Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Elai Adai/Ilai Kozhukattai

I love traditional recipes. Nowadays apart from those dishes made on festivals and special occasions we generally resort to junk food for our daily snacks. I try my best to keep munchies mostly home made. One such search led me to this healthy and tasty Kozhukattai as I would call it!
I remember my dad talking about this kozhukattai when his aunt used to make this in large quantities (My father has 6 siblings) for evening snacks as they get their first batch of fresh karupatti (palm jaggery). Few years later,my Athai (dad’s sis) told about the same dish describing that they would suck out the adai without opening the banana leaves wrapped around. It was a family favorite. I seriously wanted to taste the dish as I love anything made with Karupatti. But I couldn’t and I didn’t know why even my mother has never ever tried them. So when I started cooking there were few recipes in First-To-Do list and recipe was one of them. I tried and it came out perfect. I have 2 versions. For now I have shared the batter-jaggery (vellam) version. Later I will post the Dough-Palm Jaggery(karupatti) version. After surfing in the net I found that in kerala they make it with jack fruit jam which I am yet to try. The mild scent of those banana leaves in the Kozhukattai surely takes it to another level. You can also trrry it with arasa elai if you can get some.

For Batter:
Raw rice-1/2 cup
Idly Rice-1/2 cup
Salt-a pinch
For Stuffing:
Coconut-1 cup
Jaggery-3/4 cup
Cardamom-4, powdered
Nut Meg powder- a pinch
For Steaming:
Banana leaves-as needed
Ghee- For greasing
How It Happened:
1. Soak both the rice together for 3 hours and grind them to a smooth paste. The batter should be thicker than the dosa batter. Add salt mix and set aside.
2. Take the powdered jaggery in a pan add ¼ cup of water and keep stirring in medium flame until all the jaggery is dissolved.

3. Now you can filter them and again add them to the sauce pan and add in the coconut and mix well. Let it cook in medium flame for 10 minutes. Keep stirring.
4. When most of the water has evaporated add the cardamom and nutmeg powder and mix well and cook for 3 minutes.
5. The mixture should not be too thick like that off a pooranam but shouldn’t be runny as well. Set aside.(see picture)

6. Now slightly roast the washed banana leaves so they get wilted and wouldn’t tear while folding.
7. Take a banana leaf, slight grease the surface with ghee, pour a small ladle of batter spread it thin, but do not overspread else they will spill while folding.
8. Now carefully spread in a spoonful of the stuffing in the middle of the batter.
9. Slowly fold in the sides of the banana leaf like a rectangular parcel and slide it in a steaming plate. Line the steaming plate with 4 or 5 of the parcels and steam them for 7-10 minutes.
10. Once when they are cooked, transfer to a plate and serve it hot.
* Remove the mid rib of the banana leaf else it will be hard to fold them also they might tear apart. Try not to get too dark green leaves as they are old and stiff they might just tear when folding.
* You can skip the filtering part if your jaggery is pure and also while heating always stand by and keep stirring else they might burn and turn bitter.
* when you spread the batter, spread them thin but also see to that the banana leaf isn’t visible in between the batter spread.
* Add more stuffing than you normally do as it is supposed to have equal amount of batter and stuffing in it,
*Only the batter needs to be cooked and as the batter is thin it takes less than 10 minutes to get cooked. If you cook for a long time, the outer part will become hard and chewy.

* While serving just serve with the banana leaf. Let the eater open it. It gets them excited and also the flavors are kept intact. Tastes best when served hot. If it gets cold, simply steam them for a minute or two before serving.