Necessity is the mother of all inventions. Thus spake a wise man, not me! (Then why did so many unnecessary things get invented spake another wise man, not me again, but we will let it pass!)
|Vinayagar, Ganapathi, Ganesh|
The Story began on a Vinayagar Chaturthi day eons ago. As the Thoranam were tied, Maavelai adornded the doors, the shouts of ‘Ganapati Bappa Morya’ rang the air, the fruits, thengai, vetthalai-paakku were bought and ready, the welcome ceremony of the remover of all obstacles, the Elephant Headed Vinayagar was still incomplete. It patiently awaited the arrival of that one item in the menu which is supposedly the favourite of Ganpati. There can be never a Sri Ganesh of Sri Ganesh without kozhukkattai spake a wise man, me too among many others. (Kozhukkattai. Dear North Indians: Don’t please do to Kozhukkattai what you did to Azhagiri or Kanimozhi or Tamizh. Kindly don’t massacre it by calling it कोज़्हुककट्टई, खोयाकट्टाई, कोईकट्टा! The closest I can permit you is कोयाकट्टाई. Else please stick to Modak which is the ‘naarth Indian’ equivalent of it. Welcome!)
Kozhakkattai is essentially Coconut+Jaggery mixed together, placed inside a rice cake and steam cooked. @Sporty_Baba informs me that some friend of his called Kozhakkattai/Modak a meetha momos. However sacrilegious he, and me might have found it, I think the description is fairly spot on! But then I digress.
The star of the story, (Your mother, wife or Jiggs Kalra or whoever started making Kozhukkattais) came to a major hitch. It was invariably found that the stuffing called pooran/pooranam and the rice dough were never made in the right balance. Either of it was more in quantity. The frequent remaking of either the dough or the pooranam was proving to be futile in balancing the quantity. The Lady in question came out with a way around the difficulty. Once the pooranam was over, she came up with another pooranam which was salty, dhal and salt replacing jaggery in the concoction. And Uppu Kozhukkatai was born to give Vellam Kozhukkattai company. (It is not known whether Ganapathiji liked this too as no reference was found in the shastras but given that he was the world’s first foodie, we can assume, he liked this development too.)
If you thought that aal izz well from this point onwards, read on. The problem only increased manifold. In the earlier case one had a mismatch of pooranam and maavu, it now graduated to mismatch of two types of pooranam and maavu! Back to square one you ask? No! The by now wiser lady didn’t fall for the ring-around-the-rosy routine. Instead she rolled the left over maavu into small balls, fried it over a medium glow along with seasoning. LO AND BEHOLD! The new marvel! Ammini Kozhukkattai! The often ignored and taken for granted delicacy. Making innovation work for you. The necessity giving way to another mighty invention! We have, yet again no clue if Vinayagar liked this newest addition to the Kozhukkattai family, but given the fact that he was the world’s first foodie, we are sure he likes it. As does my junior; nay he loves it. As do I. And as will you. So will @sporty_baba when he tastes it. Sooner hopefully that later!
PS: Just said Happy birthday to Krishna (Uppu Seedai, Vella Seedai, Murukku, Thenkozhal, Adirasam, Puttu and Payasam. Just said Happy Birthday Vinayagar with Kozhukkattais of the above mentioned variety. Next up is Onam, when we welcome Mahabali with sadhya and Paladapradhaman. Then Navratri. Then Dipawali. As a wise man, me, once said, the path to nirvana is through the stomach!
Pooranam : Stuffing inside Kozhukkattai
Uppu : Salt
Maavu : Dough
Vellam : Jaggery
Meetha : Sweet
Shastras : Hindu Holy scriptures
Sri Ganesh : Also a euphemism for auspicious beginning!
Thengai : Coconut
Vettahalai-Pakku : Betel Leaf and nuts