Modak is Bhagwan Ganesha’s favorite candy and made in many Hindu homes during the first day of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.
The most popular variety of modak is the Ukadiche modak, which originates from Maharashtrian cuisine. In this article, I share two ways to shape the modak – with and without a mold.
What is Modak
Modak are steamed dumplings with an outer rice flour paste and coconut filling. These sweet dumplings are also called as Ukadiche Modak in the Marathi language.
The word ukadiche means “that which is steamed”. Also, the word “ukad” means steamed rice flour dough. So, in English, “Ukadiche Modak” means steamed modak.
The South Indian variant of Modak is Kolukattai or Kozhukattai which is made during Vinayaka Chaturthi in the southern Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
For exterior covering of Modak
▢ 1 cup / 150 grams of rice flour
▢ 1.5 cups of water
▢ ¼ teaspoon of ghee or oil
▢ ¼ teaspoon of salt
Also Read: Gulab Jamun
For interior soft filling of Modak
▢ 1 cup / 100 grams of grated fresh coconut
▢ 1 cup / 200 grams of powdered or grated jaggery
▢ 1 teaspoon of powdered cardamom or 6 to 7 green cardamoms, powdered in a pestle & the shells removed
▢ ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg or ground nutmeg powder (jaiphal powder) – optional
▢ ½ teaspoon poppy seeds (khus khus) – optional
▢ ½ teaspoon of ghee or oil
▢ 1 tablespoon of rice flour – optional
Make sweet stuffing
- Heat the ghee in a pan. Keep the flame low. Add poppy seeds. Fry for a few seconds until the poppy seeds start to crackle.
- Then add the grated fresh coconut, jaggery, cardamom powder and grated nutmeg. Mix well and cook this coconut-jaggery mixture over low heat. The jaggery will melt first.
- Stirring often, cook this mixture for 7-9 minutes until the moisture in the jaggery begins to dry. Extinguish the flame. Do not overcook as the jaggery then hardens. Keep this coconut-jaggery filling aside. As it cools, the mixture will thicken further.
- You can also add a little rice flour to this mixture. This is an optional step. Rice flour helps absorb moisture, if any, from the filling. Set the filling aside to cool.
Making rice flour dough
- In a saucepan, add water, oil or ghee and salt. Keep it on the stove. Let this mixture boil.
- Simmer the heat and gradually add the rice flour. Stir quickly and mix the flour with the water. Stir until all the rice flour is combined with the water.
- Extinguish the flame. Remove the pot from the stove, then cover this pot with a lid for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Now take all the dough in a bowl or large plate or in a thali. Gather the dough and start kneading it.
- The dough will be hot when you start kneading. So apply a little water on your palms and knead the dough. Knead the dough well. If you feel the dough seems dense, hard, or dry, just add a few teaspoons of lukewarm water and continue kneading.
- Make small balls with the dough. Roll the balls until they are smooth in your palms. You can also apply a little water on your palms while rolling the balls. Keep the balls covered under a kitchen towel. The balls should be smooth in appearance and should not have cracks.
Making Modak without mold
- Take a ball and flatten it with your fingers into a round disc or shallow bowl shape. While flattening, you can apply ghee or oil in your palms. In the center, place the sweet filling.
- Flute and press the edges. Bring together all the edges and merge them. Remove the extra part of the dough from the top, if any. Shape and taper the modak top with your fingers.
Making Modak with mold
- Grease the modak mold with some ghee or oil. Then close or lock the mold. Put the dough ball inside the mold and press it down to make a space. Place the sweet stuffing.
- Cover the bottom with a little piece of dough. Press and smooth it by sealing the modak.
- Open or unlock the modak mold. Carefully remove the modak from the mold. Shape all modaks this way with a mold. Keep the shaped modak covered with a towel so that the rice paste does not dry out. Make all the modak this way.
- Lightly grease a steamer pan with oil or ghee. Place the shaped modak in the greased pan with a little space between them. Cover with a kitchen towel.
- Take 2 to 2.5 cups of water in an Instant Pot steel pan, pressure cooker or insert. Place a trivet or a rack. Heat the water over high heat until it begins to boil. For an instant casserole, use the sauté option and let the water start to boil.
- The water should be hot or boiling when you place the modak in the large pot. Cover the pot and steam the modak for 10 to 15 minutes over medium-low heat. On the Instant Pot, use the high power steam function for steaming and hold the steam vent in the vent position so that steam is released while steaming. Use a stopwatch to set the time for 10 or 12 minutes.
- After the ukadiche modak is steamed, you can pour a few teaspoons of ghee into it. Some modak may crack when shaping or steaming, but it’s okay. You can forgive yourself if you are doing this for the first time.
- Offer the modak to Bhagwan Ganesha.