Home / Indian sweets / Whole grain Nonbu Kozhukattai (Indian festival sweet/savory rice cake)
13 March, 2015

Whole grain Nonbu Kozhukattai (Indian festival sweet/savory rice cake)

Comments : 32 Posted in : Indian sweets, snack on by : apsara Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tomorrow is the south-Indian festival of Karadaiyan Nonbu (or vratam in Sanskrit). A traditional festival observed by many Indian families. The women pray for the health and longevity of their husband while younger girls pray for getting a good spouse.


It used to be exciting to sit with our mother and other elder ladies in the house to chant a special prayer and eat this sweet with some butter after offering it to God. I remember as girls in school, we would discuss this with friends the following day and proudly display the little yellow thread (necklace) that we adorn during the nonbu!

Traditionally this sweet called “nonbu adai or kozhukattai” is made with toasted rice and jaggery, with some black eyed beans and coconut that also add a nice crunch. Being a whole-grain fanatic that I am, I decided to try this with brown rice instead of white rice and did a test run yesterday. The result is good, approved by the husband to be blog-worthy! A savory version is also made. So here I am, hurriedly posting these recipes so that you could try it for the festival this weekend.

My blogger friends at the party Fiesta Friday #59 will have a taste of a traditional south-Indian festive sweet this week. Hope they enjoy it. Thanks, Angie, Jhuls and Mila for hosting the party!

Also submitting this at VVLP#30 at bunnykitchen.com

How to make toasted brown rice flour:

1. Soak brown rice in water overnight or 6-8 hours. I used the brown sona masoori variety.

2. Strain through a strainer and air dry for a few minutes.

3. Toast in a pan on medium heat till it is completely dry and changes color. Set aside to cool.

4. Use a good blender or Indian “mixie” to powder it as fine as possible. Do this in small batches to get better texture.

5. Sieve to get powder of uniform particle size.

Here is a peek at the ingredients for the sweet rice cake. Note that the rice flour is made by powdering the toasted brown rice in the cup:


Whole grain Nonbu kozhukattai

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

To make sweet kozhukattai:


white rice flour/ brown rice flour- 1/2 cup

grated jaggery- 1/2 cup

black-eyed beans- 3 tbsp.

cardamom powder- a fat pinch

coconut pieces- 2 tbsp.

water- 3/4 cup


1. Soak beans in water for 2 hours. Cook the beans in a pressure cooker. Do not overcook.

2. Heat jaggery in a pan with 1/2 cup water. When it dissolves completely, strain to remove any dust.

3. Return jaggery solution to pan and add toasted brown rice flour, cardamom, coconut and beans.

4. Stir on low heat to make a dough. Make a ball shaped dough and flatten into circles. Make a small dent in the middle.

5. Steam in a plate/ idli vessel till cooked, about 12 minutes.

6. This is usually served with a dollop of butter. Use Earth Balance for a vegan version.

To make savory rice cakes:

Whole grain Nonbu savory rice cake

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


white rice flour- 1/2 cup

chopped green chilly- 1

cooked black-eyed beans- 2 tbsp.

curry leaves- a few

grated coconut- 1 tbsp.

asafoetida- a pinch

mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp.

coconut oil- 1 tsp.

salt- to taste

water- 1/2 cup


1. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, asafoetida. When the seeds sputter, add chillies, curry leaves and black-eyed beans.

2. Pour water and dissolve salt in it.

3. Add rice flours and stir to avoid lumps. Continue stirring till it thickens into dough.

4. Make the same shape as the sweet version and steam in a pot/ steamer.



32 thoughts on : Whole grain Nonbu Kozhukattai (Indian festival sweet/savory rice cake)

  • March 13, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    wow amazing! loved the traditional dishes and the pictures too 🙂 so festive

    • apsara
      March 16, 2015 at 2:32 am

      thank you, Anu. This is one of my favorite!

  • March 13, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Wow amazing.. I love these kozhukattais especially the savory ones

    • apsara
      March 16, 2015 at 2:33 am

      Yes, Srividya, me too. I like savory better than sweet kozhukattai, in general.

  • March 13, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Nicely done! Sweet and savoury both aresavoury

    • apsara
      March 16, 2015 at 2:34 am

      Thank you, Sridevi.

  • March 13, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    I am hearing a lot of this kozhukattai, never knew this earlier…Looks fabulous…I will try it sometime when possible!!!

    • apsara
      March 16, 2015 at 2:35 am

      True, Malar. This can be an anytime snack!

  • March 13, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Beautiful click dear. As always traditional dish with ur healthy touch. Neatly explained.

    • apsara
      March 16, 2015 at 2:35 am

      thank you, Vidya. Glad you like it!

    • apsara
      March 16, 2015 at 2:36 am

      thank you, Sari.

  • Pingback: Fiesta Friday #59 | The Novice Gardener

  • March 14, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Yay! So many new foods for me today, esp. from Indian cuisine. I am happy that you introduced me to this rice cake – they sounds so delicious. Thanks for sharing. Have fun at the party and enjoy your weekend. xx

    • apsara
      March 16, 2015 at 2:37 am

      Yes, isn’t it fun, with different festive sweets! Happy FF, hope you had a nice weekend too.

  • March 14, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Lovely post, took me back home 🙂 Loved the whole grain version!

    • apsara
      March 16, 2015 at 2:37 am

      Yes, Deepa. This is one of the few festivals that I cherish memories of.

  • March 14, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    It’s very unusual sweets! I’m so glad you shared it with everybody at FF!
    I would be happy to try them, even thou virtually! 😀

    • apsara
      March 16, 2015 at 2:39 am

      Thank you, MIla. I hope you do enjoy them. Happy FF!

  • March 15, 2015 at 4:55 am

    Oh my, they sound so flavourful! I imagine the brown rice flour tasting pleasantly nutty 🙂

    • apsara
      March 16, 2015 at 2:41 am

      Thanks for visiting, and welcome to this blog! The brown rice flour did add a nice flavor and texture to it.

  • S.G.R
    March 15, 2015 at 5:27 am

    Happy Karadayan nonbu. How do you make the “savoury kuzhakkattai” white, even though you make them in brown rice?

    • apsara
      March 23, 2015 at 8:52 pm

      Thank you, Appa. The brown rice flour looks mostly white and the savory adais are made with a blend with white rice flour.

  • March 15, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    I love the idea that you have a festival devoted to good relationships. These rice cakes look festival worthy too!

    • apsara
      March 16, 2015 at 2:43 am

      Yes, Julie, this is one of the few festivals that I actually enjoy because of the simplicity and the yummy cakes too!

  • March 16, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    I really enjoyed learning about the festival, Apsara. How wonderful to have a special holiday to pray for your husband! These cakes look like they would add a lot of festivity to the holiday! Thank you for sharing about this special time.

    • apsara
      March 19, 2015 at 1:21 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Shari. It is not a very well-known festival even in other parts of India, since we have different local cultures in the country. I do hope you try out these rice cakes.

  • March 17, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Two amazing tasty inviting yummy looking dishes, aka recipes! They both look magnificent too!

    • apsara
      March 19, 2015 at 1:22 am

      Thanks, Sophie! xo

  • Pingback: Virtual Vegan *Linky* Potluck Part 32 #vegan #linky | Bunny Kitchen

    • apsara
      March 24, 2015 at 7:08 pm

      thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: