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Friday, September 13, 2013

Ukadiche Modak

Happy festivities everyone :-)
I found out about this particular dessert from a friend who is from Maharashtra.
I have come to realize that Ganesha Chaturthi is quite dull without this delicacy..... and since I am crazy about all things dumplings..... and all things festivals.... I decided to roll up my sleeves and make a few!

I tried but can't pronounce the first part of the title :-)
It means "steamed" in Marathi I think.

When bad things happen to good modaks!

Steamed a bunch of them last night.... and even though I made very sure that the steamer was extremely well greased..... the modaks got horribly stuck to the container and we were left with yummy but bottom-less modaks.

I was able to avoid that in the second batch I made by lining the steamer with wax paper rubbed with butter. The modaks peeled off quite easily :-)

(makes 6 jumbo modaks or 10 mini modaks)
(prep time is about 15 mins)
(pleating and wrapping depends on skill level, it took me over 30 mins.)
(cook time 15 mins)

Since I had never made this or even knew about it...  I started by watching a bunch of recipes on youtube for inspiration and learning. They were all pretty much similar. I liked Nisha Madhulika's version. I highly recommend watching her video for more info.
Credit for the following recipe goes to her :-)
Very Imp:
Saran wrap and vinyl gloves will be your best friends!
And line the bottom of your steamer with some well greased wax paper otherwise the modaks might stick to the container.
3/4 cup fine rice flour
3/4 cup water
A few drops of oil or melted butter
A nice big pinch of salt

Gurh or Jaggery (a type of brown sugar that can be easily found in Indian grocery stores)
Dried shredded coconut - unsweetened
Cardamom 3 pods
A good pinch of fennel seeds
Blue poppy seeds
You will also need 1 Tbs of butter which you will add towards the end

I pretty much eye-balled the amounts.
Here is a visual of how much I used for the filling.

The filling is basically dried nuts, spices, and coconut mixed in with melted sugar and some butter.
Fairly simple to do.
Add the lump sugar in a non-stick pot. I cut mine in quarters first, however this step is not necessary unless you have really old hardened up sugar.
Turn the heat up to medium low and slowly start to melt the sugar.
The almonds need to be in small pieces. I achieved this by placing the almonds in a Ziploc bag and gently smashed each kernel with a hammer. Then I used my knife to chop them further.
Grind the spices into a powder.
Once the sugar is soft and beginning to melt add coconut and poppy seed and mix well.
After a few more minutes combine almonds, spices, butter - mix well - and then turn off the heat.
Take this out in a bowl and keep aside for later use.
Use a non-stick pan.
Add salt, a few drops of oil to some water and bring to a boil.
Turn the heat off and add the rice flour to the hot water.
Mix well with a stiff spatula.
Cover and let this sit for 5 minutes.
Take the dough out on an oiled surface and knead while still hot with your hands or a flat spatula until dough is soft, smooth, shiny and very moldable.
The dough is very fun to work with as long as you are wearing gloves!
Beware... the scary, detestable yet strangely appealing.... carb monster... called "C"!!
I really thought I could free hand it.
I was humbled.
I figured two ways worked best for me.
Take a small a amount of dough and roll it out between two sheets of saran or plastic wrap to desired thickness. Place some stuffing in the center and then gather the sides of the dough up to form the shape. The mini modaks in the picture above were made this way.
This I would say is my preferred method because it was easier for me to form the pleats on the sides.
I had some small dip bowls - a gift from an old friend.
I wrapped saran around it, then I placed a small piece of dough and molded it to the shape of the bowl and extended it beyond the rim... took it out in my hand.... filled it up... pinched the sides of the dough and closed it up. See pictures below.

Lets cook this
Steam this covered for about 15 minutes.
Allow it to cool down to room temperature before eating.
Super psyched about the Pankaj Udhas concert tonight!!!


  1. Who eats all these things after you've prepared them!!!