In south India, traditionally upma kozhukattais (steamed oval shaped broken rice dumplings) are made with broken rice and they are very popular as tiiffn or dinner in many families and are usually served with chutney, sambhar or gothsu. It can be served for breakfast too. They are shaped with hands and that's why it is called "pidi kozhukattai" in Tamil, ("pidi" means hold in Tamil) and since these kozhukattais are shaped and steamed when they are halfway to be made into upma, they are also called as upma kozhukattais. I have made a furthermore healthier version of these cute delicacy here with broken barnyard millet and a few veggies- very healthy alternative.
I added corn and peanuts which gives a nice crunch when you bite them. Peanuts or veggies are not added traditionally (so go ahead and make without them for a different flavored kozhukattai one time or if you are allergic to nuts). Carrot, corn and peas are any kids favorite and addition of those veggies is sure to invite them to try this. Now, you get the rava or broken millet too in the market (you can just run the whole grain a couple of times in your mixer - blender to a coarsely ground grain) and it looks like this:
Barnyard millet rava - 1 and 1/2 cups
Corn - 2 tbsp
Peas - 2 tbsp
Carrots - 1/4 cup, chopped
Cowpeas (Thatta payar, in Tamil) - 1/4 cup, soaked and cooked
Peanut - 2 tbsp
Coconut - 1/4 cup
Green chilli - 1 or 2 chopped
Curry leaves -1 or 2 sprig
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Channa dhal - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/8 tsp
Cilantro - 1 tsp
Oil - 1 and 1/2 tsp
Water - 2 and 1/2 cups
Boil the veggies in minimum amount of water and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds followed by urad dhal, channa dhal, peanuts, asafoetida, curry leaves and green chillies. Fry till peanuts change to golden color and add the veggies, cooked cowpeas and water. Add the coconut and when the water begins to boil add the barnyard millet rava.
Stir well and continue cooking till it thickens and there is no more water left. Switch off the flame and cover with a lid. Let it cool a bit. When it is warm enough to handle with your hands, take a handful of the millet mix and make oval shape with your hand.
Grease an idli plate or any steamer you have. Place the oval millet balls in it and steam for 7 minutes.
Serve hot or warm kozhukattais with coconut (or any) chutney or sambhar. The kozhukattais can be served with some soup too.
The above mentioned measurement makes about 16 kozhukattais and can serve 4 -6 people.
1. Traditionally, they are made in oval shape. So you can add your creativity in making it in different shapes that is sure enough to catch the kids attention.
2. You can a few more tbsp of vegetables of your choice.
3. Coconut brings nice flavor.
4. Traditionally this is made with cowpeas but you can add your own choice of cooked beans. Make sure the size of beans is medium enabling to make balls of the mixture.
5. I have reduced a tsp of oil. Feel free to add if you want.
6. You can make this with rice or any millet of your choice.