Ammini Kozhukattai, A Beginners Dumpling From Tamil Nadu
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No matter where you go in the world, you’ll find some dishes made with fried or steamed dough. China has dumplings, Poland has pierogies and in India, there are a number of dough-based snacks to explore. In the south, one of the most iconic is Kozhukattai. Though this is their Tamilian name, they are also known as kozhukatta in Malayalam, kudumulu in Telugu, and kadubu in Kannada but in essence, they share the same make-up Rice batter filled with a variety of sweet or savoury stuffings. 

According to legend, Kozhukattai have been around for centuries and Lord Ganesha was supposed to have gorged on them. You may be more familiar with them as modaks, as they’re more often called in the West of India. In the south, they are served during Ganesh Chaturthi as an offering to Ganpati but they’re aalso a staple for Syrian Christian households in Kerala for Palm Sunday where they represent the stones thrown at Jesus during the cruxifictoin. 

These celebratory Kozhukuttais are usually of the sweet variety, but the savoury version is eaten year-round as a snack and kids will often find them in their tiffins or as an evening snack after school. The savoury version, called Ammini Kozhukuttai, are made using balls of leftover steamed rice dough tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves and finished with a dry masala. They’re really a beginner level dumpling as they require no filling or fancy folds to create a delicious and tasty treat.  


Lentil Masala

  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 2 tsp chana dal
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 2 tsp fresh shredded coconut


  • 1 Cup Plain Rice Flour
  • 1.5 Cups Water
  • 1 tsp Vegetable Oil
  • ½ tsp Salt


  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves


  • Dry roast the dried red chillies, sesame seeds, urad dal and chana dal on a low flame till the lentils are golden. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  • Grind all the ingredients with some coconut into a fine powder. 
  • In a pan add the rice flour and roast for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  • In a pressure cooker add 1½ cups of water, 1 tsp of oil and a tsp of salt. Cook for one whistle and then release the pressure. 
  • Add the roasted flour and stir to combine, cover and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  • Mix the dough and when comfortable to touch, shape it into little balls.
  • Steam these balls for 15 minutes and then let them rest covered for 10 minutes. 
  • In a pan, heat the sesame oil and then add the mustard seeds and curry leaves.
  • Let them splutter before adding the dough balls and dry masala, toss to coat and let them brown slightly before serving.