Tiny wheat flour dumplings are cooked in a combination of milk and coconut milk; flavored with saffron, cardamom and lightly sweetened with jaggery. A delicious, nourishing and comforting sweet treat for any time. Can be made fully vegan too.
Paal kozhukattai remains one of our favorite comfort foods ever. Traditionally made with soft rice flour dumplings (kozhukattai) cooked in coconut milk (paal), I was on the lookout for a version without rice.
The man of the house is trying to stay away from rice right now. Personally, I’d rather bury myself than give up rice, but to each his own! So, I have to come up with non-rice versions of all our favorite foods. This might sound hard to South Asians whose staple is rice, but we seem to manage quite well. I make idlis with rava, adai dosa with very little or no rice at all, and so on.
But the biggest challenge has been coming up with an alternative to our favorite paal kozhukattai recipe. You can read all about the original version here.
The method of making the little kozhukattai or dumplings with godhumai or wheat flour is almost similar to that with rice flour. All it needs are a few tweaks in the amount of liquid and cooking time needed.
But while paal kozhukattai made with rice flour can be sweetened with either sugar or jaggery, godhumai paal kozhukattai is best when made with jaggery. Somehow, the earthiness of jaggery perfectly complements the nuttiness of the wheat flour. I also added cardamom (my favorite spice), crushed cashew nuts and a pinch of saffron for flavor, aroma and color!
The result is delicious, mildly sweetened paal kozhukattai with spongy little wheat dumplings. Paal kozhukattai or coconut milk payasam as I call it, is the perfect any-time food. You can make it for a quick evening snack, eat the leftovers for breakfast or make it for any special occasion like a birthday or festival. It is such a versatile and much beloved dish.
Jaggery is what gives this sweet coconut milk pudding its characteristic golden color and you will find it in Indian or specialty grocery stores. A simple syrup is made by dissolving jaggery in water, which is then added to the cooked godhumai balls to sweeten, thicken and flavor them. In a pinch, brown sugar may be substituted. But try to get your hand on the real deal.
I like to use a combination of water, milk and coconut milk while cooking the paal kozhukattai. You can very well leave out the milk and make it entirely vegan. I have added all the tips and tricks needed to perfect this delicious dessert in the recipe card below.
- Water - 1¼ - 1½ cups
- Sesame oil - 1 tsp
- Salt - 1 tsp
- Whole wheat flour (atta) - 1 cup
- Water - 2 cups
- Grated jaggery - ½ cup, lightly packed
- Milk - 1 cup
- Cardamom powder - ¼ tsp
- Saffron strands - a pinch
- Coconut milk - 1 cup
- Cashew nuts - 2 tsp, chopped (optional)
- Godhumai kozhukattai: Heat a large skillet and dry roast the wheat flour on medium-low heat till you can smell a nutty aroma. Keep stirring constantly so as not to burn it.
- Meanwhile, in another saucepan, bring water, sesame oil and salt to a boil.
- Tip the roasted flour into a mixing bowl. Add the boiling hot water, a little at a time and stir with a wooden spoon till it forms a sticky dough. I had to use around 1¼ cups of water, the quantity will depend on the quality of the flour.
- Once the dough comes together, lightly grease your palms with oil and gently knead the dough to make it smooth and soft. It will be hot, so be careful.
- Pinch small portions of the dough and make tiny balls from it. Repeat till all the dough is used up. Keep wheat flour dough and shaped balls covered with a damp kitchen towel at all times, to keep them from drying out.
- Paal Kozhukattai: Heat 2 cups of water in a large, deep pan and bring to a gentle boil. Gently drop the wheat balls in the water. Let it come to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and cook for 8-10 minutes.
- Open the lid and check to see if the wheat balls are cooked on the inside. If it is raw, cover and cook for a couple more minutes. They will look very delicate at this stage, but the rest of the cooking process will make them hold their shape better. Do not stir or disturb the wheat balls too much while cooking.
- While they are cooking, take the jaggery in a small saucepan, add a few tablespoons of water and cook till it dissolves.
- Add this simple jaggery syrup to the cooked wheat balls and bring to a boil.
- Then add milk, cardamom powder and saffron and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer for another 5-6 minutes till it thickens slightly.
- Now add the coconut milk and cashew nuts and cook till coconut milk is just heated through. Do not boil the paal kozhukattai after adding the coconut milk. Remove from heat and serve immediately or cover to keep warm.
- Godhumai paal kozhukattai can be served hot, warm or chilled.
2. In a pinch, you can replace the jaggery with dark brown sugar.
3. Do not boil the paal kozhukattai after adding coconut milk since it may curdle.
4. Sometimes, I also like to add slices of ripe plantain to paal kozhukattai. Add it along with the milk after the wheat flour dumplings are cooked.
Enjoy this delicious paal kozhukattai with wheat flour for dessert, snack or breakfast.
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Have you tried paal kozhukattai? Do you have to come up with any sort of recipe alternatives? Do try this delicious paal kozhukattai with wheat flour and let me know how you like it.
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