Cookbook:Pastries Filled with Coconut (Modak)
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Modak is a deep fried Indian sweet that is almost exclusively prepared during the Ganesha Festival around August, when it is often given as an offering to Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed Remover of Obstacles. Modak is reportedly his favorite sweet.
In some parts of the country (coastal Maharashtra), modak is prepared using rice flour, as rice is the main crop of that region. There are slight changes in the preparation method as given below.
- Prepare the dough; it should be dry but should stay a little sticky.
- Sprinkle it with oil and leave it covered for 1 hour.
- Melt the jaggery with 4 tablespoons of water in a non-stick pan until it is liquid.
- Add coconut.
- Sauté for 15-20 minutes, until the mixture becomes very thick and almost dry.
- Mix in the cardamom powder and remove from the fire.
- Spread the mixture out on a metal tray to cool.
- Take a tablespoon-sized ball of dough and roll it out - using flour if it is sticky - into a disc 4 inches across.
- Put a tablespoon-sized lump of filling in the middle (it should be hardening well by now), wet the edges with a finger, and fold up the sides, crimping the dough into a peak at the top to completely seal in the filling.
- Deep fry the modak in oil until golden brown.
Procedure for rice modak
For making rice flour modak, the procedure is the same for making the filling of coconut and jaggery. However, rice flour is used in the dough instead of wheat flour. They are not fried, but steamed.
2 cups rice flour
2 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp butter
For the filling
1 cup fresh grated coconut
1 cup jaggery
2 tbsp raisins
2 tbsp cashewnuts, chopped
1 tsp cardamom, powdered
For the filling
Method is similar to the one mentioned in the fried modak recipe.
For the steamed rice modak
Heat 2 cups of water in a large pot/vessel and then add salt and butter.
As the water starts boiling, add rice flour to the water. Lower heat. Mix well. The mixture should be a smooth paste; there should be no lumps. If mixture is becoming too dry then add the remaining 1/2 cup water. Keep heating on slow fire till rice flour is cooked.
Now, cover the mixture with a lid and switch of the gas. Let it cook in its own steam.
While it is still warm rub some ghee on your palms and take a small portion . Make a ball out of it. With your thumb shape the ball into a cup. Put two teaspoons of the filling and close the ends in a manner to get the shape of a fresh fig.
Make 10 modaks and place them in a colander grased with ghee. place the modak in such a way that they do not touch one another in the colander.
Place the colander in a steamer and steam the modaks for 10 minutes.
Dribble with a teaspoon of ghee and server hot.