Sihi Kadubu: Easy Coconut-Jaggery Steamed Dumplings
Sihi Kadubu (Coconut-Jaggery Dumplings)
It's normal for people with a sweet tooth to crave sugar—that is, after all, what having a sweet tooth means! However, as sugary treats are not considered to be particularly healthy, many people choose desserts that are sweetened with jaggery. Jaggery is a type of sugar that comes from the sugar cane plant. Eating jaggery in moderate quantities can actually have beneficial health effects. Additionally, sweets made with jaggery taste better than those made with sugar (in my opinion).
I made these dumplings with jaggery. To make them, you have to prepare a moderately thick rice batter for the wrappers. The stuffing is made of grated coconut mixed with jaggery powder. After making both the wrappers and the stuffing, you pour the batter into the greased idli molds, drop some coconut-jaggery mix in the center, and then steam-cook them for 15 minutes.
You can also make these dumplings in banana leaves, which gives them a very nice aroma. If you use banana leaves, you need to heat them first in order to make them flexible enough to fold. The banana-leaf method is illustrated below.
Enjoy these sweet idlis for breakfast or as a between-meal snack. You don't need to serve any side dishes with this treat. Now let's move on to the detailed recipe.
- 2 cups rice, washed and soaked in fresh water for 4–5 hours
- 1 1/2 cups grated coconut, divided (1/4 cup for the batter, 1 1/4 cups for the stuffing)
- 1/2 cup powdered jaggery
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, for the batter
- 2 pinches salt, for the stuffing (only if you use unsalted jaggery)
- 1/2 teaspoon ghee, for greasing the idli molds
- Pulse the grated coconut in a mixer to make the chunks uniform. Heat a deep-bottomed pan. Add the powdered jaggery and 2 tablespoons of water. Add the coconut and mix.
- Over a low fire, boil the mixture for 4–5 minutes. If the jaggery is unsalted, you can add a little salt at this stage. Stir constantly until the mixture becomes thick or semi-solid, then turn off the heat and set aside.
- Wash the rice and soak it in fresh water for 3 hours. Grind it with some grated coconut to get a smooth paste. Add water to get a dosa batter consistency. Add salt to taste. Mix well.
- Meanwhile, heat the steamer or cooker. Grease the idli molds with ghee or oil. I think ghee gives them a nice smell.
- Pour rice batter to cover 2/3 of each mold. Put 2 teaspoons of the stuffing in the center. Gently cover it with the batter using a spoon. Keep the mold stand inside the steamer. Cook for 15 minutes on medium-high heat. Turn off the stove.
- If you want to use a cooker, don't place a weight on the lid. Steam-cook them.
- Remove them from the mold when they become cold. Use a spoon handle tip for this purpose.
- Serve 2–3 of these sweet dumplings, pouring a spoon of hot ghee on top. Eating them is just delightful. Enjoy! (You can also make them with a banana leaf, as shown below.)