Sweet coconut dumplings
Its that time of the year again. Its ganesh chaturthi today . It is the much awaited and much loved festival of all maharashtrians.
The handsome and benevolent bappa brings with him blessings and love to ward off all evils and obstacles.
He stays with us for a few days and he is pampered with food, fruits, flowers, dhoop, songs of his greatness and most of all, his favourite food, the MODAK.
Modak can be made in many ways but I personally love the original steamed recipe.
Modak making is truly an art. Shaping and moulding them requires some practice and dexterity.
The process demands that you immerse yourself into making them because every step is very crucial for a perfect end result.
Here is my recipe for ukdiche modak, that I have learnt from my mother.
Thanks to her, I make pretty decent modaks. She would insist that I try to make atleast one with her , every year. And I am so glad she did that.
For the filling
- 2 big fresh coconuts , grated
- 2 ½ cup grated jaggery
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ tsp nutmeg powder
For the covering
- 6 cups rice flour
- 6 cups water
- ½ tsp white butter
- ½ tsp salt
For the Filling
- Mix the coconut, jaggery, sugar in a pan and keep on a low flame, stirring constantly
- The jaggery and sugar will melt. Cook till the mixture is dry, but not too dry.
- Remove from flame and add the nutmeg powder. Mix well and keep aside.
For the Covering
- Heat the water till is starts boiling. Add salt and butter to it.
- Slowly add the Rice flour to the water, stirring constantly, ensuring that no lumps are formed.
- Reduce flame, cover the pan and allow the mixture to cook. This takes about 2-3 minutes.
- When cooked, remove from flame .
- Take a little of the dough at a time in a plate (paraat).
- Apply some ghee to your hands and knead the mixture while it is still hot.
- Knead well till the dough is not sticky any more.
- Keep covered under a damp cloth.
Shaping the Modak
- Take a ball of dough, roughly the size of a large lemon.
- Now make a dent in the center and with the help of both your hands, start shaping the dough like a flattish bowl.
- Ensure that you have ghee on your hands so that the dough does not stick to your hands.
- Now take a heaped spoon of the filling and put it in the dough bowl.
- Start pinching / pleating the edges and bring together to seal.
- Your modak is ready.
- Make the rest of the modaks accordingly.
- Keep them covered with a damp cloth till you are ready to steam them.
I like to use a modak patra for steaming the modaks.
Make sure you keep a banana leaf on the ‘jaali’ of the steamer.
Before you place the modak in the steamer, dip it in cold water and then place on the banana leaf.
Stem for 15 to 20 minutes till the modaks start glistening.
Serve hot with a dollop of ghee.
Let me share Some tips to ensure flawless modaks
Do not cover the steamer tightly, allow some steam to escape.
Sprinkle some cold water over the modaks before you remove them from the steamer.
Use wet hands to remove them or else the modaks might crack.
You can use only sugar for the filling. Though I recommend using jaggery because it gives a nice caramel colour to the filling, plus jaggery is way healthier for our diet than sugar.
You could add food colouring to the rice flour dough to make different coloured modaks.
The most important tip of all is that before you begin, say a prayer to Bappa.
Like all Ganpati Bappa followers, I too seek his blessings before I begin any task.
And remember there is no such thing as an imperfect Modak.
Any offering that is made for Bappa with love and faith, He will gladly accept.
Ganpati Bappa Moraya!