Modak is a delicious and iconic Indian sweet dumpling known for its unique taste and is often associated with the Hindu festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. During this joyous occasion, Modak’s symbolize the sweet blessings and the divine presence of Lord Ganesha, making them an integral part of the festivities. Ukadiche Modak, a popular variation of steamed modak, is a staple dish from the Maharashtrian cuisine. Explore the culinary art of making modaks and their significant role in Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations.
Traditional Ukadiche Modak Recipe with Rice Flour
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to prepare ukadiche modak, the traditional steamed sweet dumplings filled with jaggery and coconut:
- One cup of rice flour
- One and a quarter cup of water
- A pinch of salt
- One tablespoon ghee
- Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes
- Preparation Time: 30-45 minutes
- Total Time: 45-65 minutes
For the filling:
- One cup of grated coconut
- Three-furth cup of grated jaggery
- Quarter teaspoon of cardamom powder
- A pinch of nutmeg powder (optional)
- A pinch of salt
To prepare the filling
- Heat a pan on medium-low heat.
- Add the grated coconut and jaggery to the pan. Stir continuously until the jaggery melts and combines well with the coconut.
- Add cardamom powder, nutmeg powder, and a pinch of salt. Mix everything thoroughly.
- Cook the mixture for a few minutes until it becomes slightly sticky and comes together. Remove from heat and let it cool.
To prepare the dough
- In a separate pan, bring the water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and ghee to it.
- Reduce the heat to low, and slowly add the rice flour while stirring continuously to avoid lumps.
- Mix until the rice flour absorbs the water and forms a dough-like consistency.
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook the dough on low heat for a few minutes.
To Assemble the Modak
- Roll a small portion of the dough into a smooth ball. Flatten it to form a small disc with your fingers or using a rolling pin.
- Hold the disc in your hand and create a slight depression in the centre to hold the filling.
- Place a spoonful of the prepared coconut-jaggery filling into the depression.
To Shape the Modak
- Start pleating the edges of the disc and bring them together at the top.
- Gently pinch and twist the top to secure the modak’s shape.
- Ensure that the modak is tightly sealed and has a conical shape.
To Steam the Modak
- Grease a steamer plate or basket with ghee to prevent sticking.
- Arrange the modaks on the plate, leaving space between them to prevent sticking during steaming.
- Steam the modaks for about ten to 15 minutes on medium heat until the outer covering becomes translucent. The modaks will firm up, and you know these are ready.
Carefully remove the steamed modaks from the steamer and let them cool slightly. They are ready to be served after a while!
What are the Types of Modak?
This is the classic and most popular type of modak. It is made with a filling of jaggery and grated coconut flavoured with cardamom. The outer shell is made from rice flour dough and is usually steamed. Ukadiche modaks are commonly associated with the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi.
Unlike the traditional steamed modak, this version is deep-fried. The outer covering is often made from wheat or all-purpose flour, and the filling can vary from sweet to savoury. Sweet fried modaks might have a filling similar to the ukadiche modak, while savoury ones can contain ingredients like spiced lentils or vegetables.
A modern twist on the traditional modak, chocolate modaks are made with chocolate, cocoa, and sometimes nuts.
Dry fruit modak:
These Modak’s are enriched with chopped and roasted dry fruits, such as almonds, cashews, and raisins, combined with jaggery or sugar. The result is a nutty and indulgent filling that combines sweetness and crunch.
Saffron-infused Modak’s have a distinct golden hue and a fragrant aroma. For a rich and luxurious taste, the filling might include a mix of saffron, cardamom, nuts, and khoya.
Mawa or khoya is the main ingredient in these modaks. Khoya is cooked down milk solids and lends a creamy and rich texture to the filling. It’s often combined with nuts and aromatic spices.
In this version, the outer layer is made from roasted rava instead of rice flour. The filling can range from coconut and jaggery to nuts and cardamom, resulting in a delightful texture contrast between the crispy shell and the soft filling.
These Modak’s incorporate the goodness of fruits into the filling, either through dried fruits or fresh fruits. They offer a fruity sweetness and a burst of natural flavors.
Made from a mixture of roasted sesame seeds and jaggery, these modaks provide a nutty and earthy flavor. They are often prepared during festivals like Makar Sankranti.
How are Modaks Healthy?
Modak’s have all the ingredients that bring good nutrients to the body! Here’s what you need to know about their benefits:
- Ghee –
Ghee is rich in healthy fats and vitamins and supports digestion and nutrient absorption while enhancing flavours.
- Coconut –
Coconut offers health benefits as a source of medium-chain triglycerides, aiding in energy production and metabolism. Its rich content of antioxidants and minerals supports immune function and contributes to skin and heart health.
- Jaggery –
Jaggery, a natural sweetener, provides iron and essential minerals, supporting healthy blood circulation and preventing anaemia. Its slow-release sugars offer sustained energy without the rapid blood sugar spikes associated with refined sugars.
- Rice –
Rice is a gluten-free staple that provides energy through complex carbohydrates and offers essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre, promoting digestive health and overall vitality.
Making modaks needs a lot of practice and patience! With time and blessings from Him, may your modaks be sweet and soft!