Spicy Kolakattai

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Vegetarian, main dish, spicy

Veda Anantharam

Veda, a Bangalore-based artist, is currently pursuing a Distance Diploma in Art from Penn Foster School in Pennsylvania. Earlier, she studied Microbiology and worked as a research assistant in Denmark. On her Iyengar's kitchen blog she writes about the food insights she got from her grandmother. On her Kai Kriye blog you can see her paintings and other creations. She and her husband enjoy travelling, and their aim is to see as many places as possible. Her little daughter, Parnika, keeps her on her toes all the time!

My paati (grandmother), A.S. Padma (May 9, 1924 - April 3, 2007) was always acknowledged for her remarkable cooking and stringent disciplinary guidelines. Her Guests, relatives, friends and even her neighbours never went home hungry or even empty handed. Such was her generosity.

A.S. Padma

She hated wasting food and always used innovative ways to turn what was available in the home into delicacies. While most of us discard the peel of a veggie even now, not knowing its nutritional value, my paati would use it to make the healthier - yet tastier. She was very enterprising and could cook a meal with many dishes for around 30 people in a jiffy.

My paati constantly inspired her granddaughters to learn all our traditional cuisine before she left us. She did not want us to forget what dishes she prepared when we were kids, and insisted that this tradition had to be passed on to the future generations. On my Iyengar's kitchen blog, I am trying to preserve our traditional cuisine and pass it on to my next generation.

One of her trademark dish is the yummy and healthy Kolakattai.

Makes about 12-14 kolakattai. Serves 4.


Folded leaves


Ready to eat


For Kolakattai

  • Black gram (uddin bele/urad dhal) - 1 cup (soak for 4 hrs)
  • Rice - 3/4th cup (soak for 4-5 hrs)
  • Crushed pepper - 2 tspns
  • Coriander leaves - 1 tblspn (chopped)
  • Ginger - grated ½ inch piece
  • Bengal gram - 1 tbl spn (soaked for 1 hr)
  • One big plantain leaf

For Roasted Coconut (Hurdhidha Kayi) Chutney

  • Coconut - ½ cup
  • Green chillies - 3
  • Ginger - ½ inch piece
  • Tamarind - small piece
  • Mustard - 1 tspn
  • Salt to taste


In Europe, these leaves are often available in Chinese stores; the Chinese use them to steam fish. In USA, they are available in most Indian stores.


For Kolakattai

Grind black gram and rice separately and mix them with salt. Add rest of the ingredients only when you are ready to make the kolkattai.

Take a rectangular plantain leaf. Spread a few drops of oil and pour 1 ladle of the batter. Fold the leaf.

Make many more such rectanglular strips of the leaf and arrange them all in the cooker vessel smeared with little oil.

Place them in a pressure cooker and steam for 15 minutes, as you would steam for idlis.

Check if it's done by inserting a knife.

Serve hot with Roasted coconut (Hurdhidha kayi) chutney.

For Roasted Coconut (Hurdhidha Kayi) Chutney

Heat oil in a small pan and add mustard. Allow it to splutter.

Add chillies, coconut, ginger, and tamarind. Fry for 2-3 minutes.

Cool it and grind the mixture together.

Add salt to it.

You can temper this with oil and black gram.


© Veda Anantharam 2009

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vasudha   |2009-07-16
wow....great...I am so proud of you veds...
shashi   |2009-07-16
hi dear really gud to see this. Ia m very proud to have u as a part of my life
Lakshmi   |2009-07-17
Ajji must be feeling good in heaven Veds!
B.K. Sheshadri   |2009-07-17
Post your comments here.
Dear Veda,
Your Kolkatte has attracted Dada Nani
foundation . Good I am happy that your "Kaikriye" is becoming very
popular. Keep it up
My Best wishes to you and Parnika
B.K.Sheshadri and
Dada and Nani from Bangalore
Patricia Torres   |2009-07-17
Wow!! this is lovely Veda!! I love the way you have written it.. such a great
tribute to your grand mom!! Well done!!

Also.. the recipe sounds exciting..
so will try for sure!
Vidz   |2009-07-18
You deserve it veds..GREAT GOING!!!keep up the good work going!
Subodh Mathur   |2009-07-18
Veda, as the site's editor, I am so pleased by the response your
contribution has attracted. So, here's my public thanks to you! Also, I
would like to invite all of you to send your own contributions. My
email address is dadinani@gmail.com.

Subodh Mathur
Anonymous   |2009-07-18
wow!!!....very nice..Keep up the Good work
Veda   |2009-07-18
Thank u all so much for leaving such encouraging comments for me....I really
appreciate it!
Divya Vikram   |2009-12-08
Lovely post Veda!
Shri   |2009-08-11
Veda,Your paintings amaze me!You have such wonderful talent..Your grandmom must
be very proud of you
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