July 20, 2009

Uppuma Kozhakkottai (Steamed Rice Dumplings) With Carrot-Onion-Coconut Chutney

Uppuma kozhakkattai (this is a mouthful, in more ways than one!) is typical breakfast fare in Palakkad Iyer homes. These dumplings are made from soaked and coarsely powdered rice, which are then steamed cooked, making for a tasty, healthy and filling meal.

Normally when we say kozhakkattai, the first thing that comes to most minds familiar with this food, is the steamed rice dumpling filled with a jaggery-coconut mixture. This kozhakkattai is usually made during the festival of Vinayaka Chathurthi.
Uppuma kozhakkatai (as the name tells you) is also a steamed dumpling but shaped after making an "Uppuma" from coarsely powdered rice.

It is slightly time consuming to make these kozhakkattai, but given modern day conveniences, they can made in 2 or 3 stages which makes the whole process much easier. I tend to serve them for Sunday breakfast, and sometimes as part of dinner when we have friends over.


1 glass raw rice*

1 1/2 tsp oil

1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1 1/2 tsp black gram lentil (urad dal)

1 1/2 tsp Bengal gram lentils (chana dal)

2 dried red chillies, each broken into 3 pieces

a big pinch of asafetida powder

a sprig of curry leaves

1/3 glass fresh grated coconut

salt to taste

1 tbsp sesame seed oil

*Please scroll down to the end of the page to see what 1 "glass" measures as.

Raw rice (pachcha arishi) is untreated/ unprocessed rice, or shelled but uncooked rice hence the "raw" prefix. This is different from boiled, par-boiled or steamed rice.
Uppuma kozhakattai can also be made with boiled rice, but the texture would be different. Please do not use Basmati rice to make this. It doesn't make good kozhakkattais.


Wash and soak the rice in water for about 3 hours. Drain the water and put the rice on a large kitchen towel. Using your fingers, spread the rice out on a towel in a thin layer. This ensures that the extra moisture is pulled up by the towel. Leave the rice on the towel for about half an hour.

Coarsely powdered rice/ Rice rava

Then run the rice in a mixer/ grinder so that the rice is coarsely powdered in to a "rava". Do not grind into a fine powder. Please see the picture above.

Sieve the powdered rice, to remove the very fine particles. Keep the coarse rice powder aside. The fine rice powder can be lightly roasted (it can get spoiled if it is damp) and stored for some other use in the kitchen.
You may do this part of the recipe a day or two in advance. Store the coarsely powdered rice, in an airtight container, in the fridge.

Heat the 1 1/2 tsp oil in a big pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the lentils and stir fry till they turn golden brown. Now add the red chillies, curry leaves and asafetida powder.

Stir once and then add about 1 1/2 glasses of water for every 1 glass of coarse powdered rice. In this recipe, you should have about 2 glasses of coarsely powdered rice, so that means 3 glasses of water. This is the proportion that works for the rice that I use. This proportion of powdered rice to water can differ a little, depending on the rice you use.

If you are not sure how much water your particular variety of rice will require, you can start out with a ratio of 1: 1 1/2 of powdered rice: water. Keep a pan of water boiling on the other burner. If your rice has absorbed all the water you added and is still looking undercooked (put some in your mouth and if it still tastes raw), then add 1/2 a glass of boiling water at a time till the rice mixture seems cooked. I don't think any rice would need more than a 1: 3 ratio of water and about 1: 2 should work in most cases.

The rice "uppuma"

Add the salt and coconut, and allow this water to come to a boil. Once the water has started boiling, turn down the heat to medium. At this point add the coarsely powdered rice and keep stirring using your spoon to break up any lumps which may form.

Keep stirring until the mixture thickens and starts pulling away from the sides of the pan. This should take about 10 minutes or so. Now add the 1 tbsp of sesame seed oil, and keep stirring till the mixture becomes a cohesive lump/ ball. Take it off the heat and, using the spoon, break up the mixture a bit to allow it to cool faster. This is the "uppuma" part of this kozhakkattai.

Once the dough is cool enough to handle, knead the mixture well so it is smooth and not lumpy. Using your hands, gather up as much of the mixture as you can in your hand and shape it into an egg-shaped and sized dumpling. Shape all the mixture into dumplings.

If you are planning to break up this recipe into stages, you can make this the second stage of the recipe. Place the dumplings in a covered container and refrigerate. I usually do this at night if I'm serving the kozhakkattai for breakfast, on in the morning if they're to be served for dinner.

Steamed and ready to be served

Make sure the water in your steamer (whatever you use to steam food) is boiling. Steam cook the dumplings till they're done, which is about 10 to 15 minutes. You know they are done when you touch them, and they're no longer sticky.

Let the dumplings cool a bit (or they will be too soft and may break while removing) and then remove. Serve warm or at room temperature with sambhar or a coconut chutney of your choice. My personal favourite is kozhakkattais with milagaipodi.
This recipe makes about 12 kozhakkattais.

