The Vella Kozhukattais or the sweet modhakas is an all time favourite of mine since I was a little girl. When I was a little girl, we lived in a big joint family so any festival was celebrated with lots of fun and fanfare. Every year for Vinayaka Chathurthi, Madurai amma would make us the outer dough for us to work on and my sister D and me would make little cups out of the dough, fill it with the “Poornam” and arrange it neatly in little idli plates for steaming. Although we would be longing to eat the neivedhyam, we would have to wait until the entire pooja was over and we would get only 3 or 4.Mum would always promise me that she would make it for us on another day so we could have it to our heart`s content. Of course, that day would never come until the next Vinayaka Chathurthi the next year…
Now, my daughter S loves them so much that I decided to make it whenever possible, as often as I can. For instance every month for Sankatahara Chathurthi to offer it as Neivedhyam to the Lord. Sankatahara Chathurthi is an auspicious day dedicated to Lord Ganesha in a traditional Hindu lunar month. It falls during the waning phase of the moon – fourth day after the full moon. Staunch Ganesha devotees observe a fast on the day.Fasting on Sankatahara Chaturthi begins at sunrise and ends after evening puja or after sighting the moon. Ganesh Temples conduct special pujas on the day.It is widely believed by Ganesha devotees that observing Sankashta Chaturthi will bring material progress, happiness and fulfillment of desires.
1 cup of fresh grated coconut.
3/4 – 1 cup of grated jaggery (Depending on brand, degree of sweetness etc)
1 tsp of powdered cardamom.
1 tbsp of milk.( If needed)
2-3 tbsp of water.
- Always prepare the poornams or filling ahead as the outer dough has to be made last just before consolidating the Kozhukattais.
- In a kadai add the jaggery and very little water about 2 Tbsp and 1 tbsp milk and allow to melt.
- When the jaggery is well melted add the fresh grated coconut and mix well.
- Also put in the powdered cardamom and stir in well until the mixture leaves the sides.
- I prefer to make my poornam a little thicker by keeping it on the stove for a longer time to enable me to make them in to balls.
- Cool the poornam filling and it will be easier for you roll them in to little balls.
- Keep the Kozhukattai outer dough prepared and ready as per instructions here . Keep it covered under a moist cloth and over that a lid to preserve the moisture and the warmth.
- Create an assembly line with the Poornam balls, outer dough, greased idli plates and a small cup having 2-3 spoons of coconut oil.
- Keep everything ready before you start as the outer dough should never dry out.
- Grease your palms with coconut oil and then take a ball of the outer dough and smoothen it between your palms.
- Make a little depression with your thumb and make it in to the shape of a diya with smooth sides.
- Fill the depression with the coconut jaggery poornam, and close the edges and seal it with your fingers.
- Continue until you finish the poornam filling.
- If you have the outer dough left over, you can add a little more salt and make delicious Ammini Kozhukattais.
- Arrange all the prepared modhakams for steaming on the greased idli plate.
- Steam it in the pressure cooker for 10 – 12 minutes just as you would do with idlis.
- Remove from steam, transfer to a casserole or container and enjoy after offering it to Lord Ganesha.
- Wishing all my readers a very Happy Vinayaka Chathurthi.
- If your sweet poornam/filling is not as thick as you would like it to be, dont fret. Allow it to sit on the stove for a couple of minutes more and add 1 spoon or two of wheat flour. This will bind them together.
- Another option is to make rough balls and pop them in to the refrigerator for a few minutes. This will automatically firm them up.
- Before steaming the prepared Modhakas, keep them covered as if they exposed to the air etc, they get dry and crack up. This might render the poornam to seep out during steaming.