The propitious festival of Ganesh is here! Not only does it mark the birth of the deity Ganesha, but it is also one of the biggest festivals in India, often met with grandeur and hymns. Idols of the deity are adorned with red sandalwood paste and flowers such as red hibiscus, lotus and marigold. The food offered is coconut, jaggery and 21 modaks.
Why 21? There is an interesting tale from Hindu mythology...
When Hindu deities Shiva, Parvati and Ganesha visited Anusuya (the wife of a sage named Atri), she presented Ganesha with food. But alas, nothing was able to satiate his hunger despite eating everything which was served to him. So when Anusuya brought in a sweet delicacy, Ganesha was enthralled by them, so much so that he devoured every single one of it. The proof of his happiness and satisfaction resulted in 21 burps. From then on, Parvati expressed a wish, which was that devotees of Ganesha will always cherish and offer him 21 modaks.
This sweet dish has become so widely popular in India that it is called modakam or kudumu in Telugu, kadubu in Kannada, kozhukatta in Malayalam and kozhukattai in Tamil.
On that note, here's how you can prepare ukadiche or steamed fresh coconut modak at home...
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Serves: 4 pieces
For the dough
- 1 cup rice flour
- 3 tbsp milk
- 5 tbsp water
- Salt to taste
For the filling
- 1 cup coconut, grated
- 1 tbsp jaggery, grated or powdered
- 1 tsp cardamom, powdered
Step 1: In a bowl, combine rice flour, milk, water and salt and knead it into a thick dough. Make sure you mix it quickly, as the dough can tend to get hard quickly. If it does harden, keep adding water till you get a thick, yet smooth, dough.
Step 2: For the filling, add grated coconut to a pan on a medium-high flame. Heat the grated coconut and stir continuously for a minute or two, to dehydrate it.
Step 3: Once done, slowly add the grated jaggery into the pan and stir it till the jaggery melts and the mix turns golden brown.
Step 4: Using a small teaspoon, add the cardamom into the mix and stir it altogether for 2 to 3 minutes. Leave it to cool for a few minutes before rolling them into balls. Keep them aside.
Step 5: Next, pinch a small portion (around 40 to 50 grams) of the kneaded dough and roll it into a palm-sized ball. Lightly press the dough before fully flattening it.
Step 6: Using a dough presser, flatten the ball of dough to get an evenly thick dough wrapper. Once flattened, cover it with cling film and keep it aside.
Step 7: Place the rolled filling in the centre of the dough wrapper. Here is the tricky part. Since the wrapper is quite thin, be careful while pinching a set of folds. Using your thumb and index finger, slowly pinch the seam of the wrapper and create pleats till it takes the form of a cup.
Step 8: Slowly bring the pleats together and pinch the top part of the dough, lightly twist it and remove any excess dough. Once removed, lightly press the top part of the modak with your fingers to leave it peaked or pointed.
Step 9: Place the wrapped modak inside a stainless steel steamer and let it steam in batches for about 10 minutes before topping it off with saffron and clarified butter or ghee.
Step 10: Ukadiche modak is now ready to serve and enjoy!
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Note: This article was first published on September 10, 2021.