Sweet Kozhukattai | Chana Dal Modak

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Come Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra, come of the most favorite sweets of Lord Ganesha, the Modak. The 10-day long extravaganza is laced with the aroma and warmth of these jaggery-coconut stuffed rice flour dumplings, which become the Sweet Kozhukattai recipe down south popular during Vinayaka Chaturthi. This South Indian variation of modak is almost similar in its looks. But inside, is a filling of chana dal (Bengal Gram), coconut and jaggery. Hence, also known as the Chana Dal Modak.

sweet kozhukattai served on a white plate with text layover.

About Sweet Kozhukattai

As I mentioned before, the Sweet Kozhukattai recipe involves the modak making process and methodology, similar to that of the quintessential Maharashtrian Ukadiche Modak. With just the stuffing being distinct, as the Chana Dal Modak has an addition of an extra ingredient, the Bengal gram or chana dal.

However, there is another original version of this sweet Chana Dal Modak, the traditional Kozhukattai, which has a stuffing of only coconut and jaggery. Thus, the ukadiche modak from South India. I usually make modaks with this basic stuffing, but since the time I’ve known about the Sweet Kozhukattai, I’ve also started making chana dal modaks quite often.

Typically, a modak is the steamed, stuffed sweet dumpling that has an outer covering of rice flour. Hence, the Marathi ukadiche modak. Also, the Dry Fruits Modak, Kozhukattai and Sweet Kozhukattai recipe well-known in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, etc.

But then there can be other variations to these classic ones like a Fried Modak or even a Mango Modak, Mawa Modak and the likes. These days you can really find modaks and kozhukattais with some unique fillings, which may or may not be steamed.

Preparing modaks does take some time. So, either you can involve a help or prepare when all your remaining household work is over. If you plan to offer the sweet Chana Dal Modak as a naivedyam to Lord Ganesha, then don’t taste them while preparing. Always use fresh ingredients and make them with a devotional state of mind and heart.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Sweet Kozhukattai

Cooking chana dal

1. Rinse ½ cup chana dal a couple of times in water.

rinsing chana dal.

2. Then, add the lentils in a pressure cooker along with 1 cup water. Pressure cook for 10 to 12 minutes on medium heat. 

The cooking time depends on the quality of dal. If chana dal cooks faster, then add ⅔ to ¾ cup water while pressure cooking.

pressure cooked chana dal.

3. When the pressure settles down naturally, open the lid and check the dal. If the dal has not softened, then you can pressure cook for a few more minutes. 

If there is a lot of water in the dal, then in a strainer, strain the dal and mash. There was hardly any water in the pressure cooker after the dal was cooked. So, I directly mashed the dal in the pressure cooker.

mashing pressure cooked chana dal.

4. Mash the dal well. Some fine bits of whole chana dal are fine. Keep aside.

mashed chana dal.

Preparing stuffing mixture

5. In another pan, take ½ cup tightly packed grated or chopped jaggery or jaggery powder and ¼ cup water.

chopped jaggery and water added to a pan for chana dal modak.

6. Keep the pan on stovetop and on a low flame, heat the solution. Stir so that the jaggery melts.

stirring the jaggery solution.

7. Simmer till the jaggery is completely melted. Just melt the jaggery. No need to thicken the syrup.

melted jaggery syrup for chana dal modak.

8. Now, through a strainer, filter the syrup and keep aside.

filtering jaggery syrup through a strainer.

9. Take the mashed chana dal in a pan. Add the jaggery syrup.

filtered jaggery syrup added to the mashed chana dal.

10. Then, add ⅓ cup grated fresh coconut.

grated fresh coconut added to the chana dal-jaggery mixture.

11. Mix everything very well.

ingredients mixed very well chana dal modak.

12. Keep the pan on stovetop and on low heat, cook this mixture.

cooking chana dal-jaggery-coconut mixture in a pan on low heat.

13. On low heat, stirring at times, cook the mixture till it starts thickening.

cooking chana dal-jaggery-coconut mixture till it thickens.

14. The mixture will begin to leave the sides of the pan and become dry. Stir often.

chana dal-jaggery-coconut mixture leaving the sides of the pan.

15. This is the time when you need to switch off the heat. Remember not to overcook the mixture as it will become dense. The mixture also should not be too moist, otherwise it will be difficult to stuff the modaks with it.

cooked stuffing mixture for chana dal modak.

16. Add ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder and mix well. Let this mixture cool down.

cardamom powder added to the cooked stuffing mixture.

Preparing dough

17. In a pan or vessel, take 1.5 cups water. Place it on a stovetop on medium to high heat.

heating water in a pan.

18. Then, add ¼ teaspoon salt.

adding salt to the heating water in pan.

19. Next, add ¼ teaspoon sesame oil.

adding sesame oil to the heating salted water.

20. Allow the water to come to a rolling boil.

boiling water for chana dal modak.

21. Reduce the heat and add 1 cup rice flour, gradually.

rice flour added in the boiling water.

22. Quickly begin to stir and mix the flour with water.

mixing the rice flour with the hot water.

23. Stir till all the rice flour is mixed with the water.

stirring the rice flour with the hot water.

24. Mix very well and switch off the heat.

rice flour mixed well with the hot water.

25. Cover the pan with a lid and keep for 4 to 5 minutes.

rice flour mixture kept for sometime in a covered pan.

26. Then, transfer the mixture to a thali or plate or you can keep in the same pan.

rice flour mixture for chana dal modak.

27. Allow the mixture to slightly cool down. Knead it while it is still warm. But take care not to burn your fingers.

kneading the rice flour mixture into a dough.

28. The dough should be soft and smooth. Cover it with a damp muslin or cotton cloth. Allow the dough to rest for 10 to 12 minutes.

prepared soft and smooth rice flour dough.

Making Sweet Kozhukattai

29. Make small balls from the dough. They should be smooth. Some may get cracks, so just rub some water on your palm and shape them into balls again to get rid of the cracks.

smooth balls made from the rice flour dough.

30. Grease the modak mould with a bit of sesame oil. Close or lock the mould.

modak mould greased with some sesame oil.

31. Put a dough ball in the greased mould.

dough ball added in the greased mould.

32. Press the dough along the surface of the mould, so that a cavity or space is made.

making a cavity in the dough.

33. Add the prepared chana dal stuffing.

prepared stuffing mixture added in the cavity.

34. Then, cover with a small piece of dough on top. Press to even it.

stuffing mixture covered with a small portion of dough on top and pressed.

35. Open or unlock the mould. Gently remove the modak from the mould. Alternatively, you can flatten the ball. Then place the modak filling in the center. Make small pleats bring all the edges together and join. Prepare all the modaks this way.

mould unlocked to get the modak.

36. You can either use a steamer pan or use a pressure cooker to steam the modaks. Pressure cook for 8 to 10 minutes on low heat without the whistle/vent. If using a steamer pan, add 2.5 cups water to the steamer.

Let the water come to a boil. Keep the modaks on a greased steamer plate or on greased idli moulds. Now place the moulds in the steamer pan. You can also steam in batches. I steamed in 2 batches.

prepared modaks kept in a steamer pan for steaming.

37. Cover the pan with a lid and steam for 10 to 15 minutes on low heat.

steaming modaks in covered steamer pan.

38. Once the modaks are steamed, remove and keep aside.

steamed modaks.

39. Sweet Kozhukattai is ready to be offered to Lord Ganesha.

sweet kozhukattai served on a white plate with text layover.

Expert Tips

  1. You can add more jaggery in this Sweet Kozhukattai recipe, if you wish to.
  2. It is best you soak the chana dal for an hourish, and then cook it.
  3. To make this Chana Dal Modak, you can cook the chana dal in a pan as well. Soak the lentils for 1 hour. Then, cook in a pan/pot with 1 to 1.5 cups water till the grains are softened.
  4. Shaping the modaks using a mould is easier. But if you feel you want to shape them with your hands and are good at it, go ahead that way.
  5. For steaming the modaks, you can either use a steamer pan or even a pressure cooker.
  6. Best is to consume the modaks fresh, the same day they are prepared.

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sweet kozhukattai

sweet kozhukattai

Sweet kozhukattai is a South Indian recipe variation of modak made with a stuffing of chana dal, coconut and jaggery.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Cuisine South Indian
Course Sweets
Servings 18 to 20 modaks
Units

Ingredients

for cooking chana dal

  • ½ cup chana dal (husked split bengal gram) or 120 grams chana dal
  • 1 cup water for pressure cooking

cooking the sweet stuffing

  • cup grated coconut
  • ½ cup tightly packed grated or chopped jaggery or jaggery powder tightly packed or 120 grams jaggery powder
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder (choti elaichi powder) or seeds of 3 green cardamons – powdered in mortar-pestle

for the rice dough

  • 1 cup Rice Flour or 125 grams rice flour
  • 1.5 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sesame oil (til ka tel)

