It is believed that this sweet dish originated in Chettinad, a small town in Tamil Nadu where the people are hearty eaters. The Chettiar food is generally rich and includes lots of spices and herbs. The people of this region were spice merchants and brought variety of spices from neighboring states and countries.
This recipe, the paal kozhukattai, is a popular dessert from Chettinad which of course other southern regions also soon adapted and started preparing during festivals.
The rice flour dough is mixed in a similar manner to that of idiayappam and then small shapes are given to it and added to sweetened coconut milk sauce. Jaggery can also used instead of sugar.
There is a Thai dessert too that has more or less the same ingredients and is called ‘Buo Loy’. The Thai flavour the rice flour and give it different color too.
When did I first learn to make this delectable paal kozhukattai? Some 10 years back from my mother-in-law’s friend, she and her friends used to meet every Tuesday for group prayers and these women celebrated the Navratri in a grand way on all the nine days. Every day ‘neivedyam’ or ‘prasadam’ had to be prepared and it had the influence of different regions of not only Tamil Nadu but from other regions of south as well.
It is quite easy to prepare this dessert if you are used to making idiayappam and kozhukattai, for the others the hint is – just mix the rice flour with the right amount of boiling hot water. Making the coconut milk can be made the traditional way by grating and grinding the coconut and then extracting the milk or you can use the coconut milk powder or coconut milk or mix of both. I used combination of the milk powder and the coconut milk to give a thick coconut sauce.