Modak is Bhagwan Ganesha’s favorite sweet and made in many Hindu homes during the first day of Ganesh Chaturthi Festival.
The most popular variety of modak that is made is Ukadiche modak from the Maharashtrian Cuisine.
What is Modak
Modak are steamed dumplings with an outer rice flour dough and a coconut-jaggery stuffing. These sweet dumplings are also known as Ukadiche Modak in Marathi language.
The word ukadiche means ‘that which is steamed’ or ‘steamed’. The word ‘ukad’ also means steamed rice flour dough. So in simple english “Ukadiche Modak” means steamed modak.
The South Indian variation of Modak is Kozhukattai or kolukattai which is made during Vinayaka Chaturthi in the Southern Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
How is Modak made?
The coconut-jaggery stuffing and rice dough are made initially. Then portions of the rice dough are shaped in a ball, flattened and then stuffed with the filling.
The edges of the flattened rice dough is then pleated, folded and shaped to make a beautiful fluted dumpling what we call as Modak. After shaping the Modak is then steamed.
Modak can be shaped in many ways. You can make them with the fluted petal shape or even in the shape of half-moon similar to karanji or gujia.
To give the fluted shape with hands some practice and experience is required. I prefer to use modak moulds as I find shaping with them is quicker than shaping with hands.
Many shops begin to sell this before Ganesh Chaturthi festival. You can even buy them online. If you are beginners then you can make the half-moon shape for modak or buy the moulds.
Making modak does take quite some time and can be a messy affair, especially if you don’t get the things right.
By practice, you will learn to make better modaks at home. Preparing modak does require patience & effort. It is good if you have the modak moulds. They make the stuffing work easier.
On Ganesh Chaturthi Festival
This year Ganesh Chaturthi is starting on 22 August 2020 and as usual will last for 10 days.
A happy Ganesh Chaturthi to all the readers of my blog. I pray that Bhagwan Ganesha bestows prosperity, luck and blessings to everyone. If you are looking for recipes which are made during Ganesha festival then you can check this list of 60 recipes for Ganesh Chaturthi.
The Ganesh Chaturthi festival is one festival I have grown up with. I would see as a kid how we, the devotees of Bhagwan Ganesha would bring him and worship him with so much devotion and prayerfulness in our hearts and homes.
This aspect of devotion and gratitude became a part of me and is something which I still have. I can never forget those days when I would simply wait for Ganesh Chaturthi festival and would not like when we had to leave Bhagwan Ganesha.
I would also wait to have the sumptuous feast, the prashad (prasad) or naivedya or bhog that was first offered to Bhagwan Ganesha and then to us. This feast had its own beautiful feeling of love and devotion infused in it.
The vegetarian feast served on plantain leaf, would consist of satvik (made without onion and garlic) food.
So there would be poori, puran poli, lentil stews (varan), a sautéed vegetable dish, steamed rice, curd ladoo, Banana Sheera and of course modak.
Modak is a favorite sweet of the family too. We all like the sweet jaggery and coconut stuffing inside the modak. This stuffing is similar to the stuffing in Patholi (a Konkani sweet dish of rice flour pockets or rolls steamed in turmeric leaves).
Patholi is a sweet that is made during the Gauri – Ganesh festival in the regions of Konkan & Goa.
You can also check these other Modak recipes:
- Mango modak
- Dry fruits modak
- Chocolate modak
- Quick mawa modak
- Kozhukattai recipe
- Sweet kozhukattai (South Indian recipe variation of modaks).
How to make modak
Making the sweet filling
Chop the jaggery and keep aside. Also grated the coconut and set aside. You will need 1 cup jaggery and 1 cup fresh grated coconut.
1. Heat ghee in a pan. Add poppy seeds. Keep flame to a low. Fry for some seconds till the poppy seeds start crackling.
2. Then add grated fresh coconut and powdered jaggery or grated jaggery.
3. Mix well and cook this coconut-jaggery mixture on a low flame.
The jaggery will melt first. Cook on a low flame and stir often.
4. Stir at times and cook this mixture till the moisture from the jaggery begins to dry. Switch off the flame. Don’t overcook as the jaggery then hardens. Keep this coconut-jaggery filling aside. On cooling, the mixture will thicken more.
The following is an optional step. You can add 1 tablespoon rice flour to this mixture and mix well. A tip from my friend. The rice flour helps to absorb moisture if any from the filling. Set the stuffing aside.
Making outer cover of modak
1. In a pan or dekchi add water, oil or ghee and a pinch of salt. Keep it on the stovetop.
2. Let this mixture come to a boil.
3. Add the rice flour.
and quickly stir and mix the flour with the water.
4. Stir till all the rice flour is mixed with the water. Switch off the flame. Remove the pan from the burner and keep on the workplace. Cover the pan with a lid for 4 to 5 minutes.
5. Now take all the dough in a plate or thali or in a bowl. Gather the dough together and begin to knead it. The dough will be hot when you begin to knead. So apply some water on your palms and knead the dough. Knead the dough very well. If you feel the dough looks dense or hard or dry, then just add a few teaspoons of warm water and continue to knead.
6. Knead to a smooth and soft dough without any lumps.
8. Make small balls from the dough. Roll the balls till smooth in your palms. You can also apply some water on your palms, while rolling the balls. Keep the balls covered with a kitchen towel. The balls should not have cracks. They should be smooth in appearance.
