Healthy ingredients plus desi flavours is my favourite combination for baking. Simran’s come up with another interesting ‘healthy baking contest’ for the members of Ovenderful mom bakers community. I absolutely love these contests, one- they give me a solid reason to empty my pocket and stock up my pantry with amazing ingredients, two- I love experimenting with new ingredients and trying interesting unique bakes.
So what’s special about this bake-
It is vegan and gluten free.
I have not used any baking powder or baking soda.
It has no added fat, that is no oil and no butter . [Yup not even a teeny weeny bit]
Yes and no sugar too.
Hold on don’t judge it so quickly! I know you are thinking, “So what is left to make this a tasty bake?”
I will soon come up with another version of baked kozhukattai with regular ingredients. Ganesh chaturthi is around the corner and that is motivation enough for another experiment.
But do try giving this a shot . It is definitely worth a try.
This still tastes very much like the traditional kozhukattai. A lovely blend of soyabean flour, brown beaten rice flakes [poha], coconut flour and almond meal make the crispy, almost flaky, crust.
I love using poha in bakes. It gives the ‘crunch’ element to any bake and is a far better alternative to rice flour, when it comes to baking. The almond meal and coconut flour bring that richness and earthy aroma. These along with the flax gel are the sources of healthy fat in the recipe. A little bit of cardamom is all that is needed to bring the depth in flavour.
Not using any of the traditional flours might seem challenging but trust me on this. The protein and fibre rich crust with healthy fats is really quite tasty.
Since I did quite a bit with the outer pastry, I decided to keep the filling simple and traditional- a mix of organic powdered jaggery and freshly grated coconut.
This recipe might use loads of different ingredients but it is pretty easy to bake.
Desi Bake: Healthy Baked Modak / Kozhukattai - Vegan and Gluten Free
Vegan and gluten free healthy baked modaks
For the outer pastry/crust
Preparation of the pastry/ crust
Mix the soyabean flour, coconut flour, salt, flaxgel and 3/4 cup of water in a bowl.
Beat well with a whisk until all the ingredients are well combined.
Pass the mixture through a sieve to remove any lumps.
Allow this to rest for half an hour to 45 minutes.
Grind the beaten rice flakes, almond meal and cardamom together into a fine powder. [ Grind only the cardamom seeds not the whole pod]
Take the rested flour mix in a non-stick thick bottomed pan.
Cook on a low flame, stirring continuously, until the dough starts to leave the sides of the pan and forms a soft ball.
Transfer the soft dough into a bowl and mix in the powdered rice-almond-cardamom mixture.
Divide the dough into 10-12 equal parts and roll them into lemon sized balls.
Keep them in a covered contained until use.
For the filling
Take the powdered jaggery and water in a thick bottomed wide mouthed pan.
Stir occasionally and allow the jaggery to melt completely. Pass the jaggery syrup through a sieve to remove impurities or sediments if any.
Allow the syrup to thicken a bit and cook until it gives out a lovely aroma.
Add the grated coconut to the jaggery syrup.
Stir continuously and cook until the jaggery- coconut mixture thickens and comes together. [ The consistency of the mixture should be such that, once it cools you can shape it into balls]
Transfer the mixture into a heat proof bowl and allow it to cool.
Once the filling becomes warm enough to handle, shape it into large marble sized balls [you will be able to make around 10-12 balls using this recipe].
Baking the Kozhukattai
Pre heat the oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes.
Line a baking tray with parchment and set aside.
Flatten each ball of the dough and place the filling in the center.
Bring the edges together [similar to how you would make stuffed parathas]
Seal any cracks in the crust by pinching the dough together.
The dough might seem 'dry' . Cup the Kozhukattai between your palms and gently press together. The warmth from your palms will release the natural oil from the coconut flour and almond meal. This will help bind the outer crust.
Make a tiny pointed cone on top, by pinching a bit of dough, to give these the traditional 'modak look'.
Place them on the prepared baking tray.
Bake in the pre heated oven at 150 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the lower edges start to brown and the crust looks crunchy [ it sort of has the look of crinkle cookies when done]
Let them stay in the warm oven for another 15 minutes before transferring on to a wire rack.
Store in an air tight container once completely cooled.
- Oven temperature and time may vary. Bake until the modaks have a tinge of brown. You might also see a bit of jaggery seeping out from the 'crinkles' formed while baking. You can turn off the oven at this point.
- Avoid cracks while shaping the modaks. This will prevent the jaggery from flowing out and getting burnt.
- I know this one has loads of different elements and most of you would want alternatives. But each ingredient in the above recipe has a specific role to play, to make this a healthy tasty bake. The coconut flour and almond meal take care of the fat content. The soyabean flour and brown rice flakes form the base of the dough. And the flaxgel here plays the role of a binding agent and is important since this recipe is gluten free.
- You can find the flax gel recipe here.