Mothagam are delicious, sweet dumplings filled with a mixture of green gram, spices, coconut and jaggery. When I went to a Sri Lankan shop in Sydney and told the Tamil owner I was making mothagam, he chuckled in disbelief. But when I returned and told him they were a success, he announced to all his customers that I could make mothagam and gave me a generous discount.
To make the filling, drain the soaked green gram, then rinse and drain again. Put the gram in a saucepan with
In a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat, dry-roast the coconut for 7-10 minutes, stirring continuously, until dark golden brown. Remove from the pan. Dry-roast the fennel seeds for 1 minute, then pound into a powder using a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder).
In a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, melt the jaggery, adding a small amount of water (about
To prepare the dough, place the plain flour in a bamboo steamer lined with two layers of muslin or a piece of non-stick baking paper. Fill a wok about one-third full with water and bring to the boil. Place the steamer in the wok, ensuring the bottom of the steamer isn’t touching the water, and heat the flour (uncovered) for 4 minutes, or until the flour is warm, stirring occasionally with a fork to break up any lumps. Sift the warm flour into a large mixing bowl. Sift the red rice flour into the same bowl, add a pinch of salt, then mix together.
Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in the boiling water, using just enough to make a thick, pliable dough. Mix in the coconut oil, then gradually add
Grease your hands with a little coconut oil. Take a ball of dough and flatten it in the palm of your hand into a disc about
Steam in batches in a bamboo steamer lined with two layers of muslin, making sure to place them
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