Monday, March 20, 2006

Breakfast of the Gods - Upma Kozhakattai

uppuma kozhakattai

Upma Kozhakattai - Steamed rice dumplings

The first dish I missed when I left home, were these tasty morsels - "upma kozhakattai". My mom makes the most awesome kozhakattai and I used to gobble these up, with a dollop of ghee melting on top and some chutney podi to dip 'em into.

I feel like I am continuing the tradition when I make these at home now, and watch my kids relish them. That's what it is about, isn't it? Passing on these traditions to the next generation? I feel that I make only about half the dishes my mother used to make, on a regular basis. Our palate has expanded to include so many other dishes of other ethnicities. I like to try out exotic dishes from other cultures and traditional indian dishes often have to wait for their turn in the monthly menu! I wonder how many of these traditional dishes our kids will make?

Anyways, on to the "Upma Kozhakattais" !! This is a twice steamed dish, so it is very healthy. There is not much oil involved in the making, and the addition of fresh coconut is entirely up to you. You can omit if you wish. I make a big batch of these once in a while and then have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner!!

"Upma Kozhakattai" does require a fair amount of prep work. The rice has to be processed i.e. "broken" to make a coarse rava. I have never really tried to make it with the readymade rava available in the indian stores, but that might be a good option.


2 cups long grain rice
1/4 cup shredded coconut (fresh or frozen)
4-5 salt cured, dried chillies (with yogurt)
1 green chilli
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1 tsp oil
a few curry leaves

drying the rice

Washed rice, spread on a towel to dry

rice rava

cup of washed, dried rice blended to make a coarse "rava"

You can also make a double batch of the rice rava and store for future use. Be careful however, to make sure the rice is absolutely dry before storing it. I have found out the hard way that little lifeforms will happily romp in the rice and make the most interesting colored mold colonies!! Needless to say, the kids were thrilled with this "science project", but I had to quickly make some backup plans for breakfast :)


  1. Wash the rice well in several changes of water until the water runs clear.
  2. Spread it out to dry on a clean towel or dish cloth for a few hours or even overnight.
  3. Coarsely powder the rice in a blender or food processor. Work in batches till the rice resembles bread crumbs.
  4. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan. When it is hot, add the asafoetida and mustard seeds.
  5. When the mustard seeds pop, add the dried salt-cured chillies.
  6. When they turn a dark golden brown, add the green chillies and curry leaves.
  7. Add 5 cups of water (ratio of rice to water is 2:2.5)
  8. When the water comes to a boil, add the salt and shredded coconut.
  9. Add the rice rava and stir well to mix.
  10. Cover and steam like for "upma" till the rice is cooked.
  11. It may still taste a bit raw at this point, but will be fine when it is steamed again.
  12. When the mixture is cool, form into small balls.
  13. Put the balls in a greased idli plate or in a chinese style steamer or even the steamer of a rice cooker and steam for 10 minutes.
  14. The balls will subtly change in color and texture and get a glossy shine. That indicates that they are well cooked.
  15. Serve hot with a dab of ghee on top. Serve with chutney, dosa chutney podi, or sambhar.

upma for kozhakattai

rice upma, before forming the dumplings

kozhakattais before steaming

kozhakattai, ready for steaming

Here's another picture of these yummy dumplings. My favorite way to serve them is with "Mor Kozhambu" or buttermilk sambhar. Yummm....

kozakattai closeup

Upma Kozhakattai


At Mon Mar 20, 11:30:00 AM 2006, Blogger Priya said...

the kozhakattais looks yummy. These are my fav for breakfast. We make it a little differently, shall post the recipe soon. The pics are aswesome and i love the asian steamer.

At Mon Mar 20, 11:30:00 AM 2006, Blogger shammi said...

Oh yes, oh yes, oh YES! I guess I'll have to try it out now... it just seems like so much trouble to make, but oh it's SOOOOO yummy to eat! :)

I'm getting tired of saying this, btw - what FAB photos! :D

At Mon Mar 20, 11:34:00 AM 2006, Blogger shammi said...

PS. I wouldnt add the coconut :)

At Mon Mar 20, 11:57:00 AM 2006, Blogger BDSN said...

ohh boy can i come over for kozhakattai..just droolin over here after seeing the photographs...well now iam gonna read about the post..sorry dint read the post yet but couldnt wait to comment

At Mon Mar 20, 12:00:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Annita said...

