Mom's Kakka Orotti | Steamed Mini Rice Dumplings in Roasted Coconut Sauce Chicken Gravy

Steamed rice dumplings that we call Kakka Orotti is soaked in a rich gravy of chicken or beef that is made with coconut sauce with the hint of Malabar garam masala is my heaven on a plate.
Mom's Kakka Orotti | Steamed Mini Rice Dumplings in Roasted Coconut Sauce Chicken Gravy

What is Kakka Orotti?

Kakka is a Malayalam word for clams and Orotti is flatbread dough that is made with ground rice. It is known by many other names like kakka rotti, aanapathal, pidi, aanaorotti, kunjipathal, undio, pinde, etc. The difference in name is largely depending on the region of origin in the southern state of India - mostly Kerala and coastal Karnataka. They are known differently and also are made differently except that all of it uses rice for the balls, are steam cooked and are folded into a prepared curry with meat or seafood.

Kakka Orotti is a true Moplah dish that is celebrated as a staple and also as a special occasion food. Back home, this dish brings all the ladies of the home together in the kitchen, each contributing to rolling the dumplings while catching up with the latest neighbourhood news. I remember as a kid watching my aunts and grandmas with oiled palms rolling the kakka orotti while incessantly talking and laughing together! A scene that is less prevalent these days so I don't know if this tradition will continue with our generation... 😞

Mom's Kakka Orotti | Steamed Mini Rice Dumplings in Roasted Coconut Sauce Chicken Gravy
me making sense of my mom's WhatsApp voice messages 😁

Kakka Orotti Ingredients

Today I am sharing a big batch of Kakka Orotti which should feed 4 to 5 foodies as I had planned to share with my neighbours. All thanks to my mom! The number of times I demanded my mom to explain pacha ari and puzhungal ari would have made any teacher send me out of the class. 😂Recently,  I starred all those voice messages on WhatsApp so that I can go back and listen again when in doubt. :-)

For Kakka Orotti, you will need:
  • par-boiled rice (ponni rice)
  • freshly grated coconut
  • fennel seeds
  • onions
  • rice flour
And you can make the chicken or beef or even mutton gravy with coconut sauce with the same recipe. 

Mom's Kakka Orotti | Steamed Mini Rice Dumplings in Roasted Coconut Sauce Chicken Gravy

Mom's Kakka Orotti | Steamed Mini Rice Dumplings in Roasted Coconut Sauce Chicken Gravy

Mom's Kakka Orotti | Steamed Mini Rice Dumplings in Roasted Coconut Sauce Chicken Gravy

How to make Moplah style Kakka Orotti?

Ensure you have enough time or a helping hand. You can divide the tasks between two days too.
  1. Prepare the rice dough
  2. Make the balls (as described in the recipe) and steam them in batches, while steaming-
  3. Roast the ingredients for coconut sauce and make a paste, while roasting-
  4. Prep the ingredients for the chicken/beef curry
  5. Prepare the chicken gravy
  6. Fold in the steamed Kakka orotti
You can steam a batch of kakka orottis and refrigerate them in an airtight container and use as and when you have some gravy in hand.

Mom's Kakka Orotti | Steamed Mini Rice Dumplings in Roasted Coconut Sauce Chicken Gravy

Mom's Kakka Orotti | Steamed Mini Rice Dumplings in Roasted Coconut Sauce Chicken Gravy


For the mini steamed rice dumplings:
  • 2 cups parboiled rice (ponni rice or koorva)
  • 1 cup fresh grated coconut
  • 2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 medium onion, diced roughly
  • 1 cup water (approx)
  • 3 tablespoon rice flour (approx)
  • Salt to taste
  • oil to grease the steamer and your palm
For the ground coconut paste:
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 2 teaspoon of raw rice grains
  • 2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • water to make a smooth paste
For the Chicken Gravy:
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 large onion, sliced finely
  • 2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 2 medium tomato, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 2 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 850gms to 1kg whole skinless chicken, curry cut
  • 2 cups of water
  • Salt to taste
  • Prepared coconut paste
  • 1 teaspoon Malabar garam masala powder
  • Fistful curry leaves


Prepare the mini steamed rice dumplings dough:
  1. Soak the rice in enough just hot water and cover and keep for an hour
  2. Drain and grind the rice along with grated coconut, onion chunks, fennel seeds, salt and water to a coarse and grainy mixture that is not too smooth but not too grainy either. Do it in batches if required. 
  3. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and start adding rice flour little by little until you can make the mixture into a non-sticky dough. You should be able to pinch a little and make balls that don't fall apart or sticky. (Cover and keep it until needed)
Make Kaka Orottis (small coin-sized dumplings with a dent) and steam them:
  1. Grease your steamer vessels lightly with oil
  2. When you are ready to prepare the kaka orottis, rub both your palms and fingers with oil and take a handful of the dough, roll it between your hands into a log shape. Keep the log-shaped dough on your left hand cupped in fingers and pinch a small portion and roll in into a ball on the left-hand palm. Press it lightly in the middle to make a dent and keep them on the pan.
  3. Repeat this until the steamer pan is filled with these dumplings.
  4. Steam cook on a medium flame for 15 to 20 minutes or until done. 
  5. Transfer them to a container and keep them covered
  6. Repeat until all of the dough is used up.
  7. Keep aside until needed. (At this point you can refrigerate the steamed dumplings if you intend to use next day)
Prepare the coconut paste for the gravy:
  1. Heat oil in a wide frying pan
  2. Add raw rice and sauté until rice puffs up 
  3. Add fennel seeds and grated coconut and sauté again until the coconut starts turning golden
  4. Let it cool and then grind with water to make it into a smooth paste
  5. Keep aside
Prepare the chicken gravy:
  1. Heat oil in a big enough curry pot (this will be the pot where you will add the steamed kakka orotti so ensure you use the right size where you can stir and fold comfortably)
  2. Add the curry leaves along with chopped onions and sauté until golden
  3. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute for couple more minutes or until the raw smell fades
  4. Now, add the chopped tomatoes and cook for few minutes until everything comes together
  5. You can cover and cook at this point if it is too dry
  6. Lower the flame and add all the spice powders - chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder and sauté for couple more minutes 
  7. Now, add the washed and drained chicken pieces and stir well.
  8. Add enough water, season with salt and cover and cook until chicken is completely cooked. (open and stir occasionally to prevent burning)
  9. Add the prepared coconut paste and bring to boil while stirring well
  10. Now, add some more curry leaves and a good dash of garam masala
  11. Gently fold in the steamed rice kakka orottis
  12. Fold until all the coins are coated with the gravy
  13. Cover and cook on very low flame for 5 to 10 minutes
  14. Switch off and serve hot for lunch or dinner
Mom's Kakka Orotti | Steamed Mini Rice Dumplings in Roasted Coconut Sauce Chicken Gravy

If you can't source ponni rice or similar parboiled rice, then check out my recipe for Kakka Orotti using Basmati rice. I used to make that way during my years in Yanbu where I could not source the right type of rice traditionally required to make this. We still loved the old version just like my idlis and dosas that were made with basmati 😊So, I am keeping that recipe as is for all the good reasons.

Sharing this recipe as part of the MFB challenge that announced its last and final challenge! We were given the choice to choose any of the past challenges so I chose "Your favourite Mom's food". I think all my favourites of mom's food is already on the blog but does not match hers. 😁
Poached Egg Curry


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