and not otherwise. It is said to be Lord Ganesha's favorite snack. Our's too! It is basically a sweet or savory filling wrapped in rice flour dough. This is then steamed till the rice flour covering becomes translucent. The feeling as you cut through the covering and bite into the filling can only be described as 'heady'!

There are two methods to make the covering. The popular method involves using pounded rice flour. I used to follow the rice flour method until my sister told me to try the one I am sharing here. I find the results so good with this one that I haven't bothered to look back! Using raw rice batter yields a softer covering as compared to the one made with shop bought rice flour. This is because shop bought rice flour does not contain moisture.

Recipe: Uppu Kozhokottai ~ Steamed savoury snacks
Preparation Time : 30 minutes
Serves : 15 pieces
Recipe Level:Intermediate
Recipe/Post by: Sunshinemom

1.5 cups, raw rice
1.5 + 1.5 cups, water
3 tbsps. oil (I use sesame oil)
1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup Black gram dal (Urad dal)
Water to cover the dal
salt to taste
1 green chilli
A sprig of curry leaves
3 tbsp. of fresh grated coconut


Soak the split, husked, black gram dal in just enough water for at least half an hour.
Drain completely and add the chopped green chillies and chopped curry leaves. Mix in salt.
Grind without water to a rough paste. (We do not want a soft paste. The paste has to be dry and retain some coarseness due to broken dal). See picture below.
Steam the mixture in a steamer or cooker (without weight/whistle) for about 15minutes till done.
Cool and crumble to granules. Mix in grated coconut to distribute it uniformly throughout the mixture. Set aside and prepare the covering.


Rice flour dough for covering

Soak rice in 1.5 cups of water for at least an hour.
Grind to a smooth paste with the water used for soaking. Do not add more water.
In a heavy bottomed vessel or wok, heat the oil. Add 1.5 cups of water and salt and bring it to a boil.
Now pour the rice paste into the water stirring all the while to avoid lump formation.
You will not be able to avoid the lumps completely but keep stirring and if any lumps form on the sides of the vessel, scrape it back into the center.
Cook, stirring till all the liquid forms into a rough ball, leaving the sides of the vessel. It will take about 5 to 6 minutes on medium flame.
Cover with a tight lid and let the dough cook in residual heat without disturbing for another 10 minutes.
After 5 minutes, remove the lid and let cool till warm enough to handle.
Turn onto a large 'paraat' or plate or working space.
Grease hands lightly and knead the dough till firm, smooth but soft.

Formation of kozhokottais:
Pinch a ball of dough about the size of a table tennis ball. Roll it between your palms to a smooth sphere. Flatten lightly and keeping it on a clean surface, keep pressing with light fingers to form a disc about 5 to 6 cms in diameter. The disc should be about 2mm in thickness.

Shaping the kozhokottai

Place a tablespoon of the filling in the center. Fold to a semi circle and press the sides of the semi circle to seal the opening.
Similarly form the rest of the kozhokottais.

Uppu Kozhokottai ~ Second setting
Serving kozhokottais
Place the kozhokottais on a greased plate, in a steamer and steam till the covering turns translucent and cooked. About 15 minutes.
If you do not have a steamer, heat water in a pressure cooker. Place a deep vessel filled upto 1/4 of its height with water. Now place the plate of kozhokottais over the vessel. Cover the cooker and steam for 15 minutes with the lid on and no weight, on moderate heat.
When cool enough to handle, remove the plate from the steamer/cooker.
The kozhokottais are now ready to be served.
Traditionally it is eaten without any accompaniment and tastes good.
I however like it with a dash of spicy szechuan sauce - an unusual combination for a traditional delicacy.

Special Notes/Tips:
  • Do not hurry up and skip the part where you have to fit the lid and let the dough cook in the residual heat because, the five minute steaming helps the uncooked areas to cook through well.

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  1. Srivalli // 14 September 2010 at 22:16  

    Beautiful pictures as always Harini..so tempting!

  2. Sia // 14 September 2010 at 23:03  

    that looks amazing harini!

  3. Pushpa // 14 September 2010 at 23:48  

    Delicious savory dish...Lovely presentation..

    Pushpa @ simplehomefood.com

  4. Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal // 15 September 2010 at 01:31  

    Beautiful pics dear. Lovely recipe :)

  5. Rachana // 15 September 2010 at 03:23  

    A delicious Snack! Great photography!

  6. Sunshinemom // 15 September 2010 at 06:55  

    Thanks everyone!

  7. Srimathi // 15 September 2010 at 17:53  

    I love this blog. What an easy way to make modhakam.I do it the regular way of making a cup and filling it up. Have spent hrs doing it, maybe next time I must give this one a try.

  8. Sharmilee! :) // 15 September 2010 at 20:11  

    Awesome clicks...very tempting kozhukattais

  9. meeso // 15 September 2010 at 21:19  

    I almost didn't see the pure whiteness on that white plate :)

  10. Murasaki Shikibu // 15 September 2010 at 22:56  

    These look wonderful. I would really like to find out what they taste like!

  11. Sunshinemom // 16 September 2010 at 06:41  

    Murasaki Shikibu, the covering tastes like fresh momo coverings and the fillings are a little bland with bursts of heat and sweet. The filling is aromatic because of flavour from the steamed black grams and coconut, it has a welcome crunch that comes from the coconut which also imparts a mild sweetness. The combination of crunch with the soft covering is what makes it different but appealing. Do try it and get back if you have any queries. I will be happy to answer them.

  12. Kulsum // 22 September 2010 at 17:51  

    seen this is quite a few blogs lately and it looks AMAZING. Should give a try!

  13. megan // 28 November 2012 at 05:04  

    Do you think these dumplings would be good if frozen and steamed later?

  14. Srivalli // 1 December 2012 at 20:07  

    Megan We normally make this during festivals where we do not freeze and use. However you can freeze and steam again. I also know some who store the prepared dough separately. Hope this helps