So 'tis the season to be jolly! We had one helluva weekend - ate out, watched a movie, celebrated a friend's birthday and yes, put up the Christmas tree and my little fellow decorated it too - well, almost! He put up all the trinkets on one single branch & dragged the rest of the decoration around in the hall - so we spent double the time cleaning up after the mess he had created. Anyway, if this isn't fun, what is? When I was younger we had a real tree - a particular variety that is commonly called as the Christmas tree in India.
Since my mum & dad were passionate about gardening we even had a plant nursery for a few years and so having a few Christmas trees at home was a common thing. Our tree at home (the one I claimed for myself) grew steadily as the years passed by and eventually had to be transferred from its pot to the ground to accommodate its robust roots. What seemed like an easy task to decorate it turned into a challenge as it grew taller and more decoration had to be bought every year - however, it was always fun to decorate it along with my cousins and then beg our dads or brothers to put up the lights as well. Some of them blinked softly every few seconds and those are the ones I really liked.
In Mangalore, almost any Christian house you visit will have a Crib & a Christmas tree decorated - most times its a branch chopped off fresh from the Casurina tree. Probably today most homes have made a transition to store bought fake trees that need to be fixed every year and then stashed away. Christmas cards, silver bells, little gifts, angels, stars and other tree ornaments glistening from the branches at night always made me feel so good.
Speaking of trinkets reminds me that today's recipe, the Kokkis or Rose/Roce cookie as it's called in English does look like a pretty X'mas tree ornament, doesn't it?
To be honest, despite being a hard core Mangalorean & a big Kuswar lover, I had never seen the process of making the Roce Cookies, neither had I seen the mould required to make them. After I got married, I learnt to make the Rice Laddoos & Neuries (Sweet Puffs) from my MIL and she happened to tell me about the process and I only had a big question mark displayed on my face. I simply could not figure out the process, anyways, she was kind enough to teach me this time after which I tried it again in my kitchen in Mumbai. On my recent trip to Mangalore, I searched high & low for the mould and paraded the whole of Market Road, Mangalore (upto the old vegetable market - Vodli Market) and finally found it in Bharat Steel who stock every possible type of crockery you need. I am not sure where this particular mould is available in Mumbai, but I am sure Andheri Market will have moulds of other shapes if not this one (post updated with resources - pls scroll down)
A word of caution though - if you are making these for the first time you may need an extra pair of hands to help you fry the cookies while you are busy getting the impressions made in the batter, however, it's not rocket science as I was able to make them on my own plus click the step wise pictures - so don't worry.
Yield 33-35 cookies
- 150gm raw rice cleaned & soaked for 2-3 hours
- 3/4th cup (100gm) maida
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 coconut or 1 packed cup grated coconut
- 3-4 cardamoms without skin
- Roce cookie mould/metal form * see notes
- a wide & shallow mixing bowl (without tall sides)
- a wide heavy bottomed kadhai
- slotted ladle
Extracting the coconut milk
Coarsely grind the grated coconut & cardamom seeds using a little less than 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Transfer the contents onto a muslin cloth spread over a vessel. Make a bundle of the cloth & its contents and gently squeeze out the coconut milk. Cardamom flavoured thick coconut milk is ready.
Preparing the batter
Drain the soaked rice & grind it along with 1/2 cup of the thick coconut milk and salt to a fine paste. Retain the remaining coconut milk aside
Add the sugar and the flour (maida) and stir it gently to avoid any lumps and pulse the mixer grinder again for a few seconds till well incorporated. Transfer the contents into the bowl & add the egg & mix it gently (if you beat the mixture too much the egg will turn frothy & the batter will incorporate air bubbles which result in cookies with bubbles on their surface which we want to avoid) - see pics
The batter should be of dosa batter consistency. Not too stiff & thick and neither runny & thin. Adjust the consistency by adding a teaspoon of the reserved coconut milk at a time and mixing the better well till incorporated.
Frying the rose cookies
Heat oil for deep frying in the kadhai. Add enough oil so that you are able to fry at least 3-4 cookies at a time. Let the oil heat up on a medium high flame. Dip the mould in the hot oil for a minute or two - Don't skip this step - it is important for the mould to heat well else when you dip it into the batter, the batter wont stick to the mould.
Dip the mould carefully into the batter until the batter coats the mould but does not cover the entire mould - take care to see that the batter does not cover the upper surface of the mould - this is very important as your cookie-making programme will end up in a disaster. Also, do not leave the hot mould dipped for too long into the batter as the heat from the metal mould will cook the batter in the bowl. So be quick and do the drill - dip mould in the batter & dip it in the hot oil and shake the mould as if you are tapping the mould into the hot oil in quick progression. This helps the batter to release itself from the mould & float in the hot oil after which the process of frying continues.
Just in case you want to know what happens if you drown the entire mould in the batter!
Above Pic: Cookie mould was completely covered in batter as a result of which the cookie could not release itself from the mould (true story!)
Flip the cookies back to the right side facing up and using a slotted ladle fish out the cookies one by one, drain them gently against the side of the kadhai & transfer onto an absorbent kitchen tissue to drain off the excess oil.
Pic1: Place the mould in the hot oil for 2-3 minutes
Pic2: Dip the mould gently into the batter (the upper surface of the mould should be seen)
Pic3: Transfer the mould immediately into the hot oil
Pic4: Shake the mould continuously to release the cookie batter
Repeat the process of frying till all batter is finished. Towards the end, gently tilt the bowl it so that the mould has enough batter to dip into - but take care again not to allow the batter to overlap the mould.
Pic5: Continue to shake the mould until the cookie releases itself
Pic6: Cookie has released itself into the oil
Pic7: Fry until pinkish brown. Fry on both sides
Pic8: Flip over & drain using a slotted spoon
Storing the Rose cookies:
Once the cookies have completely cooled off, store them in an airtight container. They keep well for 2-3 weeks
1. The Kokkis mould is available in most steel crockery shops in Mangalore. I bought mine from Bharat Steel, Market Road (opp to M.D Souza bakery before it closed down). The mould cost me around Rs 75.
2. One of my readers suggested Cheap Jacks, Hill Road, Bandra (near St. Peter's Church) for all kinds of moulds especially the X'mas variety.
3. You can buy it online. These are called the Rosette mould.
2. Make sure that the consistency of the batter is just right so you get the best quality of kokkis. Do not beat the egg too much as it will turn frothy & form bubbles on the cookies as you see in my pictures - lesson learnt!
3. Some recipes do not ask for maida to be added - however these make the cookies extra crisp and easy to bite.