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