recipe

Modak

Hello folks, Namaste from India. This is Rutvika and I blog about baking and life in general at sizzleanddrizzle.com. I have been blogging since early 2013 and I love to experiment with modern cuisines with our traditional ingredients.

September is the month when we celebrate the Ganesha festival throughout Maharashtra, a state in western India. Ganesha, the elephant headed God, is worshipped for 10 days with passion and excitement. A holy offering is made to Lord Ganesha in the form of “Modaks” which is then consumed by everyone as “prashad”.

Ganesha is the Lord of well being and of good beginnings. During those 10 days, an artistic clay mode of Ganesha is prepared and worshipped every morning and night. On the 10th day, He is immersed back in water to assimilate with the earth. It is a time of great festivities and is amongst my favorite festivals in India.

The legend of Ganesha , the elephant headed God goes this way – Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, created a boy out of the sandalwood paste she used for her bath and breathed life in to him. Then she asked him to guard her door while she went for a bath. Meanwhile, Lord Shiva who had gone out hunting came back. Ganesha did not allow him to enter, as he did not know who Shiva was. Enraged, Shiva severed the head of the child. Parvati was very angry and disheartened by this. Lord Shiva promised to find a head for him and bring the boy back to life. His devotees tried to find the head of a dead man, but only found the head of a dead elephant. Shiva fixed it on the body of the boy and brought him back to life, and from that day was called Ganesha.

So this month I bring to you “modaks”, an offering made to Lord ganesha. A delicate preparation of coconut and jaggery (a sweetner made from sugarcane juice) filled in a tender rice flour covering and then steamed. It is an age old recipe followed by several generations in our family.

Recipe Source: Traditional recipes followed by generations of the people in Maharashtra, a state in western Indian.

You can find the challenge PDF here

Notes: All the ingredients will be easily available in Indian store or online (eg. Patel Brothers). My family and friends in the US make it every year in their home.

Preparation time:

Ukadiche Steamed Modak : 20 minutes to make the covering, 20 minutes for the filling and 1 hour for shaping and steaming

Savory Steamed Modak : 20 minutes to make the covering, 20 minutes for the filling and 1 hour for shaping and steaming

Fried Modak : 20 minutes for the covering, 30 minutes for filling and 30 minutes for frying

Equipment required: Wide bottomed pan, Slotted spoon, Long handle spoon, Food processor/mixer, Bamboo steamer or stainless steel steamer, Wok for frying

Sweet steamed modaks

 

Recipe 1:

Ukadiche Modak or Fresh Coconut Modak

Servings: Makes 12 modaks

Preparation time: 1 and half hour

Cooking time: half hour

Cooling time: to be eaten hot

Ingredients

For the filling

  • 200 gm fresh shredded coconut
  • 100 gm chopped jaggery
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder

For the covering/ shell

  • 1 heaped cup of Basmati rice flour, sifted (310 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup water (180 m)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 35 grams unsalted butter

Directions:

 

  1. Firstly, we make the filling of the modak. Take the freshly shredded coconut, jaggery and water in a thick bottomed vessel. Put it on medium heat and stir continuously till the jaggery begins to dissolve.
  2. Alternately, you can melt the jaggery in microwave for in bursts of 30 seconds and then add it to the fresh coconut, it will come together faster.
  3. Roast it for a couple of minutes, till the mixture becomes slightly dry.
  4. Add cardamom powder and mix it well.
  5. Take the mixture off heat and spread it on a plate and let it cool down completely while you make the covering.

Modak sweet stuffing

  1. To make the covering, sift the rice flour and 1 tablespoon all purpose flour with the smallest sieve twice so that it is very smooth. The all purpose flour is used to make the rice flour more sticky.
  2. In a thick bottomed vessel, take the water and add butter and salt to it. Let it come to a boil.
  3. Once water starts to boil, add the flour mixture all at once. Take it off heat and mix it together with a spoon.
  4. Then put the mixture back on heat and sprinkle 2 tablespoons water. Cover and let it steam for 1 minute over low heat.
  5. Take it off heat and let it stay in a corner covered for 10 minutes, It will get softened.
  6. Once it has considerably cooled down, pulse it in a food processor for a minute, take it out and knead with hands to bring it together to form a smooth dough.

Modak ukad covering

  1. Prepare the steamer. Fill a large vessel with water covering the bottom of the steamer. Place steamer on top and keep it ready. We place the modaks on a banana leaf for steaming, but you can use a plain tea towel instead.
  2. Make 12 equal balls of the dough.
  3. With a little water, flatten each ball into a thin disk with your hands or in a non-electric roti maker, about 4 inches in diameter. Then take it into the palm of your hand. Stuff it with some mixture leaving ½ inch on all sides. Start pinching the corners into petals with the use of your index finger and thumb and middle finger on each side. Make several such petals all around the edge of the disk.
  4. Then start getting all the petals together by pressing it closer with your fingers. Seal the top and keep it covered with a damp towel till a few are ready to be steamed.
  5. Immerse each modak in water before placing it in the steamer filled with boiling water. Steam for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Serve hot with a dollop of ghee (clarified butter).

