Sunday, January 10, 2016

Honthai/Steamed Rice Balls

Honthai/Steamed rice balls
Honthai/Steamed rice balls (with a chocolate filling)
Checking my pantry to see what I had that needed to be used up, I came across a container of rice flour that my mother had sent a while ago. I had used a major portion of it as a thickener for curry. Made from reddish sticky rice the flour was a pretty shade of pinkish/purplish. Since there was only about a cup left, I decided to make steamed rice balls.
Traditionally this is made with a filling of grated jaggery.  Or with grated coconut, fried and sweetened with jaggery.  And steamed in a colander placed on a pan of hot water. Sometimes you want the easy way out.Since I wanted to do it in a jiffy and not go through the process of grating coconuts, I checked my fridge for the filling.I found the answer in a small bar of chocolate. But first I had to toast the rice flour in a pan as it was almost past its shelf life and it was about to go off. 
Ingredients:
1 cup rice flour (made from reddish sticky rice)
1 small bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk
Hot water to mix
This amount was enough for 9 balls

Method:
Break the chocolate into squares. Since the pattern was imprinted in the chocolate, it made sense to break them that way. Set aside.
Place the flour in a bowl. Add a bit of hot water and let it cool down enough to be handled.
Mix into a soft dough. Take enough dough to make a walnut-sized ball. Press in the middle and place the chocolate. Seal the dough till the chocolate is covered. Repeat till the dough and the chocolate is used up.
Grease a colander and place it in a pan containing hot water. Seal the sides where the colander meets the pan with a wet strip of cloth. This ensures that the steam does not escape.
Put the balls in the colander and keep it covered. Let it steam for about 15-20 minutes on a medium flame.
Remove and transfer to a serving bowl.
This is a wonderful accompaniment with tea or coffee.
With the usual white rice, the steamed balls remain white. But with reddish sticky rice, steaming turns the rice flour into a darker shade. 
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