Hats off to all you bloggers out there who work and manage families, and yet find the time to cook creative, mouthwatering dishes and blog about it. More kudos to those who organise and host blogging events. I have been doing my summer internship for this past month and at the end of the day- i am so drained that i barely manage to cook. This is the reason for my blogging hiatus for the past two weeks. This recipe for Ukadiche Modak was supposed to be my entry for U of Indian vegetables at Nupur's of OneHotStove. Its not a vegetable preparation but a sweet dish that is my second most favorite. I did make the dish last Saturday but just couldnt drum up enough energy to turn on my laptop and post a blog on it. So this will be my entry for (Regional cuisine of India) RCI: Maharashtrian Cuisine being hosted by Nupur, and originally started by Lakshmi of VeggieCuisine.
Ukadiche Modak are basically Sweetened coconut stuffed rice dumplings- a very traditional Marathi sweet dish that is usually made as an offering to Lord Ganesha. These modaks are generally accompanied by Ambedal or Vatli dal (this was to be my entry for the V of Indian veggies at Nupur's but once again i missed the deadline) - a spicy and sour chana dal preparation also prepared as an offering to Lord Ganesha. The word Ukadiche means steamed in Marathi. So basically these rice dumplings are steamed and eaten with loads of ghee. Yes- calorie conscious people can just forget about it. The ukadhiche modak are difficult to make- the recipe is meant for experienced cooks. Or rather for people who are not ready to give up on it so easily (i had a longing for the modaks and was missing my mom). So, i decided to give it a try and here goes the recipe.
Servings: Makes 7 modaks
For the stuffing:
1-1/2 cup of freshly grated coconut
4-5 crushed almonds
3-4 strands of saffron
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
jaggery or sugar to taste
2 tbs ghee
For the dough:
1 cup rice flour (fresh flour is the best)
3 tbs maida
2 tbs ghee
1. Heat 2 tbs of ghee in a cooking pan and add the freshly grated coconut to it. Saute it till it starts turning golden brown and releases the smell of being roasted in ghee. Add the almonds, saffron and cardamom powder to it. Add either jaggery or sugar as per your taste (i made it with jaggery- traditionally its made with jaggery too and tastes a 100 times better than sugar) and mix it very well. Set aside to cool.
2. Heat 1/2 cup water and add ghee to it. Separately mix the rice flour and maida and add this mixture to the hot water and mix it properly so that there are no lumps and steam it for 2 minutes.
3. The maida is added to impart stickiness to the dough so that it can be moulded and does not break. If the rice flour is not fresh it will crack and break and you wont be able to stuff it.
4. Remove from the stove and while the mixture is still hot make small balls out of it and with hand pat it into small thin round shapes (Use ghee to roll out or the dough will stick to your hands). Place the coconut mixture in it and try to mould it into the shape of a garlic bulb while closing it.
5. Steam the modaks for 10 minutes like you would steam a plate of dhoklas and serve with ghee.
And the verdict: Taste wise the modaks were awesome. However since i couldnt find any fresh rice flour (in India you can easily lay your hands on freshly ground flours at a flour mill), i used the one that i found at the local store. As a result- the dough kept cracking when i tried to mould it. So i couldnt pat out the rice flour balls into very thin layers. Probably the only picture that i managed to take after i made the modaks doesnt do justice to it. We gobbled some up as soon as i had offered neivedya to Lord Ganesha. May be the next time i make it i will take pictures of the entire process of making it along the way and post it on the blog. Also, as my mom suggested the next time i will just dry some rice and grind it in my mixer to get some freshly ground rice flour.