These looks really reallydelicious SaffronHut.My mouth is still watering...But its a bit time consuming,rt?

At Mon Mar 20, 12:31:00 PM 2006, Blogger Kitchenmate said...

SH: What have you been doing, it makes me drool.
Looks little elaborate procedure wise, but i think it is worth trying:)
What a fantabulous picture as usual. You have got a thing with these photos buddy.
BTW: I have been clicking on your blog a lot of times since this morning to find this yummy post:)

At Mon Mar 20, 12:59:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Kerala Girl said...

Oh those are really wonderful photos...Wish the technology advances so that I can grab those right out of the monito :-). Your blog rocks with the beautiful pictures and the recipes are good too. Great work

At Mon Mar 20, 02:23:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Priya said...

Hi Saffron,
Wonderful pics...We call it 'Undrallu' in Telugu and its part of the Naivedyam on Vinayaka Chathurti in Andhra. I tried it out last year with the rice rava bought in the Indian store and they turned out well.I used red chillies instead of the salt cured ones and add a lil channa dal in the upma.
And just like Kitchenmate I have been waiting all weekend for yet another treat from u :-)

At Mon Mar 20, 03:14:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Danielle said...

Those look delicious! It's so fascinating to see what different people think of as traditional home cooking. For me, this would be a foray into ethnic cuisine. Though, living in the great melting pot as I do, all sorts of ethnic cuisine feel like home cooking by now.

This would be an interesting poll to take - asking people where they're from, where their families are from, and what they consider traditional home cooking for themselves.

At Mon Mar 20, 03:29:00 PM 2006, Blogger Vineela said...

kohakattais looks ymmy.
ur pictures r always special
i am gonna add u to my blog.

At Mon Mar 20, 03:39:00 PM 2006, Blogger Rachel said...


At Mon Mar 20, 05:29:00 PM 2006, Blogger Saffron said...

Priya, looking forward to your recipe.

Shammi, I figured you would leave out the coconut!! And hey, I'm not tired of hearing that you like my photos :) :) Seriously, I'm soooo thrilled with all the compliments!!!

BSDN, heh heh, I know, Kozhakattai has that "jump-the-gun" reaction from me too!

annita, not very time consuming. Just like making upma, but you have a second round of steaming. The results are well worth it though!!

KM, thanks! it's the encouragement of all you bloggers that gets me excited about doing this :) :)

Kerala Girl, welcome!! and thanks!!

priya, thanks. I bet it was delicious.

Danielle, you are absolutely right. Traditional and ethnic is so relative. That is the best part of food blogs - glimpses into others' homes and cultures. Nothing brings people together like food IMHO.
Love your idea about the poll!!

Vineela, thank you. It's a honor.

rachel, I felt like you were looking right at me!!! your gif ID is so startling :) :). Welcome to my blog.

At Mon Mar 20, 06:20:00 PM 2006, Blogger Ashwini said...

I am thrilled to see all the traditional breakkie recipes. I think we are so eager to let them go in todays scenario. Good work!

At Mon Mar 20, 07:43:00 PM 2006, Blogger Luv2cook said...

They look so yummy! Never heard of them before...will definitely try them.

At Mon Mar 20, 08:42:00 PM 2006, Blogger sailu said...

Nice pictures as usual.Learning so much about foods from other cuisines ..:)

At Mon Mar 20, 09:58:00 PM 2006, Blogger மதி கந்தசாமி (Mathy) said...

Fantastic photos. I really have to try this...



At Tue Mar 21, 12:19:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Lera said...

These upma dumplings of rice looks very appetising..
wish I could pop one of these to get the taste of it....:)

At Tue Mar 21, 07:32:00 AM 2006, Blogger Kay said...

Hmmmmm, I've heard of this dish, never seen it or tasted it!

Saffron, It is drool worthy! I've to make this and try it. Would you also post the morkolumbu that goes with this yummy kozhukattai? Prety please? And what's mor-sambar?

At Tue Mar 21, 08:50:00 AM 2006, Blogger Garam Masala said...

Wow... I don't think i have heard or seen this dish. Looks like a true treasure! real treat to the sore eyes!

At Tue Mar 21, 09:30:00 AM 2006, Blogger Santhi said...

