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Monday, September 24, 2012

Ukdiche Modak - Morya re!

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi, everybody! I had been eying these modaks for a while now.. waiting for Ganesh Chaturthi to arrive to try my hand. Finally this weekend I got all the ingredients together and went shree-ganesh!

Ukdiche Modak - Bappa's favorite!
The story goes that Lord Ganesha, the Elephant-headed God, loved Modak. So on his birthday everyone serves his favorite dessert! The festival isn't complete without modak of some sort or other.

These modaks are a popular Maharashtrian tradition during Ganesh Chaturthi. My family usually made a slightly different fried version and performed aarthi with cotton vaatis, dipped in ghee, mounted at the very apex of the modaks. I didn't want to make fried modaks though. So the ukdiche steamed version was the way to go! Ukad is the cooked dough and the filling is made with coconut and jaggery.

Making Ukdiche modak is notorious for being a skillful endeavour.. how thin is the outer-shell, how fine are the petals/pleats, etc etc. Funnily enough, the more difficult the stories made it seem, the more I wanted to make it! ;) What's the fun without some difficulty, eh? And it always tastes great, no matter the shape!

I scoured high and low for a fool proof recipe. No taking a bit of water and a little more rice, please..! Finally I went with Sanjeev Kapoor's recipe and some trial and error modifications to make it convenient for me. Going to note my procedure here:

Cooked dough (ukad), outer shell pressed out and pinched
into a cupped-flower-like shape, filled with the jaggery-coconut fillling
and steamed in a cooker (on an idli stand).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pizza and fruit tart - party time!

Hey everyone..!

How do you celebrate birthdays in your home? As we start to grow up people arbitrarily decide that they don't need a cake.. they'd rather not call friends and make a big "fuss".. it's a week day and everyone is tired.. it's no big deal.. and so on. But I realized some time back that a birthday doesn't feel "properly celebrated" in my mind until there is some sharing of a cakey-dessert and food with friends and lots of laughter.

Our uneducated, but very very wise maid back home once told me.. when you celebrate festivals and birthdays, clean and decorate your house, cook for special occasions, grow some fragrant greens, play some music/news in the morning.. the ghar (house) finally becomes a saunsaar (home). At the time I thought she was just being cute. But now I rather agree with her!

This weekend I forced a very reluctant adult to celebrate their birthday just to make me happy! ;) Just posting a few clicks of some food we made.

We kept it simple.. I made MM's pizza sauce and used "Moma Mary's" pizza base and Amul cheese. Had posted the recipe here some time back. We tried a few other pizza bases, but they didn't taste like good-old Monginis pizza base from back home. This one was decent in taste, so am sticking with this brand in future. Everybody over-ate a bit. So much so that some of our guests barely had room for dessert..!

Fruit Tart/Pie
I tried making a light strawberry-blueberry tart with store bought pie crust. I eyeballed the recipe for filling along the lines of the one at The Kitchen Sink Recipes. Probably shouldn't have poured all the berries (with syrup) into the pie-crust, turned out a bit watery. Khair, it was very light and guilt-free. I should definitely try the whole recipe another time. Couldn't take a picture of the whole tart.. (please.. birthday candles, singing wishes and posing for pictures would be really pushing it!) so posting only a small portion in a bowl. Vanilla ice-cream alongside would be nice too!

Thanks for stopping by! Cheerio!