Modak is a customary sweet preparation that is prepared for Lord Ganesh as an offering during 10-day festivities of Ganeshotsav. Modaks are inseparable part of the festival to the and has been associated with these festivities and Maharashtra for centuries now.
Shaped like a bud this traditional dessert is filled with a sweet filling of Coconut and jaggery. The outer covering can be of varied kinds, made with rice flour, plain flour or wheat flour. These can be further categorized based on cooking techniques adopted-steaming or deep frying. This results into two types of Modaks- Ukadiche Modak (steamed) and Talniche Modak (fried). While I personally adore the steamed ones for its taste and subtlety, I love fried ones for the shelf life which means I can dig into these goodies for few more days after the festivals are over. There are many stories associated with Modak which need to be told. According to one of the stories, once some sages brought a divine Modak and presented them to Shiva-Parvati. This was no ordinary Modak but one that gave knowledge. Parvati wanted to distribute this Modak equally amongst her sons, younger one Ganesh and elder Karthikeya. However, her sons were not ready to share and they wanted to have it alone. Parvati then decides to have a competition, they had to complete the journey of the 3 worlds (earth, heaven and underworld) and one who wins would get the reward of Modak. Karthikeya immediately rides on his peacock and is quickly on his way. Ganesh however folded his hands and went round his parents 3 times. On being asked, he said that his parents mean world to him and he sees no necessity of going around the world when they were there. This impressed Shiva and Parvati so much that they rewarded him with Modak of knowledge.
Modak is derived from Sanskrit word moda which means happiness, and Modak means something that brings happiness. Modaks attain great significance during the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. Making them requires great deal of patience, as one has to be watchful for the right amount of water that must be added for steaming the rice. After filling them, they are folded and sealed and steamed again. The folding and sealing needs to be done very carefully and it takes fair amount of practice before one can master it and do it effortlessly.
Ganeshji is offered Naivedya (offering) of 21 Modaks. This brings me to another story that explains why 21 Modaks are offered. Shiva, Parvati and Ganesh were invited for dinner by Anasuya, wife of sage Atri. Shiva was very hungry. Anasuya however insisted that she would serve Ganesh first and only when he is content, she would offer food to Shiva. Ganeshji was eating food items one after the other and Shiva had to wait for him until he gets full. On realizing that Shiva would have to wait longer, if Ganesh does not feel satisfied, Anasuya served him a sweet. Surprisingly, Ganesh on having Modak burped which meant he was full. At the same time Shiva also burped not one but 21 burps! This simple story tells us why we offer Ganapati 21 Modaks.
Follow this recipe and make Fried Modak (Talniche Modak) at your home and make an offering of 21 Modaks for Lord Ganesh. May the arrival of Ganapati bring in prosperity and happiness in your life and fulfill all your wishes. Share your feedback with us in comment section below.
- 1½ Cup=225 gms Whole Wheat Flour
- 2 Cups=200 gms grated fresh Coconut
- 1¾th Cup=180 gms grated Jaggery
- 2 tbsp Poppy Seeds
- 1 tbsp Sesame Seeds
- 1 tsp Cardamom Powder
- 2 tbsp Ghee
- Pinch of Salt
- Cooking Oil
- Water as required
- We will start with making the stuffing for Modaks. In a pan add 2 tbsp Ghee. Add grated Jaggery (Ensure you do not use Jaggery that is used for making Chikkis). Let it melt completely
- Jaggery has melted completely in 3-4 mins on low-medium heat. Ensure there are no lumps. Add grated fresh coconut and mix well. Keep heat on low-medium. Cooking stuffing on high heat will make it lose its moisture and juiciness and it will become tasteless and hard.
- Now add White Sesame seeds and Poppy Seeds and mix well. Stuffing has excess moisture. We will cook it on low-medium heat.
- On low heat, we have cooked for 2-3 mins. Its moisture has reduced. If you like you can add chopped Cashewnuts, Almonds and raisins. We will now add Cardamom Powder and mix well. Remove from heat and allow it to cool down completely.
- While the stuffing cools down, we will knead dough for Modak. For this we will heat 2 tbsp Cooking Oil for moyan. In a bowl, put wheat flour. Add pinch of Salt and mix it well. Now add hot oil. The Oil must be very hot and you should be able to see the bubbles forming on top. For perfect Moyan, Oil must be hot and it ensures that Modak crust become flaky after frying.
- Wash and clean your hands thoroughly before kneading dough. We have taken 1 Cup water. Add water in small quantities and knead. The consistency and texture of dough must be like Roti/Phulka dough. We have used ¾th Cup water for kneading
- Dough must not be too hard or too soft. If you knead hard dough, Modak outer cover may develop cracks. If dough is too soft then making Modak will be a difficult task. Apply some Oil. Cover and keep for 15 mins.
- After 15 mins, wheat dough and stuffing are ready for use. We also need some water and some oil for greasing. Take a small plate and apply some Cooking Oil.
- Take a small lemon sized portion and roll between palms to form a ball. You can also make a large sized Modak. Personally I prefer making small-sized Modaks, hence I have taken small size ball.
- Press the ball into flat disc and now we will make a small bowl. Press the edges with two thumbs and rotate the disc to form a bowl. Now add 1-2 tbsp stuffing in the bowl. Do not overstuff. Wet your thumb with water and press the stuffing inside. Using first two fingers, pinch along the sides from top to bottom. Repeat this throughout the bowl at some equal distance to make 5-6 petals.
- Now, we will seal the Modak. bringing the petals closer towards the center. Finally seal the top. We have made 11 Modaks. Now, let's start frying them
- Add enough Oil in the pan so that Modaks are dipped completely. This ensures our Modaks get evenly fried and cooked. When Oil becomes hot, reduce heat and fry on low heat. Put a small ball of dough in Oil to check if it is hot enough. Dough rises up immediately, hence it is sufficiently hot. If it takes time to come up, then you must wait for some time. Add Modak in the Pan
- I am frying 6 in one batch. Do not over crowd. After a min, change sides. Fry until it becomes golden brown from all sides. Keep stirring intermittently. After 3-4 mins of frying, remove Modaks from Pan
- Similarly, make remaining Modaks. In this measurements, we can make 21 Modaks.
- Offer these Modaks to Lord Ganesh
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