This Vegan Coconut Jaggery Kozhukattai Bread Rolls is inspired by the traditional South Indian dessert, Modak or Modhakam.
If you aren’t an Indian (in particular a South Indian) chances are you’ve never even heard of the Kozhukattai. Reserved for special occasions, it’s a rice flour dumpling that is stuffed with a savory or sweet filling and steamed to perfection. Kinda like this Japanese Kinako Dango, but there’s no elaborate shaping involved there.
But as with any dumpling, you’ve got to fold them by hand (although there are mechanized contraptions in the market today that help speed the process) and it’s an arduous task that requires skill, patience and time.
I make these dumplings at least once a year, but as much as I LOVE it, shaping the dumpling kinda ruins the fun for me, since I gotta do it alone and my husband wouldn’t come near this task with a ten foot pole.
So I figured – I love the filling, and if I could bake it into a bread (baking is now second nature to me), then I get to enjoy the taste more than just once a year! And that is what sparked this VEGAN Coconut + Jaggery filled Kozhukattai Bread Rolls into being!
Traditionally we Indians use a lot of Jaggery in our cooking – if you don’t know what it is, it’s an unrefined sugar with a lot of nutrients and particularly rich in Iron – it’s called ‘Superfood Sweetener’ for a reason. Find out more about Jaggery here.
While baking, the jaggery melted and formed a candy-like coating on the Kozhukattai Bread rolls, vaguely reminiscent of Kouign-Amann. So these rolls, are more crunchy and chewy than soft and buttery.
Making this is just as easy as baking any other bread. You start off with flour, yeast, salt, sugar and water. I added a bit of Caramel flavored Almond milk Creamer just for the heck of it (and because I really love the taste), but feel free to just use milk instead.
The dough may feel a little sticky to handle (although that could have been mostly due to the creamer), so flour your work surface generously!
If you need a more detailed tutorial on how to ‘roll’ your dough, check out my Garlic Pull Apart Bread. But the image below should give you the gist: spread the filling over the thinly rolled dough. It’s going to be sticky and a little messy, but spread it as best as you can.
Then you roll the dough into a long log. Cut the log into 6 equal pieces.
Place each piece into an oiled muffin tin. Cover with cling film and let it rise one final time. Brush with more creamer/milk/egg wash. This will make sure you get that gorgeous browning as it bakes. But if it feels like too much of a hassle, just skip this step.
And Bake! Just remember to remove the Kozhukattai Bread Rolls from the tin as soon as you take them out from the oven, otherwise the molten jaggery will solidify and stick to the tin. It’s best eaten warm, straight from the oven! Trust me!