Breakfast, Everyday Simple Recipes, Main Dish, Millet Recipes, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Steamed Barnyard Millet Dumplings (Odalu Kozhukatai)

Kodo rice milletRecently there has been a hype about health foods like quinoa. Why look at videshi options when we have plenty of easily accessible, swadeshi, and cost effective options? Ragi, bajra, jowar, kodon, and the list goes on. Our villagers survived solely on millets before rice and wheat took over. For the same reason, during those times, lifestyle diseases were unheard of and people were healthy, energetic, and lived long and strong.
Barnyard millet

Millets have much more calcium, protein, and iron than rice and wheat. These poor man’s grains are high in fiber, rich in minerals, low fat, and gluten free also. Millets are not just good for you but for the environment as well. Millets can grow in dry lands and even in poor soil quality. They need only one-fifth to one-tenth of the water that rice and wheat cultivation needs. As if these reasons werent enough, most millets are grown organically because they are naturally pest-resistant! Can you beat that?
So it is established that millets are miracle grains. Now what? How do we include them in our diet? Earlier I had written about sprouted ragi dosa and sprouted bajra dosa. To break the dosa monotony, here are steamed dumplings made of barnyard millet. Simple, easy to make, and great for health.

Barnyard Millet/Odalu/Varagarisi – 1 cup
Water – 2-1/2 cups
Onion – 1 (optional)
Carrot – 1 small (optional)
Green chilies – 3
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Grated coconut – 1/2 cup
Oil – 1 tsp
Asafetida – 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
Chana dal – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 25 mins
Serves 3-4

Wash the millet in water thoroughly. Drain and keep aside. Peel and chop onion and carrots finely. Slit the green chilies. On a thick bottom pan, pour oil and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to crackle, add urad dal and chana dal. When the dals turn red, add slit green chilies, asafetida, curry leaves, and chopped onion. When the onion turns pink, add finely chopped carrots. Saute for two minutes. Add 2-1/2 cups of water. Add salt. When the water starts boiling, stir in the washed millet. Keep stirring until it thickens. When the water has reduced and the millet, vegetable, and water mixture has become thick like upma, turn off the fire. Add the grated coconut. Mix well and let it cool. At this point the millet is half cooked.

When the cooked millet mixture has cooled down, take handfuls of the mixture and make small balls.


Place on an idli stand and steam for about 10-15 mins.

Steamed barnyard millet dumplings

I prefer serving steamed barnyard millet dumplings with sambar for a tangy combination. You can serve it with coconut chutney. Little ones can have it with sugar also.

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Breakfast, Festival Recipes, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, Snacks, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Ammini Kozhukattai (Steamed rice balls)

Soft and chewy steamed rice balls with a tadka and grated coconut. An easy and yummy snack item also made during Ganesh Chathurthi. This dish is also made on the occasion when small children start crawling and crosses the doorstep (vashal padi). Kids of this age would be teething and Ammini Kozhukkattais are a safe option to bite into, any day much better than plastic teethers.

For Dough:
Rice flour: 1 cup
Water: 2 cups
Salt as needed
Sesame oil: 1 tsp

For Seasoning:
Coconut oil: 1 tbsp
Mustard: 1 tsp
Urad dal: 1tsp
Chana dal: 1tsp
Curd chili/Red chilies: 1 or 2
Curry leaves: few
Asafetida/hing powder: ¼ tsp
Grated coconut: 1 tbsp (optional)
Milaga podi/Gun powder/Chutney powder (optional) – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

Preparation Time: 25 mins
Cooking Time: 25 mins
Makes 2 cups of ammini kozhukkattai

Heat a teaspoon of sesame oil in a wide pan. Add one cup of water and salt and bring to boil. Mix the rice flour with a cup of water and add to the boiling water. Keep stirring continuously.

When you can the dough leaves the sides of the pan and forms a thick lump, remove from the stove.

Alternatively, you can make the dough by adding boiling hot water to the rice powder, stir, and make the dough. This method is effective but you need to ensure that the water is boiling hot. The idea is to ensure that the dough is half cooked at this stage. If not, the dough will not become soft and pliable to work on.

Let the dough cool for 10 minutes. Smear a little oil in your palms and knead the dough. Take small quantities of the dough and make small marble-sized balls.

Place the rice balls in an idli tray and steam in a steamer or pressure cooker for 20 minutes. Allow to cool.

Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and crackle mustard, urad dal, chana dal and the curd chillies. When the mustard crackles, add hing and curry leaves. Add the steamed kozhukatais and stir for 5 minutes. Stir carefully ensuring that the kozhukatais do not break. Add freshly grated coconut and milagi podi (optional). Turn off and serve with coconut chutney. This is a healthy breakfast/snack item as it is steamed.

Remember to lightly grease the steamer plate/idly tray in which you arrange the ammini kozhukatai for steaming. This ensures that they don’t stick to the plate.
After the kozhukatai are steamed, turn off the heat and take out the plate/idly tray of kozhukatai. Let it cool off a bit. Wait for a couple of minutes before you touch them because they would be delicate due to all the steam and heat and tend to break easily.

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