Kakka Orotti - Steamed mini rice dumplings that are soaked in lip smacking gravy made chicken or beef in roasted coconut sauce with a hint of Malabar garam masala is my heaven on a plate.
What is Kakka Orotti?
Kakka Orotti is a true Moplah dish that is celebrated as a staple and also as a special occasion food. Kakka is a Malayalam word for clams and Orotti is flatbread dough that is made with ground rice. It is known by many other names like kakka rotti, aanapathal, pidi, aanaorotti, kunjipathal, undio, pinde, etc. The difference in name is largely depending on the region of origin in the southern state of India - mostly Kerala and coastal Karnataka.
They are known differently and also are made differently except that all of them use rice for the dumplings, are steam cooked and are folded into a prepared curry with meat or seafood.
Back home, this dish brings all the ladies of the home together in the kitchen, each contributing to rolling the dumplings while catching up with the latest neighbourhood news. I remember as a kid watching my aunts and grandmas with oiled palms rolling the kakka orotti while incessantly talking and laughing together!
A scene that is less prevalent these days so I don't know if this tradition will continue with our generation... 😞
I am sharing a big batch of Kakka Orotti which should feed 3 to 4 foodies as I planned to share some with my neighbours.
- par-boiled rice (puzhungal ari): I have used Ponni rice.
- freshly grated coconut
- fennel seeds
- veggies: red onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic, curry leaves
- ground spices: chilli, coriander, turmeric and malabar garam masala
- rice flour
- coconut oil
You can use chicken or beef or mutton to make the gravy with coconut sauce using the same recipe.
How to make it?
Ensure you have enough time or a helping hand. You can divide the tasks between two days too.
- Prepare the rice dough
- Make the balls (as described in the recipe) and steam them in batches, while steaming...
- Roast the ingredients for coconut sauce and make a paste, while roasting...
- Prep the ingredients for the chicken/beef curry
- Prepare the chicken gravy
- Fold in the steamed Kakka orotti
You can steam a batch of kakka orottis and refrigerate them in an airtight container and use and when you have some gravy in hand.
Sharing this recipe as part of the MFB challenge that announced its last and final challenge! We were given the choice to choose any of the past challenges so I chose "Your favourite Mom's food". I already have a few of my favourites of mom's food on the blog like Poached Egg Curry and Pazhampori.
For the mini steamed rice dumplings
- 2 cups parboiled rice ponni rice or koorva
- 1 cup grated coconut fresh
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1 medium onion diced roughly
- 1 cup water approx
- 3 tablespoon rice flour approx
- salt to taste
- cooking oil to grease the steamer and your palm
For the coconut paste
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 teaspoons raw rice grains
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1 cup grated coconut
- water to make a smooth paste
For the Gravy
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 large onions sliced finely
- 2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
- 2 tomatoes chopped
- 2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder
- 2 teaspoons red chilli powder
- 2 tablespoons coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 850 grams beef or chicken, bone or boneless
- 2 cups water
- salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon Malabar garam masala
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- Soak the rice in enough just hot water and cover and keep for an hour.
- Drain and grind the rice along with grated coconut, onion chunks, fennel seeds, salt and water to a coarse and grainy mixture that is not too smooth but not too grainy either. Do it in batches if required.
- Transfer the mixture into a bowl and start adding rice flour little by little until you can make the mixture into a non-sticky dough. You should be able to pinch a little and make balls that don't fall apart or sticky. (Cover and keep it until needed)
shape and steam
- Grease your steamer vessels lightly with oil.
- When you are ready to prepare the kaka orottis, rub both your palms and fingers with oil and take a handful of the dough, roll it between your hands into a log shape. Keep the log-shaped dough on your left hand cupped in your fingers and pinch a small portion and roll it into a ball on the left-hand palm. Press them lightly in the middle to make a dent and keep them on the pan.
- Repeat this until the steamer pan is filled with these dumplings.
- Steam cook on a medium flame for 15 to 20 minutes or until done.
- Transfer them to a container and keep them covered. Repeat until all of the dough is used up.
- Keep aside until needed. (At this point you can refrigerate the steamed dumplings if you intend to use next day)
roasted coconut paste
- Heat oil in a wide frying pan.
- Add raw rice and fry until rice puffs up.
- Add fennel seeds and grated coconut and sauté again until the coconut starts turning golden.
- Let it cool and then grind it with water to make it into a smooth paste. Keep aside.
- Heat oil in a big enough curry pot. This will be the pot where you will add the steamed kakka orotti. So ensure you use the right size where you can stir and fold comfortably. If using beef or mutton, you can use a pressure cooker or instant pot to cook more quicker.
- Add the curry leaves along with chopped onions and sauté until golden.
- Add ginger-garlic paste and saute for couple more minutes or until the raw smell fades.
- Now, add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they soften and oil surfaces.
- Lower the flame and add all the spice powders - chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder and sauté for couple more minutes.
- Now, add the washed and drained meat pieces and stir well.
- Add enough water, season with salt and cover and cook until the meat is completely cooked. (open and stir occasionally to prevent burning)
- Add the prepared coconut paste and bring to a boil while stirring well.
- Add some more curry leaves and a pinch of garam masala.
dumplings in gravy
- Gently fold in the steamed rice kakka orottis. Fold until all the coins are coated with the gravy.
- Cover and cook on very low flame for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Switch off and serve hot for lunch or dinner. Store any leftovers covered in the fridge and use them withing three days.