I vividly remember my Grandmother laddling crispy meatballs out from the sizzling oil in her kitchen. Meatballs – we call it ‘Kola Urundai’. The ‘Kola Urundai’ prepared by my Grandmother used to be perfect with crispy outer shell and well cooked meaty content inside. As a child I used to enjoy the outer crispy shell and leave the meaty content in the plate. Same thing happens when I eat her Paniyarams too. My mom’s a big fan of her ‘Kola Urundai Kuzhambu’ (Meatball gravy). ‘Unga Appatha pandra kola urunda taste varavae varathu’* – this is the usual sigh of my mother whenever she makes Kola Orundai.
I will need to create a separate ‘Kola Urundai’ hub to talk about my Grandma’s Minced Meat Kola Urundai Recipe. Stocking that idea for another day. The recipe today is about making Veggie Meatballs - Vegetable balls using Raw Bananas. Vazhakkai Kola Urundai is now in the line for my readers who follow vegetarianism. Other varieties of Vegetarian Kola Urundai that will soon be in Cooking Jingalala: Vazhaipoo kola urundai (veggie meatballs using banana blossom), soya chunk cola urundai (soya chunk meatballs), radish/beetroot kola urundai, senai kizhangu kola orundai (yam meatballs) etc. This is yet another television inspired recipes. When I watched the show, the cook did not talk about the measurements at all. Must be some trade secret. Somehow I cracked the code (ingredients’ measurements secret)) and built the full recipe. My luck, the recipe turned out to be a success – as judged by the husband (who has lately started to give critical reviews for my recipe trials in the kitchen )). He in fact thought they were Minced meat Kola Urundai until I told him that it is made of Vazhaikkai!
Although this Vazhaikkai Kola Urundai recipe is from the cookery show, the tips that are applied in making minced meat kola urundai can also be applied to this vegetarian kola urundai recipe. Many have complaints that whenever they make cola orundai, it tends to break in the oil. The 3 factors which I consider for making perfect kola urundai every time are: consistency of the kola undhai dough, temperature of the oil, amount of roasted gram used. Read on the recipe, find out the tips, tricks and secrets in making Crispy Meaty Kola Urundai every time you make them!
How to make Valakkai Kola Urundai (Veggie Meatballs using Raw Banana) – with Step by Step pictures. Each image can be enlarged if CLICKED.
Step 2. Meanwhile, we’ll set the ingredients required to make ‘kola urundai’ ready on the kitchen table. [If you’re using whole cashews, break them. If you’re using frozen shredded coconut, take a little and place them outside. Need not thaw.]
Step 4. Wash and crush them. If you have a handy stone mortar crush them in it. Else, use a dry blender and operate the mixer just until the all the garlic cloves are crushed. [Take note: Do NOT make it into a paste or puree. Do NOT add water while crushing.] 6 garlic cloves yielded about 1 tbsp. tightly packed crushed garlic. Set aside.
Step 5. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, cut the raw bananas [because, cutting them well before may make the bananas black.]. Discard the tail and head. Add the raw bananas into the boiling water.
Step 6. Let the banana get cooked until soft. Takes around 15-20 minutes. [Water gives you clue if the banana is cooked or not. Once the water becomes dark in color, the raw bananas are cooked]. Take them out with a slotted spoon and lay them in a plate. [If you have kitchen tissue, use it so that the water can be absorbed. If you have a pressure cooker, you may cook the bananas for 3-4 whistles instead of boiling them in open pan] Let the bananas cool for easy handling.
Step 7. Meanwhile, we’ll start preparing the masala for making ‘kola urundai’ (veggie balls). Keep a dry wok on the stove in Medium-Low flame. Add 1 tbsp. oil. Once the oil becomes hot, add the fennel seeds (sombu/saunf/sonf)
Step 11. Add red chili powder. [I originally added a tbsp. of red chilli powder. The husband felt it tasty but it was too hot and spicy for me. You do not worry, I adjusted the measurements in the ingredient list.] Sauté the mixture for a minute or two.
Step 13. Add the broken cashews. Mix well. Fry them for 3 minutes. As I already mentioned, this recipe requires no water. Cashew plays an important role in giving the moisture for the kola urundai dough because of it’s oil content.
Step 14. Add the shredded coconut. Mix well for 3 minutes. Listen, we should NOT completely dry roast the coconut. Just for 2-3 minutes. Because fresh coconut will have lot of moisture. Using it as is in the recipe will make the ‘kola urundai’ dough (vegetable balls dough) loose and you cannot shape them. So to remove little of the moisture but not completely, we need to sauté the coconut. The remaining moisture from the coconut will keep the dough/batter together helping us to shape the balls tightly.
Step 18. Add the roasted gram (pottu kadalai/dalia). Mix well. Sauté just for a minute after adding the roasted gram. [We need not roast the roasted gram. Adding the dalia as is to the recipe will give a raw smell. Hence sauté just a minute]
Step 19. Switch off stove and take the wok out from stove. Cool the mixture before processing. Takes 10 minutes to cool. Step 20. Meanwhile, check if your blender/mixie is dry. If not dry them well. Add the ‘kola urundai mixture’.
