Modak – the Famous Ganesh Festival Offering

Lord Ganesha is fabled to have an appetite that can stun anyone. A story says that once the lord of wealth, Kubera wanted to show off his wealthy city of Alkapuri to Lord Shiva. Unable to attend the invitation Shiva sent Ganesha. When Ganesha sat to eat Kubera was pretty sure that a wealthy king like him can offer enough food for any guest no matter how much of a voracious eater they are. But Kubera never guessed how much can be Ganesha’s appetite because not only did Ganesha eat all the food he also started to eat the crockery and the cutlery when the king had ran out of any more food to offer. Finally the solution was offered by Shiva who told Kubera that it takes very little food to satisfy Ganesha but that food must be offered with humility. So Kubera offered only a handful of roasted rice to Lord Ganesha, but this time he did it without the hauteur of a king with endless wealth. At this Lord Ganesha was finally satisfied and his appetite was full.

fried-modak

Therefore on Ganesh Chaturthi each year all the devotees of Lord Ganesha humbly offer different types of food to this god who loves to eat and bless his followers. Most of the dishes are sweet as it is assumed that such a benign god must love sweet dishes. One of famous dishes and also Lord Ganesha’s favorite is the modak. It is chiefly a Marathi dish but can be well loved by anyone with a sweet tooth.

Recipe for Modak

There are two parts in a modak- an outer covering or shell and an inner filling.

Ingredients:

For the Shell:

  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour or rice flour
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoon of oil (if you want to fry the modaks)
  • Water to knead the dough
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (if you are using rice)

For the Filling:

  • 1 ½ cup of grated coconut
  • 1 ½ cup of grated jaggery
  • 1 tablespoon of roasted sesame seeds
  • A pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of cardamom powder

To prepare the shell:

If you are using whole wheat flour just mix the ingredients that you need to make a smooth dough and keep aside for 20-30 minutes.

In case you are using rice, the method can take bit more of work. First wash the rice and let it dry by spreading it over an absorbent piece of cloth. Then grind it to a smooth powder and pass it through a sieve to eliminate any lumps. Next, boil one and a quarter cups of water and add ghee and salt to it. Pour the rice flour in the mixture slowly while stirring continuously so as to prevent lumps from forming. Remove the mixture from heat and let it cool for ten to fifteen minutes. After that, knead the mixture into a soft dough.

To prepare the filling:

The method for preparing the filling is the same indifferent to what the shell is made of. Mix the grated coconut and jaggery and cook in a pan till they are light brown. Add cardamom powder, sesame seeds and crushed nutmeg. Cool it.

To prepare the modak:

When both parts are prepared we prepare the modak itself. Divide the dough and the filling into 10-12 portions. Roll each portion of the dough into a circle of about 3-4 inches diameter. Add the filling in the center. Pinch the edges of the shell and fold them together. In case you have made modaks with a shell of maida you can fry them. If you have used rice flour you can steam them on an idli stand for 10-12 minutes. Serve hot.

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