Shaping a fried modak

Open modak

Recipe 2: Steamed vegetable modaks

Servings: Makes 12 steamed vegetable modaks

Preparation time: 1 hour

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Cooling time: to be served hot

 

Ingredients

For the filling

  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • ½ teaspoon green chilli paste (or cayenne pepper)
  • ½ cup or 50 grams cabbage , finely chopped (I used the purple cabbage which has a milder flavor)
  • ½ cup or 50 gms onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup or 35 grams green stalks of spring onions
  • ½ cup or 50 grams French beans, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

For the covering / shell

  • 1 heaped cup of Basmati rice flour, sifted (310 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup water (180 m)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 35 grams unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a wok. Add the chilli paste in the oil and let it sizzle for a minute.
  2. Add all the vegetables and stir fry it for a couple of minutes over low heat. Add the salt and sugar. Cover it with a lid and steam the vegetables till just softened, but still crisp.
  3. Add the soy sauce, mix well.
  4. Take it off the heat and let it cool down completely.

Savory stuffing

  1. To make the covering, sift the rice flour and 1 tablespoon all purpose flour with the smallest sieve twice so that it is very smooth. The all purpose flour is used to make the rice flour more sticky.
  2. In a thick bottomed vessel, take the water and add butter and salt to it. Let it come to a boil.
  3. Once water starts to boil, add the flour mixture all at once. Take it off heat and mix it together with a spoon.
  4. Then put it back on heat and sprinkle 2 tablespoon water. Cover and let it steam for 1 minute over low heat.
  5. Take it off heat and let it stay in a corner covered for 10 minutes, It will get softened.
  6. Once it has considerably cooled down, pulse it in a food processor for a minute, take it out and knead with hands to bring it together to form a smooth dough.
  7. Prepare the steamer. Fill a large vessel with water covering the bottom of the steamer. Place steamer on top and keep it ready. We place the modaks on a banana leaf for steaming, but you can use a plain tea towel instead.
  8. Make 12 equal balls of the dough.
  9. With a little water, flatten each ball into a thin disk with your hands or in a non-electric roti maker, about 4 inches in diameter. Then take it into the palm of your hand. Stuff it with some mixture leaving ½ inch on all sides. Start pinching the corners into petals with the use of your index finger and thumb and middle finger on each side. Make several such petals all around the edge of the disk.
  10. Then start getting all the petals together by pressing it closer with your fingers. Seal the top and keep it covered with a damp towel till a few are ready to be steamed.
  11. Immerse each modak in water before placing it in the steamer filled with boiling water. Steam for 15-20 minutes.
  12. Serve with some pickle or ketchup.

(Shaping of modak same as in recipe 1. Just the filling differs)

Fried modaks

Recipe 3:

Servings: 12 fried modaks

Preparation time: 20 minutes for the covering, 30 minutes for filling

Cooking time: 30 minutes for frying

Cooling time: can be eaten immediately

Ingredients

Traditionally, we use khova / mava which is a type of a thick condensed milk in this recipe. However, since it is not available everywhere, I have amended this recipe to use a mixture of condensed milk and milk powder.

For the filling

  • 100 gm dried dessicated coconut
  • 2 tablespoon dry fruit powder (comprising of 4 almonds, 4 unsalted pistachios and 4 cashews)
  • 5 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoon milk powder
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder

For the covering/ shell

  • 1 heaped cup/ 145 grams of all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 and ½ tablespoon heated oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice flour
  • ¼ cup water (180 m)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For frying

  • 2 cups vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. To make the filling, pulse dry dessicated coconut in a mixer till it breaks into crumbs.
  2. Dry roast it in a pan till slightly browned.
  3. Take it off heat and add the dry fruit powder, cardamom powder, milk powder and put it back in the vessel over heat.
  4. Add 5 tablespoons of condensed milk to it.
  5. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes till it becomes slightly dry. Take care to see that it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
  6. If it feels sticky, add another tablespoon of milk powder.
  7. Let the mixture cool down completely before using.

Making fried modak stuffing

  1. In a bowl, take one heaped cup all purpose flour, and add ¼ cup water with ½ teaspoon salt.
  2. In a small wok, heat 2 and half tablespoon oil. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon of rice flour and let it sizzle for a few seconds.
  3. Add this oil to the bowl with flour and mix it well. Knead it for 2 minutes. And then keep it aside for 30 minutes to soften.
  4. After that, pulse it in a food processor for a minute, take it out and knead with hands to bring it together to form a smooth dough.
  5. Divide the dough into 12 equal balls.

Fried modak shell

  1. Roll each ball into a disk and then take it into the palm of your hand. Stuff it with some mixture leaving ½ inch on all sides. Start pinching the corners into petals with the use of your index finger and thumb and middle finger on each side. Make several such petals all around the edge of the disk.
  2. Then start getting all the petals together by pressing it closer with your fingers. Seal the top and keep it covered with a damp towel till all are done.
    Shaping a fried modak
  3. In a big wok, heat 2 cups of vegetable oil. Fry two modaks at a time. Insert it into the oil pointed side down so that once that side cooks a little bit, it won’t open up while the rest of the modak cooks.
    Frying a modak
  4. Drain it on kitchen paper and serve.

Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:

The steamed modaks with fresh coconut filling and vegetable filling have to be stored in the fridge and

warmed in a microwave oven prior to eating.

It is best to be eaten on the same day.

The fried modak with dry dessicated coconut can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for upto 4 days.

Additional Information:

  • We use Basmati rice to make the shell or the covering in the steamed modaks, as it is sticky in comparison to other forms of rice locally available. But you can use other variety is Basmati is not available.
  • We generally dessicate coconut freshly, but you can buy dessicated coconut from the stores. Please note dessicated fresh coconut is used in the steamed modaks and dry dessicated coconut in the fried modaks.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*