Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thengai poorna kozhakattai

Steamed sweet dumplings made with a filling of coconut and jaggery or Thenga poorna kozhakattai is specially made on ocassions like aadi velli and pillaiyar chaturthi( ganesh chaturthi). One of the most prominent feature of hindu festivals is the neivedyam and so this poorna kozhakattai is one of the neivedyam for Lord Ganesh. That said, each and every ritual has a spiritual significance cleverly hidden and embellished with a mythological story. Some of the sifnificance and reasoning  have diluted as it has travelled from one generation to another.

Now here is an interesting story on why this is offered to Ganesha and the significance behind it which was shared by a story teller.

 There is one story that fleetingly talks about how Anusuya, wife of Sage Atri fed a kozhukattai to Ganesha to appease his hunger since he wouldn’t stop eating, while Shiva, who was patiently waiting to be served, grew hungrier and hungrier watching his son polish off everything. Funnily, as soon as Anusuya fed Ganesha the kozhukattai, both he and Shiva burped 21 times in unison; Shiva suddenly felt full, thus establishing the standard number of kozhukkattais to be offered to Ganesha as 21. While it was an interesting story,
kozhukattai has two parts: the outer layer and the inner stuffing.” “The inner stuffing or poornam is like the Paramatma or God. The outer covering is the Jivatma or the individual. The outer rice flour cover is flavoured with salt – an allusion to our senses. We get distracted by material things because our senses operate all the time and forget about the spirit—the ultimate sweetness— that lies inside. By eating a kozhukattai, we submit to Ganesha that we will consciously move towards realizing the existence of the Paramatma or the poornam. In effect, we are the kozhukattais.”

Does'nt it make more sense to make the kozhakattais now...over to the recipe.

Ingredient ( for filling)

Gratings of one big coconut
Grated jaggery – ¾ cup
Cardomam powder – 1 teaspoon

Heat the above ingredients on a kadai over medium flame till the moisture evaporates and the ingredients bind together.

Ingredients for covering:

Processed rice flour: 1 cup
Water : 1 cup
Salt : 1 teaspoon
Gingelly oil : 1 teaspoon

In a deep vessel boil the water with salt and oil. When the water starts boiling add the rice flour slowly to the boiling water without forming lumps. The dough formed should be pliable.
Cover the vessel with a lid and allow the dough to rest.

After smearing your palms with gingelly oil, take a marble sized dough and mould them into small cups with the help of your fingers.

Fill the cups with the coconut filling and close them at the top by tapering like a cone. Mould the remaining modaks and steam them in an idli plate in cooker for 10 minutes.

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