Beetroot Ammini Kozhukattai
THEME: #211 NATURALLY COLOURFUL
Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to all my friends, family and followers.
This year, there is an emphasis on natural and environmentally friendly ways of celebrating this important festival. That led to me think why not extend this to making naturally colored food as the next theme for FoodieModay Bloghop group. The members had to use naturally colorful ingredients to create their dish. Whether for the festival or not it had to be naturally colored. No adding artificial colors.
I remember when my kids were young, I’d add naturally colored fruits and vegetables to make their meals more exciting. I’d add carrot puree, spinach puree, beetroot puree, turmeric powder, use strawberries, chocolate or cocoa powder, purple grapes, avocado, red cabbage, mangoes, papaya, pineapple, just to name a few.
When one puts their mind to it, it is very possible to make a kaleidoscope of naturally colorful foods by using them in their natural state or adding it to other ingredients. E.g. add spinach puree to wheat flour to make flatbreads, breads, make green patties etc.
Ammini Kozhukattai had been on my list like forever. The first time I had tasted them was when my neighbor in Bangalore sent some over to my place. I loved it, the delicious flavor of curry leaves, the dals, and chilli. A few days ago with Ganesh Chaturthi just round the corner, my blogger friend Vidya shared her colorful ammini kozhukattai, yellow, orangish red and with specs of green. It not only looks so pretty but made my mouth water. You’ll have to hop over to her recipe to check out how she made the colour kozhukattai. Her beautiful picture made me think how I can make colorful kozhukkatai. I couldn’t think beyond the lemon flavored yellow ones.
Then on Thursday went down to where the sabjiwala (vegetable vendor) comes to sell veggies and fruits. I saw beetroot and and I knew immediately that my kozhukattai are going to be pink and not yellow. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to at some point try out Vidya’s different flavored ones.
I must say though most Indian food processors are pretty noisy, they really do the job of blending, grinding, juicing like a charm. My Butterfly one purees vegetables into a super fine consistency in a jiffy. So the peeled beetroot was processed and instead of straining the puree to add only the juice, I decided to add the puree itself to get the deep pink colour.
What is Kozhukattai?
Its basically a rice dumpling either plain or stuffed that is steamed. It cn be sweet or savory. Kozhukkatai is usually offered to Lord Ganesha during Ganesh Chaturthi in Tamil Nadu. Aminni Kozhukattai are small round rice dumplings either sweet or savory without any filling. One can add a variety of spices in the dough or as tempering. One can add steamed rice dumplings to a mixture of nuts, jaggery, coconut, dried fruits, seeds, etc to make a sweet version.
It is an easy and famous snack especially the savory one. One can cook the rice dough, make the balls and leave them in the fridge for a day or two. Steam them when required. The ready dish stays in the fridge for 2 days and after that the dumplings begin to dry up.
As for spices, one is not limited to mustard and cumin seeds. A variety of spice blends or podis can be used. It all depends on what flavors the family loves. However, adding curry leaves is a must for the authentic taste and have you tried tempering them in ghee? Go on try it, tastes so delicious.
Basic Spice Blend:
The basic spice blend is to dry roast 1 tbsp sesame seeds, 1 tsp urad dal, 1 tbsp chana dal, 1-3 dried red chillis and 1 tbsp grated coconut. Let the mixture cool down a bit and then process it into a coarse powder. After tempering the steamed rice dumplings, add the spice powder, mix and serve.
Most of the recipes I’ve come across do not use onion or garlic. Its a vegan dish and gluten free too. So lets get to the recipe of this easy to make and healthy snack or tiffin. Here tiffin is not your regular lunch box which you carry to work or school but refers to snack.
BEETROOT AMMINI KOZHUKATTAI
Makes about 35 – 40 pieces
1 cup rice flour
1½ cup water
1 cup peeled and grated beetroot
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
¼ cup fresh grated coconut
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seed
a pinch of asafetida
2 tbsp chopped cashew nuts
2 tbsp raisins
1 sprig curry leaves
1-2 chillis, finely chopped
Preparation of the dough for ammini kozhukattai:
- Put the grated beetroot in a food processor and process it to as fine as you can without any water.
- Add water to a pan and place it over medium heat.
- Add salt and oil and allow it to come to a boil.
- Add the beetroot puree and mix well.
- Immediately also add the rice flour. Mix well.
- Take the pan off the heat.
- Allow the rice dough to cool down enough that you’re able to handle it.
Preparation of ammini kozhukattai:
- Knead the dough to a smooth consistency.
- Take about half a tsp of the dough and roll it into a ball. It should not have any cracks. If it does add about a tablespoon or so of water and mix.
- Roll balls in a similar fashion with the remaining dough.
- Put your steamer on medium heat with some water in the bottom pan. I used an idli steamer, but you can use any steamer you have.
- Grease the idli plate lightly with oil.
- Arrange the balls in each cavity. Do not over crowd it.
- Place the plate in the steamer over the boiling water. The tray should not touch the water.
- Cover and steam the kozhukattai for 10 minutes.
- Remove the plate from the steamer.
Preparation of the tempering:
- Heat oil over medium heat in a wide pan.
- Add mustard seeds. As soon as they begin to sizzle, add asafetida.
- The add the curry leaves, chopped chillis and mix till the leaves appear a bit crispy.
- Add chopped cashew nuts, raisins and grated coconut.
- Stir fry for a few seconds. Add the rolled balls or dumplings.
- Mix gently, let the ammini kozhukattai become hot.
- Serve immediately.
- The amount of water required will depend entirely on the quality of the rice flour.
- To make plain ones omit the beetroot puree.
- Don’t overcook the dough as it will make rolling it into balls difficult.
- Don’t over steam the kozhukattai otherwise they will taste a bit hard.
- Add spices of your choice.
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