Alternative method to making the outer cover:
You can use store bought rice flour. To make the dough, heat 1 cup of water (for 1 cup of rice flour), add a tablespoon of oil, a pinch of salt, and mix the rice flour gently into the water, and make the dough, on low heat. Dough will come together in a few minutes. Turn the heat off, and cool it before kneading. Proceed with the rest of the steps as above.
I always used to make it like this, but always ended up with dry, cracking shells. My friend told me to try this recipe, and I am glad I did because we ended up with the best, moistest kozhakattais!
I have some good memories of those days before my marriage, when every ganesh chathurthi, all of us girls would help mom make these delicious sweets in the tens, as we were a big family. Mom always made the maavu (outer covering), and the filling, and our job was to put them together.
When we were kids, my mother used to tell us a story, a famous story about this delicous dessert. It was about a man who's newly married, goes to his mother-in-law's house (minus the wife), and she serves him kozhakattais. Our man, who has never had them before, loves them and asks her what they're called. Since it's a strange and new name, he recites it on the way back to his home so he'll remember to tell his wife so she could make them for him. He reaches a stream, and a man before him jumps over the stream while saying "Athiribacha". Our idiot also says the same term to jump across the stream, and forgets kozhakattai, instead, reciting athiribacha all the way home. He goes home, and tells his wife that she should make him...athiribacha.
The poor wife has no clue what he's talking about, and tells him she doesn't know how to make it. He thinks she's lying to get out of making them, beats her, and goes out in a huff. The wife sits at home crying her eyes out, wondering what kind of an idiot she's married to. The husband comes back home eventually, just in time to listen to his neighbor asking his wife why her face is swollen like a...that's right, a kozhakattai! And our man jumps in joy. "That's it, it's kozhakkatai". He apologizes for hitting her, and the long-suffering wife makes them for him after this, and all is well!
We used to listen to stories like this, and didn't think anything of them. Only now, I wonder what kind of message stories like this are propagating for generations, making wife-beating an accepted norm!