Instructions
 

cooking chana dal

  • Rinse chana dal a couple of times in water. Then add the lentils in a pressure cooker along with 1 cup water.
  • Pressure cook for 10 to 12 minutes on medium flame. Cooking time depends on quality of dal. If chana dal cooks faster, then add ⅔ to ¾ cup water while pressure cooking.
  • When the pressure settles on its own in the cooker, open the lid and check the dal. If the dal has not softened then you can pressure cook for a few more minutes.
  • If there is a lot of water in the dal, then in a strainer, strain the dal and then mash. There was hardly any water in the pressure cooker after the dal was cooked, so I directly mashed the dal in the pressure cooker.
  • Mash the dal well. Some fine bits of whole chana dal are fine. Keep aside.

preparing the sweet stuffing for modak

  • In another pan take ½ cup tightly packed grated or chopped jaggery or jaggery powder and ¼ cup water.
  • Keep the pan on stove top and on a low flame heat the solution. Stir so that the jaggery melts.
  • Simmer till all the jaggery is melted. Just melt the jaggery. No need to thicken the syrup.
  • Now through a strainer, filter the syrup and keep aside.
  • Now take the mashed chana dal in a pan. Add the jaggery syrup.
  • Then add ⅓ cup grated coconut.
  • Mix everything very well.
  • Keep the pan on stove top and on a low flame, cook this mixture.
  • On a low heat, stirring at times, cook the filling till it starts thickening.
  • The mixture will begin to leave the sides of the pan and become dry.
  • Thats the time when you need to switch off the flame. Do remember not to overcook the mixture as it will become dense.
  • Lastly add ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder and mix well. Let this mixture cool down.

preparing the rice dough for modak

  • In a pan or vessel take 1.5 cups of water. Place it on a stove top on a medium to high flame.
  • Then add ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon sesame oil.
  • Allow the water to come to a rolling boil.
  • Reduce the flame and then add 1 cup rice flour gradually.
  • Quickly begin to stir and mix the flour with water. Mix very well and switch off the gas.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and keep for 4 to 5 mins.
  • Then transfer the mixture to a thali or plate or you can keep in the same pan.
  • Allow the dough to slightly cool down. Knead the dough while its still warm but take care not to burn your fingers.
  • The dough should be soft and smooth. Then cover the dough with a damp muslin or cotton cloth. Now allow the dough to rest for 10 to 12 mins.

assembling and stuffing the modaks

  • Later make small balls from the dough. They should be smooth. Some may get cracks, so just rub some water on your palm and shape them into balls again which will get rid of the cracks.
  • Grease the modak mould with a bit of oil. Close or lock the mould. Put the dough ball in the mould.
  • Press the dough along the surface of the mould, so that a cavity or space is made.
  • Add the chana dal stuffing.
  • Then cover with small piece of dough on top. Press to even it.
  • Now open or unlock the mould. Gently remove the modak from the mould. Alternatively you could flatten the ball.
  • Then place the modak filling in the center. Make small pleats bring all the edges together and join. Prepare all the modaks this way.
  • Either you could use a steamer pan or you could steam the modaks in a pressure cooker for 8 to 10 mins on low flame without the whistle and vent.
  • If using a steamer pan then add 2.5 cup of water to the steamer. Let the water come to a boil. Keep the modaks on a greased steamer plate or on greased idli moulds. Now place the moulds into the steamer pan.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and steam for 10 to 15 minutes on a low flame.
  • Once the modaks are steamed remove and keep aside.
  • The sweet kozhukattai are ready to be offered to lord ganesha.

Notes

– can add more jaggery if required.
– chana dal can be soaked for an hour and then cooked.
– you can also cook chana dal in a pan. Just soak the lentils for 1 hour and then cook them in a pot or pan with 1 to 1.5 cups water till they are softened.

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6 Comments

  1. Hi, wanted to inform you that while going through the recipe automatically i go to top of recipe after few seconds. its not easy to go through the recipe easily when again n again i have to come down to read the recipe. I am noy sure if its only for me or for everyone who goes through. so please take care of this issue.

    1. surya, no reader has yet told us anything about this issue. it could be due to some bug in the mobile browser or desktop browser. thanks for letting me know. i did check and could not find this happening on both computer as well as mobile.

  2. My favorite recipe. That mould is something new for me, though I am not sure if I will be getting it here in the local market.

    1. thanks puja. the modak mould is purchased from amazon.in
      you can buy from there if you want.