Never heard of it.
Upma is one of my MOST fave breakfasts. SO I am sure I will like these.:)
BTW tried spinach-sottage cheese rotis. AWESOME. They are a big hit in my house.

At Tue Mar 21, 10:16:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Gini said...

Wow! Amazing..never heard of this but sure looks good!

At Tue Mar 21, 12:42:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are what we call "Undrallu" in Telugu.

My cousin made them a couple of times, but yours look really yummy and delicious.

We have them with ginger chutney(Allam Pachadi).

At Wed Mar 22, 05:32:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi sh
I tried these & they were yummy. Had them with arachivitta sambhar & ghee!Thanks for this traditional recipe( for this is one recipe which you dont find in cookbooks!)yours is the best food blog where both the photos & the recipes r equally good, not to forget the way you present each of your creations!

At Wed Mar 22, 06:20:00 AM 2006, Blogger Menu Today said...

Hi Saffron Hut,
The photos are really great. Your great work glows in it.

Please check out my version:-

At Wed Mar 22, 06:58:00 AM 2006, Anonymous Indira said...

Beautiful photos, SF.

We prepare rice ravva upma just like you mentioned, except we don't make balls with it. But the small round balls, I just want to grab one... so yummy looking.

and I agree, that rice ravva upma is the breakfast of Gods!

At Thu Mar 23, 09:18:00 AM 2006, Blogger KrishnaArjuna said...

upma looks great SH. Very nice pictures.

At Mon Apr 03, 12:15:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Nila said...

Lovely pictures and yummy recipes, I am going to try it soon.Do u use the bamboo steamer for steaming and is it good/easy?

At Sun Apr 23, 07:43:00 PM 2006, Blogger archana said...

Those look yummy. Here are couple of Qs from a bedazzled fan of your blog.
What is your camera?
Are you a trained photograher?
I am really fascinated by the depth of each of your photos, i truly am...

At Mon Apr 24, 10:50:00 AM 2006, Blogger Saffron said...

archanaThanks! I use a sony cybershot 3.2 mega pixel digital camera. Nope, I wish I was, but I'm not a trained photographer..I just follow my instincts :)

At Tue Apr 25, 11:22:00 PM 2006, Blogger archana said...

You do have some super dashing "instincts",wish i could have some of that.
I don't mean to pry, but how do you get that off focus background?Is it photoshop?

At Thu Jun 22, 01:59:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Rhama said...

Hi SH,

Nice recipe, and pics. Looks YUMMY! I have always wondered how to make these, 'cause Amma made them often. thanks. You came to my rescue. I will try them now. Can I make them with Idli Rava, instead of this whole proces of cleaning rice, drying it, and then grinding it into rava texture. Let me know. Thanks again.

At Sat Nov 18, 06:46:00 AM 2006, Anonymous sudha said...

Sh! I work an online job and have a strict mind control on internet browsing, not to run after this site and that sie. I happened to see ur site last week, that it, i lost. I just cannot stop myself seeing it everyday after finishing my work. The story u give, the method u explain, and - above all - those photos...... only one word .....FABULOUS!!!!

At Mon Jan 15, 06:45:00 AM 2007, Anonymous mami-pune said...

With idli rava it comes out well and is easy to make. The photograph is good!!!!

At Tue Mar 06, 01:38:00 PM 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very cool design! Useful information. Go on! » » »

At Tue May 01, 08:28:00 PM 2007, Anonymous Priya Prasad said...

After missing this traditional treat for 1.5 years and not getting the best recipe, I felt really happy when I saw it in your blog.

Your picture says it all. Hence, I tried it immediately. Do I need to tell the result, Ohh my god, It came out very well. Not having patience to make kozhukattai I ate it just like Arisi upma.

Gr8 work. Wish you bring out more traditional recipes.

At Mon Sep 10, 08:37:00 PM 2007, Blogger perspective said...

These look so great! I MUST try them!
Would love to have the buttermilk sambhar recipe too.. :)

At Mon Oct 01, 02:37:00 PM 2007, Anonymous Pankaj said...

Hi Saffron Hut,
I am an infrequent visitor to your blog. I searched for upma kozhakattai
and landed here
I thinkl the pictures and the writing are yours.
Just wanted to bring it to your notice.

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I saw this post on Sulekha:

I was not sue if u had emailed him the recipe or someone else had.. in any case, just alerting u.

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