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Recipe and Food Styling | Easy dessert with Rice dumplings in coconut milk aka Paal Kozhukattai – Follow your efforts

12 April 2015 One Comment

paal kozhukattai, rice dumpling in coconut milk desert

With extreme joy, we thank Sanjeeta KK of Lite Bites for photographing the recipes in Indu Bokaria’s “Recipes from a Diary”. Her warmth and friendliness coupled with dedication and passion makes her a pleasure to work with. We look forward to seeing our 76-page, all-colour cookbook in the hands of our readers. If you think the pages look delectable, then you know where the credit lies! Thank you Sanjeeta.” Indu Bokaria, cookbook author.

These beautiful words of appreciation are written by the author of a cook book on her Facebook page for whom I did a photo-shoot last year.

The said project was initiated sometime back in July last year, when a good friend ‘Pratibha‘ sent me the proposal. I had a couple of other assignments in hand and was skeptical of accepting and completing the challenging project in time.

Moreover, the task of acting both, a photographer & a food stylist to shoot 60 recipes in a couple of day’s time was too daunting a project.

But then, I did accept the project and given the circumstances (to shoot with a basic camera lens and overcast sky) tried my best to click all the recipes in the stipulated time.

The project has certainly made me happy and confident about my work!

Well, it does feel good when your work is appreciated. But no appreciation or reward can replace the sense of satisfaction at having completed a difficult challenge you set out to do.

And yes, appreciation from friends and well wishers is an added bonus to my hard work 🙂

At times, I feel that its good if you just follow your efforts and forget the rewards, cause’ when you start loving what you are doing you can conquer almost any difficult task in hand.

healthy vegetarian recipes

Pic courtesy: Indu Bokaria’s cookbook

These are a few pictures I styled and photographed for the cooked food sent to me by Mrs. Indu Bokaria for her cook book.

I could not taste most of the food I shot, as it was styled to make it camera friendly. But whatever I could taste, blew my mind away.

It was undoubtedly some of the most delicious vegetarian food I tasted in recent times. I am eagerly waiting to hold the book in my hand and try out some of her recipes.

Rice dumpling in coconut milk aka Paal Kozhukattai 

paal kozhukattai, rice dumpling in coconut milk desert

Paal Kozhukattai or tiny rice dumplings dipped in coconut milk is an authentic dessert from Tamil Nadu. The dessert is prepared during festivals using some of the very basic ingredients in the kitchen, rice and jaggery.

Traditionally Paal Kozhukattai is prepared by soaking and stone grinding the rice flour with little water. The ground paste is then cooked with warm water till it becomes thicker and pliable dough.

Store bought rice works just good for me fro this delicacy from Karaikudi region of Tamil Nadu.

Cooked and served on a banana leaf, this delicious sweet also makes a popular snack in many parts of South India.

I prepared Paal Kozhukattai for a friend from North India who wanted a different menu for our dinner at my home sometime back.

paal kozhukattai, rice dumpling in coconut milk desert


(serve 3)

For rice dumplings:

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp oil
  • A pinch of salt
  • Almonds and Saffron strands for garnish
  • Water to boil the dumplings

For sweet sauce:

  • 2 cups thin coconut milk
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • ½ cup sugar or grated jaggery
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp ghee

Method: Add salt and oil in water and bring it to a boil.

Take a large bowl and add rice flour in it.

Pour warm water little at a time and keep mixing with a spoon.

Use hands to bring all the ingredients together and form a soft dough.

Pinch small pea-sized dough and roll into balls.

Bring about 7-8 cups of water in a large vessel and add all the tiny balls into it.

The rice dumplings will start floating over the water once cooked.

Scoop out all the steamed dumplings and place them in a plate.

Thick coconut milk: Add 1 cup of warm water to one cup grated coconut. Squeeze the coconut lightly in warm water and use a filter or muslin cloth to strain the thick coconut milk.

Thin coconut milk: Add 1 more cups of warm water in the squeezed out coconut chaff and mash it lightly with hand. Strain the remaining coconut milk using muslin cloth.

Heat ghee in a thick bottomed wok or kadai and fry the almonds in to it.

Pour the thin coconut milk into the wok and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes on medium flame.

Add steamed rice balls into the wok and continue to simmer for another five minutes.

Add thick coconut milk, cardamom powder, grated jaggery or sugar and switch off the flame.

Garnish the dessert with almond slivers and saffron strands.

The dessert can be served cold or warm topped with saffron strands and more nuts as garnish.

paal kozhukattai, rice dumpling in coconut milk desert

Check Glossary for names in Hindi and English for various foods and ingredients used in this recipe.


  1. The dumplings get hardened after refrigerated for long.
  2. Do not cook thick coconut milk as it may curdle.
  3. Use ready-made coconut milk powder for a quick and fuss-free coconut sauce in this recipe.
  4. Make sure that the dough made with rice flour is not too sticky or the balls will disintegrate in the sauce.
  5. I have used Palm sugar to sweeten the sauce but you can use sugar or grated jaggery also.
  6. The sauce will start thickening after it cools down. Add more liquid (plain milk, coconut milk or even water) to adjust the consistency of the sauce.
  7. Use condensed milk to replace the coconut milk for a different version of sauce for the recipe.
  8. Keep the size of rice balls really small for even cooking.


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