3tbspsgingelly oil for greasing the mold and steaming plates.
1.5cupswater for steaming
Preparing the filling-
Heat a kadai or saucepan and add ghee.
When it is hot, add the water and jaggery. (If you are using poppy seeds, roast it before adding the water)
Let the jaggery dissolve completely and then add coconut and cardamom powder.
Cook till the water gets evaporated and the filling thickens slightly. Then turn off the heat and set it aside. A little moisture is ok and that's needed. Don't let it thicken until it reaches the candy state (In Tamil, we say kamarkattu). You can also prepare the filling well ahead and refrigerate.
Prepare the outer covering-
Bring 1 cup + 2 tbsps of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the oil or ghee and also the salt.
When the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to low. Add the rice flour slowly.
Using the back of the spoon/ladle mix the flour well. It will be crumbly, and that's fine.
After mixing, turn off the heat and cover the pan and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Consistency check - take a small amount of the dough and see if you can shape it into a ball. It should not fall apart. If it's very crumbly, sprinkle 2 to 3 tbsps of water and cover and cook over low heat for two minutes and turn it off.
While the dough is warm-enough and easy to handle, wet your palms in cold water and shake off the excess water. Knead it gently and form a crack-free dough.
Cover it with a damp cloth or tissue. Do not let the dough dry out.
Shaping and filling the kozhukattai-
For the traditional boat-shaped or oval-shaped kozhukattai
Pinch a small lime-sized of the dough and make a small ball. Now start pressing and make a thin circle. Now take the coconut stuffing, approx 1 tbsp, or depending upon the size of the circle. Place it in the center of the pressed circle and close it so that it forms a semi-circle. Now close the edges with your fingers and press the edges with a fork to get a beautiful pattern. (Pressing with a fork is optional)
Using the mold-
Grease the inside of the mold with sesame oil. Now close the mold.
Depending upon the size of the mold, pinch the required dough (for small mold I use gooseberry sized dough and for the big one, I use small lime sized dough) Place the dough inside the mold and gently spread it along the sides/wall of the mold so that its the shape of the mold. Make sure you are spreading it evenly, and there is sufficient space in the center for the filling. Remove the excess dough from the sides.
Now gently add 1 or 2 tsps of the filling and stuff it inside. Take a small piece of the dough, press it into a small circle, and seal the mold's bottom. Now carefully open the mold and remove the modak from the mold and set it aside. Make sure to cover it till you steam.
Repeat the same process with the remaining dough and the filling.
Steaming the kozhukattai-
I use my idli cooker and idli plates to steam the modak. The idli cooker adds 1.5 cups of water and brings it to boil while you are shaping and filling the kozhukattai.
Grease the idli plates with sesame oil and placed the shaped kozhukattai in the idli plate. Depending upon the size, you can keep one or two.
Now steam the kozhukattai over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then open the idli cooker and remove the kozhukattai.
Serve warm and enjoy!
While preparing the dough for the outer covering, you can add ghee instead of gingelly oil. Also, you can add ½ tsp sugar. I have tried both in several attempts.
I did not roast my store-bought rice flour. But if you keep your flour in the freezer or fridge, bring it to room temperature. Dry roast it for a couple of minutes and sieve it so that there aren't any lumps.
For this particular brand, I had to use 1 cup and an extra 2 tbsps of water. You can also use 1 cup of water for 1 cup of flour. And while kneading, if the flour is dry, add lukewarm water on the needed basis and knead the dough. The water amount varies depending upon the brand.
I have tried making kozhukattai with both store-bought rice flour and idiyappam flour. Both have come out well.
Knead the dough while it is warm enough to handle. Don't let the dough get cold.
While preparing the filling, you can use sesame oil too instead of ghee to and make this dish completely vegan.
The jaggery I used did not have any impurities. So I didn't have to filter it. If you feel your jaggery might contain impurities, then while preparing the filling, after the jaggery dissolves in water, turn off the heat and strain it. Then use the strained water and prepare the filling. Also, adjust the jaggery as per your sweet preference.
While making the filling, you can also use one tsp of poppy seeds. It adds a nice texture.
Always cover the outer dough with a damp cloth or tissue. Do not let the dough dry out.