Ganesh Chaturthi is incomplete without Modaks and Puran Polis. I recently read about chocolate modaks, mava modaks and maida with sesame modaks. These are the contemporary versions of the modak. I like to go for the real modak, the traditional Maharashtrian style modak. I learnt how to make the original modak which Lord Ganesha loves. With the rice flour and coconut flavour, that blends like a marriage made in heaven. The warm modak with lots of ghee, mmmmmmmmm!
For the Dough
Rice Flour (Chaval Ka atta) 4 cups
Water (Paani) 4 cups
Unsalted, clarified butter (Ghee) 1 teaspoon
Salt a pinch
For the Filling
Fresh Grated Coconut (Gari) 4 cups
Jaggery (Gud), grated 2 cups
Mixed Dried Fruits and Nutes (Meva) Almonds, raisins, cashew and walnuts ½ cup
Nutmeg (Jaiphal) ¼ teaspoon
Poppy Seeds (KhusKhus), roasted 1 teaspoon
Green Cardamom (Elaichi) 4 pods, crushed
For the Dough
In a deep pan, boil four cups of water. Add a pinch of salt and ghee in the water. Add in the rice flour little by little, whisk vigorously. Do not allow any lumps to form in the mixture. Add in the entire rice flour in the boiling water and keep whisking the mixture until it is smooth. It becomes a thick dough-like mixture. Cover it up with a lid for fifteen to twenty minutes. This will make the dough smooth.
Keep the dough aside.
For the filling
In a pan, add in the grated coconut and cook on medium heat. Add in the grated jaggery and mix well. Blend both the ingredients together. Keep stirring and blending them together.
Cook them together until they turn into a golden coloured mixture. Mix well.
Now, chop the mixed dry fruits roughly and add them into the coconut and jaggery mixture.
Crush and add the roasted poppy seeds, nutmeg and green cardamom in the mixture.
Mix all the ingredients and blend them together with each other.
To Make the Modak with the Modak Mould
First, take a bowl full of water with a tablespoon of vegetable oil mixed in it. Apply this water and oil mixture properly on the inside of the modak mould.
Apply this water oil mixture on your hands. Take a lemon size portion from the dough mixture and round it up in your palm.
Put this portion of dough inside the modak mould.
Make a cavity in the centre of the dough with your thumb. Press the dough evenly with your fingers, on the sides of the modak mould, making a large cavity in the center.
Add a tablespoon of the mixture in the cavity and fill up the cavity completely.
Take another small piece of the dough and seal the modak from the bottom, making it flat and even on the base.
Open the mould and remove the modak. Finish the entire dough and the filling, making even size modaks.
To Make the Modak Without the Mould
Apply a mixture of water and oil on your palms. Take a lemon size portion of the dough.
Round it up and flatten it between your palms.
Roll it out on a flat surface into a circle, half the size of your hand.
Make little folds in four or five places around the edges of the circle.
Place a tablespoon full of the filling in the centre of the circle.
Bring the ends together in the centre and press gently.
The Modak should be pointed on the top. Make Modaks with the entire dough and filling mixture in a similar fashion.
To Cook the Modaks
Dip them in a bowl of water, and then place them over a banana leaf in a steamer. (Use a double boiler with a strainer if steamer is unavailable).
Steam the Modaks for eight to ten minutes.
Serve them warm with a teaspoon full of ghee (unsalted, clarified).