The art of making the perfect modak

Ganesh Chaturthi marks the beginning of a 10-day long festival to celebrate Lord Ganesha’s birthday. During these ten days people of all caste and creed come together to celebrate enthusiastically, it truly is one of the most revered Indian festivals, which brings people together.

Over the next ten days people install Ganesha idols in their homes, pray to the lord and hold get-togethers where they sing songs of praise of the deity and eat his favourite food, which are modaks.

During this festive period one cannot get enough of the traditional sweet dish, a plate of these translucent dumplings filled with coconut and jaggery are devoured within minutes and we’re going to tell you how to make the perfect modak.

Modak recipe:

For the outer modak covering:

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 5 cups water
  • ¼ tsp oil or ghee
  • a pinch of salt

For the inner sweet filling:


  • 1 cup fresh grated coconut
  • ¾ cup powdered or grated jaggery, for a more sweeter taste, you can add up to 1 cup of powdered jaggery
  • 3 to 4 cardamoms, powdered in a mortar-pestle, about ¼ tsp cardamom powder
  • A pinch of nutmeg powder or grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp poppy seeds
  • ½ tsp ghee or oil
  • ½ tsp rice flour (optional)

To make the filling:

  • Heat ghee in a pan and to that add poppy seeds, cardamom powder and nutmeg powder. Sauté the same for a minute.
  • Then add grated fresh coconut and powdered/grated jaggery.
  • Mix well and cook this coconut-jaggery mixture on a low flame. The jaggery will melt first.
  • Stir at times and cook this mixture till the moisture from the jaggery begins to dry. Switch off the flame and don’t overcook as the jaggery then hardens. Keep this coconut-jaggery filling aside. On cooling, the mixture will thicken more.
  • You can also add a bit of rice flour to this mixture. This is an optional step. The rice flour helps to absorb moisture, if any from the filling.
  • Keep the filling aside to cool.

To make the modak:

  • In a pan or dekchi add the water, oil and salt. Keep it on the stove-top.
  • Let this mixture come to a boil.
  • Reduce the flame and add the rice flour gradually. Quickly stir and mix the flour with the water.
  • Stir till all the rice flour is mixed with the water.
  • Switch off the flame. Remove the pan from the stove-top and then cover this pan with a lid for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Now take all the dough in a plate/thali or in a bowl. Gather the dough together and begin to knead it.
  • The dough will be hot when, you begin to knead, so apply some water on your palms and knead the dough. Remember to knead the dough very well.
  • If you feel the dough looks dense or hard or dry, then just add a few teaspoons of warm water and continue to knead.
  • Make small balls from the dough. Roll the balls till they become smooth in your palms.
  • You can also apply some water on your palms, while rolling the balls. Keep the balls covered with a kitchen towel. The balls should be smooth in appearance and should not have any cracks.

To assemble and shape the modak:

  • Before you start shaping the modaks, keep water for steaming in a pan.
  • Grease the steamer lightly with oil or ghee.
  • Take a ball and flatten it with your fingers to a round disc or a shallow bowl shape. You can apply ghee/oil in your palms, while flattening.
  • Place the modak filling in the center.
  • Press on the edges.
  • Bring together all the edges and join them. Remove the extra portion of the dough from the top, if any. Shape and taper the top of the modak with your fingers.
  • Make all the modaks this way. Keep them in a steamer pan.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and steam for 10 to 15 minutes on a low flame.
  • Once the modaks are steamed, drizzle a few teaspoons of ghee on the modaks.

This recipe first appeared on Veg Recipes Of India

Hope you get to try this recipe and if you do, don’t forget to share your photos of your perfect modak in the comments section below.

Picture Courtesy: Himanshu Jagtap

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