Kunji pathil/Aana pathil (rice dumplings in beef gravy)


It’s very bad of me that I dint introduce any malabarian dishes yet.Malabar is in northern part of Kerala, and people over ther are well known for their hospitality. If any guest arrive at home, table will be filled with variety of food,snacks and sweets. We malabarians celebrate with food. I am from north part of Malabar – Kannur.

Yes this is an authentic Malabar dish which is finger licking and lip smacking. One of my favorite dish, I love to eat this on the next day, taste will be enhanced even more. We usually make this for dinner. Small rice dumplings, cooked in steam and then mix with coconut beef/chicken gravy. During our childhood, whenever my mom make this for dinner, we children also take part in that, to make small dumplings….we all sit together and grab some of the rice and do it. It’s very interesting for us as child. We will feel so proud as a little chef 😜.

Its a bit lengthy process, but definitely worth the effort. Lets see how this dish has been made.

Health Benefits :-

  • Beef is an excellent source of Vitamin B12, B6, potassium, protein, zinc, Iron, Coenzyme Q10 etc..
  • Avoid the fat parts, which has negative effect on your cardiovascular health.

Ingredients :-

For beef gravy :-

  1. Beef     – 250 g
  2. Cardamom – 1 or 2
  3. Clove – 2
  4. Cinnamon – 1/2 inch pc
  5. Onion  – 1 medium
  6. Tomato – 1 medium
  7. Ginger garlic paste – 1& 1/2 tsp
  8. Pepper powder – 1 & 1/2 tsp
  9. Red chilli powder – 2 to 3 tsp
  10. Coriander powder – 2 tsp
  11. turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  12. Garam masala   -1 tsp
  13. Fennel seeds powder – 1/2 tsp
  14. Salt   – to taste
  15. Oil  – 1 1/2+ 1 tbsp oil
  16. Grated coconut  – 1/2 cup
  17. Rice   – 1/2 tsp
  18. turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  19. Garlic – 1 clove
  20. Fennel seeds – 1/4 tsp
  21. Coriander leaves to garnish.

For rice dumpling/ kunji pathil

  1. Rice powder  – 1 & 1/2 cup
  2. Fennel seeds  – 1/4 tsp
  3. Grated coconut – 1/3 cup
  4. Onion  – half of small one chopped
  5. Water  – enough to make the dough
  6. Salt   to taste

Direction :-


For beef gravy

  1. Cut beef into cubes and clean nicely and keep aside.
  2. Pour 1& 1/2 table-spoon of oil in your pressure cooker, and put the cardamom,clove and cinnamon stick. When you get the aroma, put in ginger garlic paste, saute for a minute. Then add chopped onion. When onion turns to light brown color, add the chopped tomato.saute for 2 mins.
  3. Now add the masala from ingredients 8 – 13 and saute well. Add enough salt.
  4. Now add the cleaned beef and enough water to cook the beef. Close the lid with pressure button on top and cook for 20 to 25 mins or till its done.
  5. Now in another pan, heat 1 table-spoon oil and put rice and splutter, then add fennel seeds, chopped garlic, grated coconut and turmeric powder.( ingredients 16 – 20). Saute it in low flame untill coconut turns to very light brown color.turn off the flame.
  6. When it cools down, grind it with 1/3 cup of water into a smooth paste.
  7. When your beef cook well, add the coconut paste and boil for 2 mins. Your beef gravy is ready. Keep it aside.

For rice dumpling/kunji pathil

  1. Just crush the coconut,fennel seeds,chopped onion in a grinder.
  2. Put the rice powder in a big bowl, and add the coconut mix with enough salt and water to it. Make dough. (U must be able to make balls out of the dough. It should neither be so watery nor so dry).
  3. Now take your steamer, keep banana leaf or aluminium foil and apply some oil on it.
  4. Now rub your palm with little oil, take some rice dough and make small balls out of it and gently press between your palm and then make small pit with your finger (as shown in the pic above).
  5. Repeat the process with rest of the dough.
  6. Keep the rice dumplings directly onto the prepared steamer (you can keep it layer by layer in the same steamer, after cooking you can take it apart)
  7. Now steam it for about 15 to 20 mins by closing the lid.Then switch off the flame and keep it to cool down. Separate each dumpling using your fingers without breaking it and keep aside.


  1. Pour the prepared gravy in a little more big deep pan, and add the rice dumpling into it. Mix it well and cook it for 5 to 6 mins. By this time, gravy will be nicely coated to rice dumplings.
  2. Garnish with coriander leaves and enjoy the dish with your loved one.

Tips & Tricks :-

  • You can use either fresh or desiccated coconut. I used desiccated coconut due to unavailability. Fresh coconut will give more flavor.
  • If you want, you can add green chilli. I have not used it here, because hotness from redchilli and pepper was more than enough for us.
  • I used par boiled rice powder for making rice dough. You can mix both white rice powder and parboiled rice powder together. White rice alone make the dough very hard.
  • You can also soak the par boiled rice in boiled water for 3 to 4 hours and grind it with coconut, fennel seeds with little water and make the dough tight using rice powder. If you are following this method, use 3/4 cup par boiled rice.
  • You can also use chicken/mutton/prawns instead of beef.


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