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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).

Rice Flour - 2 cups
Ghee - 1&1/2 tablespoon
Water - 1&1/2 cups, may need a bit more.
Salt - pinch
Fresh grated coconut - 1&1/2 cups
Grated Jaggery - 3/4 cup
Cardamom - 6-7 cloves, freshly powdered
Some oil/ghee for greasing your palms when making modak.
Haldi leaf - 1, optional, to add to the water while steaming the modaks.

1) Mix water + salt + ghee in a non-stick pot. Bring to a light boil. Add rice flour and mix till a dry dough is formed. Use hands if necessary to knead it lightly. I used a silicone spatula, worked reasonably. Cover the pot with its lid and keep for 10-15 minutes.
      Note: If the dough seems too dry for you, do trial and error with some more boiling water + ghee added afterwards to the dough. I started out with 1&1/4 cup boiling water and added almost 1/4 to 1/2 cup more. The end result shouldn't be too moist though.
2) Cook the fresh grated coconut with jaggery in another non-stick pan. No need for additional oil. Cook till the mixture is "golden brown". I used Date-Jaggery this time, so it was somewhat darker in color.
3) Now grease your palms and pick a small portion of the dough, roll into a ball. Use your fingers and palm to press and spread the dough ball into a 3 inch flat disk. Pinch the edges to shape like a cupped-flower. Fill it with the stuffing and seal the top into a small apex. The end result should look almost like a big bulb of garlic.
4) I steamed the modaks in the pressure cooker using my idli stand for about 8 minutes, 4 modaks at a time. You can use some other vessel for steaming and modify the time according to how many modaks you steam at once.
     Note: I added an optional haldi (turmeric) leaf in the water in my cooker to incorporate its fragrance to the steam. The haldi leaf fragrance reminds me of auspicious pooja times.. so it's perfect for modak!

Check out this video for how to make the shape of a modak. Mind you, my modak disk and petals were neither as thin, nor as perfectly shaped as what the lady in the video managed to do! Oh well, I knew it was risky bizness going in! For the first try these looked decent and tasted great! :) 

Acha.. Happy Festive season to all! Best wishes!


Cham said...

How r u? Happy 2 see u back in action gal! Ur modak came out great, hope u had a wonderful festival time :)

indosungod said...

SS they look great to me anyway. I have never heard of fried modaks before (blogs I mean). In the south we make it a different shape no pleating or petals for us :)

SS blogs here said...

Hey Cham! Thanks! It was great to see you back too! :)

Thanks, Indo.. we make something called Nevri which does not have pleats, is a semi circle-ish pie shape, but contains the same filling. I should check out what yours is like!

Cham said...

Happy & Healthy New Year 2013 Dear :)

SS blogs here said...

Thanks, Cham! :)