Step 21. Lets heat the oil for deep frying before we start grinding the ‘kola urundai’ mixture. Keep a dry wok in Medium-Low flame. Add oil. Temperature of oil is very important for deep frying the ‘kola urundai’. So heat them steadily. [Add enough oil such that the balls can be immersed fully. Smaller the ‘kola urundai’ size, lesser the oil. Small deep pans work best. You may also shallow fry the ground mixture by patting the balls slightly. However you may need to christen the ‘kola urundai’ with another name say, Vazhakkai Cutlet or Raw Banana Patty]
Step 22. Grind the ‘raw banana kola urundai’ mixture to a coarse texture. If your mixture is too tight to spin in the mixie, stop the mixer from time to time and use a spoon to scoop the mixture from bottom. This helps in Even grinding. The cashews, coconut and raw banana gives enough moisture to form the dough. However if you feel your mixture is too dry, you may add JUST 1 TSP. of water while grinding. Transfer the ground mixture to a dry bowl/plate.
Step 23. One main problem for beginners while making ‘kola urundai’ is the fear of breakage. I will show you how to cook the ‘kola urundai’ without breaking them while deep frying.
Start to make balls with the mixture. I kept my ball size a little smaller. Roll the balls between your palms tightly until you see no cracks. Cracks are one of the culprits in breaking the ‘Kola Urundai’ while they are deep fried. Click the below left picture to see an enlarged image. I left a crack in one of the ‘kola urundai’ purposely to show you the end result. I usually check the oil by dropping one nicely-rolled ball first. Results: The ball did not bounce back. It sat and sizzled slowly in the oil. The ball did not break. Perfect! This means the ‘kola urundai’ dough and the temperature of the oil are perfect.
Step 24. Now drop in the remaining balls gently. You may assemble the rolled balls in the spatula and drop them gently in the oil. [Chef’s note: If your ‘Kola Orundai’ break please do not curse me or my blog. Consider luck as another ingredient and you missed it. One of my aunts makes crispy uniform kola urundais every time. Will check with her for more tips.]
Step 25. Do NOT disturb them for 2 minutes. Do NOT mix them with ladle. Once the sizzle begin to slow down, turn the balls gently with ladle. Cook for a minute or two. [Meantime, you may roll the balls for next batch and keep it ready]
Step 27. Place them on a kitchen tissue. Serve them hot. Mmmm… Crispy-Meaty Kola Urundais, this time it is with raw bananas. You may fry the next batch but remember to check if the temperature is hot enough before dropping the balls. You see the below picture to the left? The crack that I left in one of the balls… it almost cracked opened its mouth as though it gasped hard for oxygen in the hot oil . That’s why we need to roll the balls without any cracks. The other ‘Kola Urundais’ look uniform to me, like students standing for a drill in school assembly))).
3Ts [ Tips | Tricks | Tactics and Secrets ] to make Vazhakkai Kola Urundai (Vegan meatballs)
- Roasted gram (pottukadali/chana daliya) proportion is important. It gives the crispness to the kola orundai. At the same time, if you add them more it breaks the kola urundai. My blender did not grind the roasted gram uniformly due to the variety of ingredients added in the mixture. Normally we add powdered roasted gram, but I followed the original recipe’s demo for this Cola Urundai recipe.
- The oil used for deep frying must be heated STEADILY, not in HIGH heat but in Medium-Low. The Kola Urunda must be cooked from inside-out. Too hot oil makes the outer layer to crisp fast giving you a false notion that the kola urundai is done. But the inner layer wouldn’t be cooked. A perfectly done *kola undhai *should have a crispy outer shell and meaty but cooked inner layer, like this:
- When you roll the kola undhai, press the piece between your thumb and other fingers tightly (as if you would make a mold for ‘Pidi Kozhukattai’). Then roll them into a smooth ball. This way you can avoid cracks in the kola urundai.
- Few words on the consistency of the kola urundai dough. Too much moisture in the mixture makes the dough loose. Too much grinding makes the dough loose. If the kola urundai dough is loose, it will be difficult to shape them. They will drink more oil while deep frying and will become soggy. If the dough is too dry, that will also be difficult to shape the kol aurundai. Dry dough will also break the kola urundai while deep frying. Right amount of moisture that is just enough to bind the dough together tightly is the correct consistency.
Now that you patiently listened to today’s class, you may take one Kola Urundai or the whole cup
Want to try a different snack on a Rainy Day? Consider making this Meatless, eggless Kola Urundai using Vazhakkai - Fully Vegan!
- PREP TIME: 10 min
- COOK TIME: 30 min
- TOTAL TIME: 40 min
- YIELD: 17 small veggie balls
- DIFFICULTY: medium
- RECIPE TYPE: Appetizer, Snacks
- 2 – Raw Banana
- 6 – Garlic cloves (vella poondu pallu)
- 1/2 cup – Fresh or Frozen shredded coconut
- 2 tbsp. – Cashews (measured after breaking into bits)
- 1/4 cup – Roasted gram (Pottukadalai/chana daliya)
- 1 tsp. – Fennel seeds (Sombu/Saunf)
- 1/2 tsp. – Cumin seeds (Seeragam/Jeera)
- 1½ tsp. – Red Chili Powder (Milagai thool)
- 1/2 tsp. – Turmeric powder (Manjal thool)
- 1 tsp. – Salt (adjust to taste)
- 5 cups – Water to cook the raw banana
- 1 tbsp. – Oil (for sauteing)
- More Oil for deep frying or shallow frying
Chili powder sponsored by Meg. Display cup sponsored by Shammi. Thank you guys!
‘Unga Appatha pandra kola urunda taste varavae varathu’* - i.e. ‘I will never get to make tasty meatballs like your Grandma’
Mangala from Cooking.Jingalala.Org Eat Well !