Onion-Carrot-Coconut Chutney

Here is one of the many coconut chutneys I make to serve with breakfast. A bit different from the traditional coconut chutney, the addition of the onion and carrot not only gives it a faintly sweet taste but allows me to cut down on the amount of coconut.

You can also cut down the coconut further (by half) by adding some toasted/ browned split gram or split chickpeas. This is not the ordinary chickpeas and I'm sure exactly what the English name for it is, but this gram is known as "pottukadalai" in Tamil and I believe "daria dal" in Hindi.


1 medium sized onion

1 medium sized carrot

1/2 cup fresh grated coconut

1 or 2 green chillies (according to taste)

a very small handful of fresh coriander

a small piece of tamarind (or about 1/4- 1/2 tsp tamarind paste)

salt to taste

For tempering:
1 1/2 tsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds


Grind all the ingredients (except those for the tempering) together, adding a little bit of water, into a fine paste which is not too thick or too watery. Remove from the mixer/ grinder/ blender bowl into a small serving bowl.
Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, pour this into the chutney, mix well and serve.
This chutney serves 3 to 4.


Prathibha said...

Oh I tried them in my kitchen long time back...frankly dint like this much,from then I did not make this again...
however they look yummy..

Bergamot said...

Whoa... it's really time consuming. I had this at a colleagues place. Really nice. Yours looks equally scrumptious.The chutney is tempting too.

Raaga said...

Lovely... one of my favourite snacks :)


A 2 Z Vegetarian Cuisine said...

Looks delicious, my Mom makes it every week. But didn't know it can look so beautiful until i saw your photo. Such a beautiful click.

Parita said...

I have heard of these but never made one, sounds very healthy and fulfilling, love the onion and carrot chutney, delicious combination aparna!

sangi said...

sounds sooo delicious&healthy dear!
xllnt presentation!!!

Vani said...

My hostel cook used to make this for breakfast - one of his few dishes that I actually looked forward to! Looks wonderful, A!

http://myerecipecorner.blogspot.com said...

Oh i am missing these divine foods. You have many interesting recipes. Great!

Curry Leaf said...

Wow.I like it Aparna.I had eaten it only a few times and am yet to try it myself,but still I like it.Looks inviting

Kitchen Flavours said...

Oh wow....that's an awesome breakfast.....uppuma looks yum with that chutney.....

Home Cooked Oriya Food said...

Lot of work but I am sure worth it...

LG said...

we call it billekadubu and love to have it for breakfast. Good One Aparna.

Ria said...

I am an upma fan! So this twist will be a definite hit with me! :)They really look yum!

Priya Narasimhan said...

Nice one Aparna..with detailed steps..My MIL also prepares this and its a favourite at our home too.. :-)

lata raja said...

Hi Aparna, It is all time favourites in most brahmin households.I make these by powdering rice that is not soaked. I loved your chutney,Will try that with upma kozhukkattai.

Arfi Binsted said...

I've never made these. I would still want my bowl of fruit salad and yogurt for breakfast. This looks nice, though.

Hari Chandana said...

Wow.. sounds too good.. looks delicious and very tempting.. wonderful clicks!!

Janaki said...

this is one of my favourite palaharams. though i dont get time to powder the rice n keep. I have been successful in making it with the double horse puttu podi itself ;.). But the coarse texture for the dish only comes if we powder the rice at home.

carrot chutney definetly looks really colorful and yummy.

jayasri said...

hi aparna, Oh! you remind me of my periayamma and my & my MIL who always used to have processed rice flour in the house for all kind of rice related recipes, I used to do it like this when I was in India, now I have adaopted my friends method, who taught me an easy way of making this with raw rice, I do make this now & then not very often Of course, I haven't explained so much as you have done!, I have posted this in my blog and I have called it kadabu i think!, & in asian stores here pottukadalai is sold as split roasted gram or daria dal or chutney dal. Your dumplings yummy than the ones i have made i think. and one more thing thank you for writing to me, I will keep in touch with you for any troubles i get into !! & for all the other thingss too...

Vaishali said...

Aparna, my husband who's Tamil loves kozhakattai but I have yet to make it at home. Thanks for your recipe and detailed instructions. They look delicious.

Divya Vikram said...

Looks authentic and yummy!Love the chutney too.

Vidya said...

Love these steaming beauties for breakfast. Yummy carrot chutney. Nice coincidence, my mom just made some rice flour over the weekend for upma kozhukkattai because I usually don't get time to get the flour ready.

She also makes paruppukozhukkattai which is another of our favorite.

Aparna said...

Seems to be another favourite with everyone, just like with us.
Its not very complicated to make, I guess my post is a bit detailed and long! :)

I didn't know that, LG.

You can do that, Lata?

Thanks Arfi. This is our kind of traditional breakfast.

Really Janaki? I never thought of using puttu podi for this.

Thanks, Jayasri.

Maybe you can surprise him, Vaishali.

Never made paruppu kozhakkottai, Vidy. Shall try that too.