Kanyakumari was another town that blew me away for its scenic beauty. While one side is surrounded by the oceans, one can also witness lush paddy fields, coconut farms, the western ghats, river canals running full to the brim. Kanyakumari was once part of the erstwhile Travancore dynasty of Kerala is now part of Tamilnadu. However you can evidently see the Kerala influence in culture, the dialect of tamil, architecture and food!
The use of coconut and pepper is significant in food from the Nanjilnadu region. I make it a point to visit a local house and learn some age old recipes specific to that locale. Ms. Devika was kind enough to host me and teach me this recipe. Therali (name for fresh bay leaf or cinnamon leaf) kozhakattais which translates to cinnamon flavoured rice jaggery balls are made during the holy month of Aadi to invoke the blessings of Devi – Goddesses Lakshmi and Bhagavathi. Here are 2 recipes the first one being the one I learnt and the second from Kerala.
- Rice flour – 2 cups
- Jaggery – 2 cups powdered without lumps
- Water – 2-2.5 cups
- Grated coconut – half a coconut grated or roughly 1 cup
- Cardamom powder – 2 tsp
- Dry ginger powder – 1 tsp
- Therali leaves or fresh cinnamon /bay leaves – 20-25
- Melt the jaggery in water and heat in a heavy bottom pan and bring to a boil.
- Add grated coconut, cardamom and ginger powders to the boiling jaggery and mix well
- Mix in the rice flour so that it forms a dough like consistency
- Transfer to a plate and let it cool.
- Wash the cinnamon leaves and pat dry.
- Once the mixture cools down, mould rightly between your palm the dough.
- Place on one end of the therali leaf and roll into a cylinder
- Insert the stem into side of leaf or use half a toothpick
- Do the same with the remaining dough.
- Use a steamer and steam them for about 20 minutes until fully cooked.
- Serve hot and make sure not to remove the cinnamon leaf while serving.
- Rice – 1 cup
- Ripe bananas – 5 (poovan variety)
- Grated jaggery – 1 cup
- Cardamoms – 4 powdered
- Th]erali leaves or cinnamon leaves (fresh) – 12
- Wash rice and soak in water for 30 minutes. Drain and pound to fine rava consistency
- Roast the pounded rice over medium heat. Allow to cool
- Mix roasted rice flour, bananas, jaggery, and powdered cardamom and mash well using hands.
- Wash the cinnamon leaves and pat dry
- Place a small quantity on dough on one end of the leaf and roll into a cylinder.
- Use tooth pick to seal the end.
- Steam for about 20 -25 minutes until done.
- Serve the whole leaf roll (although the leaf is not edible)