9. Take a ball and flatten it with your fingers or on your palms, to a round disc or a shallow bowl shape. You can apply ghee/oil in your palms, while flattening.
10. Place the modak filling in the center.
11. Press the edges as shown in the pic below. You can also press the edges first and then add the filling.
12. Bring together all the edges and join them. Remove the extra portion of the dough from the top, if any. Shape and taper the top of the modak with your fingers. You can also use ready modak moulds. They are usually available in shops and market some days before Ganesh Chaturthi festival in different sizes.
Grease the modak mould with a bit of ghee or oil. Then close or lock the mould. Put the dough ball inside the mould and press it so that a space is made.
Place the sweet stuffing.
Cover the bottom with a small piece of dough. Press and smoothen it sealing the modak.
Open or unlock the modak mould. Remove the modak gently from the mould. Shape all modaks this way with mould. Keep the shaped modak covered with a napkin so that the rice dough does not dry out.
13. Make all the modak this way. Brush or grease a pan with some oil or ghee. The pan can also be lined with banana leaves or turmeric leaves. Place the shaped modak in the greased pan.
Take1.5 to 2 cups water in a pot, pressure cooker or an Instant Pot steel insert. Place a trivet or a rack. Heat the water till starts to boil. For instant pot, use the sauté option and let the water begin to boil.
I have stacked two pans for steaming 16 modak. But you can also steam the modak in separate batches. Just cover the shaped modak with a moist muslin or cotton napkin before you begin to steam.
14. Cover the pan and steam modak for 10 to 12 minutes. On the Instant Pot, use the steam function on high for steaming. Use a stop watch to set the time to 10 or 12 minutes. Once the ukadiche modak are steamed, you can drizzle a few teaspoons of ghee on them. Some modak may crack while shaping or steaming, buts it is fine. You can forgive yourself if you are making this first time.
15. The ukadiche modak are ready to be offered to bhagwan ganesha.
Important note: If you are making the modaks as prasad or naivedyam then please refrain from tasting the filling or the dough. Prepare with the utmost care, love and devotion and this prasad of modaks will nourish everyone’s being subtly. Use clean utensils and good quality ingredients and prepare them in a clean and hygienic manner.
This recipe post is from the archives (Sep 2010) and has been republished on 10 August 2020.
Ukadiche Modak is a traditional Maharashtrian steamed sweet dish offered to bhagwan ganesha on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi festival.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Cuisine Indian, Maharashtrian
Servings 12 to 15 modak
for the outer modak covering
for inner sweet filling of modak
making sweet filling
Heat ghee in a pan. Keep flame to a low. Add poppy seeds, cardamom powder and nutmeg powder. Fry for some seconds till the poppy seeds start crackling.
Then add grated fresh coconut and powdered jaggery or grated jaggery.
Mix well and cook this coconut-jaggery mixture on a low flame. The jaggery will melt first.
Stir at times and cook this mixture till the moisture from the jaggery begins to dry. Switch off the flame. Don’t overcook as the jaggery then hardens. Keep this coconut-jaggery filling aside. On cooling the mixture will thicken more.
You can also add a bit of rice flour to this mixture. This is an optional step. The rice flour helps to absorb moisture, if any from the filling.
Keep the filling aside to cool.
making outer cover of modak
In a pan or dekchi add the water, oil or ghee and salt. Keep it on the stove top.
Let this mixture come to a boil.
Reduce the flame and add the rice flour gradually. Quickly stir and mix the flour with the water.
Stir till all the rice flour is mixed with the water.
Switch off the flame. Remove the pan from the stove top and then cover this pan with a lid for 4 to 5 minutes.
Now take all the dough in a large plate or thali or in a bowl. Gather the dough together and begin to knead it.
The dough will be hot when, you begin to knead. So apply some water on your palms and knead the dough. Knead the dough very well.
If you feel the dough looks dense or hard or dry, then just add a few teaspoons of warm water and continue to knead.
Make small balls from the dough. Roll the balls till smooth in your palms.
You can also apply some water on your palms, while rolling the balls. Keep the balls covered with a kitchen towel. The balls should be smooth in appearance and should not have any cracks.
Before you start shaping the modak, keep 2 to 2.5 cups water for steaming in a large pan. You can even shape the modak first and then keep water to boil. Cover the shaped modak with a clean kitchen towel before you begin to steam them.
Grease a steamer pan lightly with oil or ghee.
Take a ball and flatten it with your fingers to a round disc or a shallow bowl shape. You can apply ghee or oil in your palms while flattening.
Place the sweet filling in the center.
Press the edges as shown in the picture below. You can also press the edges first and then place the sweet filling.
Bring together all the edges and join them. Remove the extra portion of the dough from the top, if any. Shape and taper the top of the modak with your fingers.
Make all the modak this way. Place a rack or stand in the large pan. Then place the steamer pan with modak on it. The water should be hot or boiling when you place the modak in the large pan.
Cover the large pan with a lid and steam for 10 to 15 minutes on a low flame.
Some modak may crack whilst shaping or steaming, buts it is alright. You can forgive yourself if you are making this first time.
Once the modak are steamed, drizzle a few teaspoons of ghee on them. The ukadiche modak are ready to be offered to bhagwan ganesha.
Calories: 160kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 1gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 27mgPotassium: 53mgFiber: 1gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 5IUVitamin C: 0.5mgCalcium: 14mgIron: 0.5mg
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