Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Kuchida Kadubu - may be you know me as Kozukattai or Kolakatte?

What is in a name? Everything if you ask me. I can be blissfully ignorant to the mention of a kozukattai while the word kuchida kadubu makes me drool and salivate without any shame :-). With Ganesha Chaturthi this week, there are hundreds of versions of Kozukattais as they are called in Tamil Nadu and there are umpteen number of Kudumulu - a close relative in the same genre as they are called in Andhra Pradesh. If you want to go International, look up momos and dumplings. I will stick to my own Kuchida kadubu which is a steam cooked kadubu made for either Ganesha chaturthi or Nagara Panchami in Kannadiga homes.

As I said before, Gowri-Ganesha festivals used to be the biggest celebrations at home and in the community for us as kids. While we didn't have much to do other than dress up, participate in the pooje and eat and eat more of the goodies, parents had a lot to do in terms of planning the festival. By the time of these festivals, nammamma already used to be inundated with lot of other poojas and preparations during the previous month of Shravana and her entire family would have already started to resemble little Ganeshas with all the festive food. So she used to intersperse high calorie with lower calorie options, mix and match laborious preparations with easier ones and find a balance. She never told me this so it could be my imagination but I have seen my mother at the peak of her organizational skills and I honestly think a lot of planning went into it.

Just for the fun of it, I googled kuchida kadubu last week and came up with hits I could count on the fingers of one of my hands. Then I typed in Kozukattai and I was looking at oodles of search results - traditional recipes, new twists and everything else in between. So I decided to pay a tribute to this delicious dish I grew up eating and use the name I am familiar with though it may sound strange to a lot of you if you haven't heard it before. There is a little bit of work involved but nothing you can't pull off for a healthy, tasty breakfast.

If I were to demystify this strange named dish and were to introduce it to someone, I would say it is 'shuffled up' idli. Let me explain why - what does the traditional, authentic idli have for ingredients? -rice and urad dal. How is a traditional idli cooked? - by steaming. Bingo. Kuchida Kadubu has rice and urad dal in it and is also steamed but instead of grinding rice with urad dal, it is made into a cover to hold the dal. Innovative? I would think so. The end result is not the bland idli one is used to but an artistic presentation of the same ingredients in a form that feasts your eyes and palate.

Nammamma made this with moong dal & chana dal fillings sometimes with minor variations though the version I have below was by far the best loved and favorite of all in the family. If made on the Ganesha festival day, Nammamma also made sweet kuchida kadubu with coconut & jaggery filling but I skipped it since I made Hayagreeva this time.
What do you need to make Kuchida kadubu? 
Makes about 20 kuchida kadubus
For stuffing: 
1 cup urad dal
2-3 green chilies
1 inch piece of ginger
5-7 curry leaves - chopped fine
1 Tsp salt
2 Tblsp chopped fresh coconut (optional, highly recommended for the crunch)
2 Tblsp chana dal
1/4 Tsp freshly ground pepper
For outer covering:
1.5 cups rice flour (use home made flour preferably or store bought idiyappam flour)
1 Tblsp rice flour for dusting
3 cups water
1/2 Tsp salt
2 drops oil

How do you make Kuchida Kadubu? 
Stuffing Preparation: 
  • Wash urad dal in two changes of water, soak it in 3 cups of water for 4-5 hours. 
  • Drain the water out and grind it with as little water as possible (just like you would grind for idli) along with ginger and green chilies until you get a smooth, slightly foamy dough.
  • Take it out into a bowl, if preparing the previous evening, add washed chana dal to the dough, cover and refrigerate. 
  • If using immediately, wash and pre soak chana dal for about an hour and mix it into the ground urad dal paste. 
  • Add salt, pepper, curry leaves, chopped coconut and mix it well. 
Outer covering preparation: 
  • Bring 3 cups of water to a gentle boil along with salt and 2 drops of oil. 
  • Add the rice flour and mix it with a wooden spatula quickly so it forms a mass without any lumps. 
  • Cover and cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes, switch off and let rest for 5 minutes. 
  • Take the dough out on to a flat surface, knead it into a smooth dough and divide into small key lime size balls. Put the prepared balls back into a vessel and keep them covered with a wet dish cloth. 
  • Take one ball at a time and roll it into thin (1 mm) circle dusting with dry rice flour as needed, put them in a plate and keep covered with another wet dish cloth until ready to use. 
Assembly & cooking Kuchida Kadubu:
  • Get your pressure cooker or steamer ready to go.
  • Take a rolled out rice flour circle, spoon a Tblsp of the stuffing in the center, spread it out gently and fold the circle to bring one edge over the other. 
  • The edges do not need to be sealed, we kind of refer to this as the overloaded Ganesha's tummy, gently place one end of the circle on top of the other. 
  • Arrange these in vessels and steam them for 20 minutes. 
  • Switch off and let the kadubu rest for a few minutes before taking them out with a gentle nudge from the back of a spoon or a butter knife. 
  • Enjoy these milky white marvels with some coconut chutney on the side. 
Making rice flour at home: 
The rice flour used in this recipe is the same as the one used in making ottu shavige or bili rotti. You can prepare it in bulk. Wash 2 cups of rice a couple of times, drain the water and spread it on a thin dish cloth, keep it indoors in shade and let it lose all moisture. Make a fine powder of this rice, sieve it to get the fine powder and return big crumbs back to the mixer. Stored in air tight containers, this stays for a couple of months easily. 
Alternatively use the store bought idiyappam flour (I bring Nirapara brand) which works very well.
  • The stuffing is not a dry stuffing, it is slightly thicker than the idli dough in consistency. 
  • It is very important to keep the outer covering dough moist and soft. Make sure your knead it well - dough should not show any marks, breaks on it. Keep it covered with a wet dish cloth on both the balls to be rolled and the rolled out discs. 
  • If you are in a hurry and want to avoid making the outer cover altogether, follow this short cut - Use a banana leaf or an aluminium foil cut into small rectangles (2X3inches) and fold them over the stuffing. You will have to peel the leaf or the foil before eating though. 


rajani shashank said...

In karnataka we prepare this without the outer covering. using the idli batter with all the masalas as you have mentioned and folding the plantain leaf to give a kadubu shape and steam it. Its called Hasikadubu. Try it sometime.

Nagashree said...

Thanks for stopping by Rajani, hasi kadubu sounds very similar to my masala or tatte idli. Amma always made this with the covering and the stuffin didn't have rice. As I said in my notes, you can use banana leaf to fold this stuffing too.

Smitha Kalluraya said...

nandu saha all time fav..
I can eat it any nos as they are oil free..I too have posted this recipe in my blog. But as u said its with leaf. nxt time ee version try madthini :)

kitchen queen said...

delicious and tempting.

Priya Suresh said...

This kuchida kadubu is completely a new dish for me, seriously am learning new dishes from u, keep on blogging like this,am loving it.

NamsVeni Pothas said...

kadubu is a traditional dish with a high health values. a good tasty and healthy recipe. every ones favorite I believe.

Vijayalakshmi Dharmaraj said...

ohh... very new and interesting recipe.. great look n must be so delicious..

Maha Gadde said...

these r so yummy n tempting..