Paal kozhukkattai

Aah! This sweet dish immediately takes me back to my college days, when my mother would make this frequently.  Why? This was my Guru, Vidwan N. Gopala Iyer’s favourite. I would come back from college and my Guru would be waiting for my arrival (such was his dedication and commitment) and the aroma of paal kozhukattai would be wafting through the air. 

It is one of the traditional sweet dishes and you don’t see it too often at the dining tables these days. Yes, it is a not a quick dish to prepare but it is fairly straightforward, though somewhat time consuming. However, I can guarantee that you will love the finished product.

For the kozhukattai 

White rice – 1 cup (I used basmati)
Grated coconut – 1 tbsp
Sesame oil – 2 tsp
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Milk – 2 tbsp

For the payasam
Coconut -1 large
Milk – 1 cup
Jaggery – 1 cup
Powdered cardamom – 1/4 tsp

Soak the rice for an hour and then grind smoothly with sufficient water. Don’t worry about the quantity of water as it has to be cooked. Put this dough in a kadai, add 2 tbsp of milk, coconut, salt and 1 tsp sesame oil. The addition of milk to the rice dough gives it a very nice texture and the kozhukattais will turn out soft and tasty. Put it on the stove at low heat and keep stirring till it is solidifies well. Remove from stove and allow it to cool. Knead with your hands and the remaining sesame oil till it is almost like chapati dough. Roll into small balls (size of small marbles) and keep aside covered with a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out. 

In another pot put the jaggery and add 1/2 cup of water and set on stove. Once the jaggery is all dissolved take it off the stove and keep it aside. Don’t allow it to boil for too long. 

Cut the coconut into small pieces or grate it and add 1.5 cups of water and grind well. Strain this and keep this first coconut milk aside. This will be very thick milk. To the coconut pulp add another 1.5 cups of water and repeat. This coconut milk is the second one and will be less thick than the first cup. Now add another 1.5 cups of water to the coconut pulp and grind again and remove the milk which will be watery. 

On the stove set a pot and add the most dilute coconut milk and let it come to a boil. Once it boils add all the kozhukattai balls and let them cook well. Stir gently and once they float to the top you will know that they are all cooked. The colour of the kozhukattai also changes from white to translucent. Once they are cooked, add the jaggery water carefully, so any impurities in the jaggery stay at the bottom. Continue cooking till most of the water has evaporated. Now add the second cup of coconut milk and continue cooking for a while. After a few minutes add the thick first coconut milk and the regular milk along with the cardamom powder. Your pal kozhukattai is ready. It will be thick and creamy with the delicious soft kozhukattais floating around. Serves 6

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