Ganesh Chaturthi festival is celebrated all over India & in Mumbai especially, the grandeur of the festival is something else. The whole city comes alive during the 10 days of the festival & people throng to various locations to get a glimpse & seek darshan of their favourite Bappa.
We, like all his ardent devotees, leave no stone unturned to welcome Ganesha at our humble abode for 1.5 days. The 1.5 days at home is no less than a festival which is celebrated admist family & friends. Its all about loads of sweets, food & visiting each others homes to seek the Lord’s Darshan.
If there is one thing that makes me happy in this world immensely besides food – Flowers. People who know me or visit home for Ganpati can vouch for my undying love for flowers. Have some lovely plans for this year & God willing, everyone will love it.
Now when it comes to Lord Ganesha’s favourite sweets, Modaks or steamed dumplings that has the filling of Jaggery & Coconut is the favorite neivedhya or prasad for Bappa (Lord Ganpati). Usually Modaks or Prasad are served in the numbers of 7, 11, 21 (basically odd numbers). Modaks are also made with milk based sweets like khoa (which is basically reduced milk) or with cashew nuts too but nothing beats the original & the traditional version.
I tried to click images of the process that could be really useful for the ones who are trying for the first time but somehow couldn’t manage the same with both my hands tied up in the process of making modaks & Narayan too wasn’t available to help me.
Instead I have tried my best to write a detailed recipe & hope that you find it useful.
Wishing all the readers a very happy Ganesh Chaturthi. May the Lord bless us all.
Recipe for Modaks or Steamed Rice Cakes / Ukadiche Modak – Ganesh Chaturthi Special
Serves – 10 – 12 nos modaks
For the outer covering –
- Rice Flour – 1 cup
- Salt – a pinch
- Water – 2 cups
- Oil – 1 tsp (Sesame oil preferably) + extra 3-4 tsps for greasing etc
For the filling –
- Jaggery – ½ cup
- Water – ¼ cup
- Coconut – 1 cup (grated)
- Cardamom powder – ½ tsp
- Ghee or clarified butter – 1 tblsp
Method – (for the outer covering)
- In a heavy bottom kadhai, add water & let it simmer gently for a few seconds.
- Add a pinch of salt & slowly incorporate the rice flour. Ensure the flame is low.
- At this stage, be ready with a spatula & continuously mix everything together. Add the oil which helps the dough get less sticky.
- You might find some lumps here & there but continue to mix everything together & once you feel the dough has come together, keep the flame on medium to release the steam from the dough.
- Mix this rice dough for another 2-3 minutes & switch off the gas.
- Spread the dough on a plate & mix few tsps. Of oil & keep aside for 5 mins. Oil is added to ensure the dough doesn’t get dry.
- Now once the dough has cooled down slightly, knead the dough nicely with your hands to get a smooth finish on the modaks & to also avoid cracks or opening up while steaming.
Method (for the filling)
- In a heavy bottom kadhai, add water & let it gently simmer, add jaggery & mix well until it boils & becomes slightly thick (no thread consistency required).
- Add the coconut & ghee & mix it nicely on a medium flame.
- Ensure the flame is between medium to low else coconut might burn & so will the jaggery leading to a very bad flavor.
- The filling will become nice & thick. Switch off the flame, add cardamom powder & mix well.
- Keep this aside for cooling.
Method for making the modaks
- Rub some oil on your palms & place a gooseberry size rice ball on it. Pat it nicely (like a roti) with your fingers & place the coconut & jaggery filling inside.
- Cover the same slowly & give it a shape of modak. (Same as making a paratha where you roll out the wheat flour & stuff with filling of your choice)
- Follow the same procedure for the rest of the modaks.
- Keep rubbing few drops of oil on your palm during the procedure to ensure the modaks don’t crack while filling & don’t turn dry.
Method for steaming the modaks
- Keep some water in the steamer. Once ready, place these modaks in a steamer vessel & steam them for atleast 10 mins. Ensure you grease the plates before placing the modaks on them to avoid sticking. You can also place a banana leaf below.
- Once the modaks are steamed, allow them to cool completely or partially before removing them from the steamer plate, else it might break.
- Many people use modak sanchas or moulds to give a proper shape. I somehow prefer to do it by hand for 2 reasons (1) I love doing it since childhood (2) Moulds use more rice flour coating which I don’t prefer. It has to be a thin layer with a decent amount of stuffing so that when you bite into the modak, you experience an amalgamation of flavours & not just the rice dough.
- Ensure you grease the steamer moulds well & then place the modak for steaming. I use idli plates at home for steaming as I find it very easy. My cooker is the steamer. I don’t believe in buying many gadgets at home.
- Please ensure once the rice dough is prepared & transferred to a plate for cooling, pour some oil all over to ensure the dough doesn’t dry while its being slightly cooled down.
- Always ensure the dough is slightly warm when moulding the modaks. Room temperature dough requires more oil & also cracks many times while steaming due to excessive drying.