Modaks: Sweet Dumplings

One of my favourite holy festivals, Ganesh Chaturthi, is tomorrow and there’s nothing more delicious to celebrate this joyous occasion than with a scrumptious Modak.

A Modak is a sweet dumpling that is made out of rice flour and jaggery. It is traditionally eaten on Ganesh Chaturthi as it was known to be Lord Ganesha’s favorite dessert.

So, be prepared to get your hands busy! Before we begin, I’d like to mention that I prepared these Modaks with a Modak mould – preparing it by hand can be quite time consuming and difficult. It is a very intricate process that may not suitable for everyone. With a Modak mould, each Modak will have a consistent, beautiful design and will be much easier too!

So, here’s what you’ll need for serving 21 modaks….

Modak Stuffing:

2 cups freshly scraped coconut

1 cup grated jaggery (organic)

1 tbs poppy seeds (lightly roasted)

1 tsp cardamom powder

Few saffron strands

1 tsp ghee

Outer covering (Ukad):

2 cups rice flour

2 cups water

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ghee

1 tbs milk

Method for stuffing:

Begin by heating the pan and adding the ghee. Once the ghee starts melting add the coconut and jaggery. Sauté until it combines well.

Next, add some lightly roasted poppy seeds and stir. Once the mixture thickens, add cardamom powder and saffron strands. Turn off the heat and transfer the mixture to a flat dish to cool down.

While the mixture cools down, prepare the outer covering.

Take one medium-sized thick bottomed broad pan and add some water. Once the water starts boiling, add salt, ghee, milk and then, rice flour to it.

Lower the flame and start stirring. Make sure to mix well. After 3-4 minutes, cover the pan and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes. You can now turn off the heat.

In a large plate, remove the rice flour mixture and start kneading. As the rice flour mixture is very hot, it may be difficult to knead the flour. So, spread the mixture using the base of a bowl or you could also use a Ziplock bag as a “glove” and knead. Make sure to spread evenly and make it smooth.

Once the mixture has cooled down to room temperature, continue to knead. Add a few drops of water and oil if required. Make sure the dough is super smooth and crack free.

Next, cover the dough with wet muslin cloth and keep aside.

Before you begin preparing for the modak, prepare a vessel for steaming. Add the water in a vessel and Place the colander or any flat strainer over it . Cover the strainer with banana leaf and apply some ghee on TOP or muslin cloth to place the modak in the strainer .Personally, I like to use turmeric leaves as it makes the modak even more flavourful. But it’s totally (optional)

To start preparing for modak, keep the modak mould and some oil next to you.

Clean the sides of the mould and grease with some oil or ghee. Make a smooth, round ball from the dough and roll it on your palm first. Then, insert it in the mould and close it.

Next, put your thumb inside the mould, and create a dent in the center. Press and stretch to the remaining sides of the mould, using your thumb.

Next, add the stuffing inside the mould. Seal the bottom part by placing some dough. Make sure you have stretched the dough well from the inside or else, when you remove your modak from the mould- all the filling may fall out!

Remove the excess dough and seal properly.

Once done, open the mould and remove the modak gently. It should not have any cracks! Continue, this procedure with the rest of the dough.

Steaming:

Use the same vessel that you previously used for heating the water. Place the prepared modaks on the strainer in the vessel to steam for 15 minutes on medium heat.

Allow the modaks to cool for some time and while serving add some ghee on TOP. Delicious Modaks are ready to serve to Lord Ganesha.

On this auspicious day, no celebration will be complete without a plate of modaks. So celebrate well with these tasty treats!

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