From cakes and sweet potatoes to dry fruits and jackfruit — this Ganesh Chaturthi, break out of the traditional mould and fill your modaks or kozhukattais with innovative stuffings. Vaishali Vijaykumar gathers seven lip-smacking recipes from homechefs
FRIED MODAK BY CHITRA GANAPATHY
Wheat flour: 1/2 cup, Salt: a pinch, Melted ghee: 1/2 tsp,
Rava/Sooji: 1 tsp (optional),
Water: as needed,
Cooking oil: to deep fry
- Grated coconut: 1/2 cup
- Powdered jaggery: 1/3 cup
- Cardamom powder: 1/4 tsp
- Dry roasted poppy seeds: 1 tbsp (optional)
- Take the grated coconut, powdered jaggery and dry roasted poppy seeds in a kadai.
- The quantity of jaggery should be less than coconut. Do not add water. Mix well on medium flame.
- Let the jaggery melt in the heat and mix well with coconut.
- When the mixture starts to become thick without moisture and leaves the pan, switch off the flame and transfer the stuffing onto a plate.
- Spread it well and let the stuffing cool down.
- In a wide bowl, take the wheat flour, melted ghee, a pinch of salt and mix well. Add water little by little and make a stiff, thick dough.
- The dough should not be too soft. Knead for some time and cover with a wet cloth. Let the dough rest for just five minutes.
- Take a small ball of dough and dust in wheat flour. Make a thin circle of poori size.
- Remember, the sides of the circle should be thinner than the centre. As this is made of wheat flour, it will become dense after deep-frying.
- So make the poori thin. Cover the remaining dough with a wet cloth.
- Now, with a lid, cut the dough into small uniform circles. Place one tablespoon of stuffing in the middle and make 5-7 pleats in the dough.
- Refer picture and do the same way. Join all the pleats and make a coconut shape modak. Make sure the modak is sealed properly else the stuffing will ooze out in oil while frying.
- Heat oil in a kadai. Gently drop a pinch of dough. If it rises to the top immediately, oil temperature is just right.
- Now, drop 3-4 modaks and cook on medium flame. Cook till they turn golden brown. Flip it and cook till done. Remove and place them on a tissue. Fried modak is ready.
DRY FRUIT MODAK BY VIDYA SRINIVASAN
Raw rice: 100 gm, Dates: 140 gm (20 nos), Almond powder: 70 gm,
Cardamom powder: 1.5 gm, Ghee: 8 gm, Sesame oil /coconut oil: 10 ml,
Salt: a pinch, Water: as needed
- Wash and soak rice for at least two hours.
- Grind the rice into a fine paste, adding a little water. Do not add excess water, as the rice will not be fine-ground with excess water.
- After grinding the rice, add extra water to make it a watery batter (dosai batter consistency). We might need around 130 ml of water in total.
- Chop the dates roughly and microwave the pieces for around 30 seconds to turn them soft. Let the dates cool.
- Grind the dates with little water and transfer into a plate.
- Add almond powder, cardamom powder and ghee to the dates paste; mix well and keep aside.
- Add sesame oil to a pan, and when oil is hot, add the rice batter and salt; mix well.
- Continuously mix with a ladle until it comes together as a non-sticky dough. Cover and reduce the stove to the lowest setting.
- Cook for a minute and switch off.
- Transfer the dough onto a plate and cover with a damp cloth.
- When the dough is still warm, grease your hands with oil and knead the dough well.
- If required, sprinkle some hot water to make a smooth dough.
- Make small spheres. Since rice flour is gluten-free, it tends to be sticky; greasing palms with coconut/sesame oil helps to make modak.
- Slowly press the sphere with your hand and make a circle big enough to keep the filling.
- Place a small portion of the dates paste into the circle.
- Fold the circle and bring the outer layer to the top, making a modak shape. Alternatively, a mould can also be used.
- Similarly, fill all the modaks with the stuffing.
- Steam for 10 minutes or until the modak looks shiny on the outside and does not stick.
- Switch off. Do not remove as soon as the stove is switched off. Let the modak sit for five minutes before removing.
- Enjoy it warm.
- Instead of almond flour, 70 grams of mixed nuts or any nuts of choice can be used. Dry roast the nuts until golden, let it cool and transfer to a mixer jar. Grind it to a slightly coarse mixture.
- Dry fruit mixture should not be sticky.
- If you prepare the dough beforehand, make sure to keep it covered with a damp cloth/paper towel to avoid the dough from drying.
- Store-bought /homemade rice flour can be used instead of rice. Use 100 grams of flour.
- Boil water with salt and oil, after it comes to boil, add rice flour and mix well till it turns into a non-sticky dough.
- Coconut can be added for flavour.
- Excess dry fruits mixture can be served by moulding them in the shape of a modak, or rolling them into a laddu.
CAKE POP MODAK BY NISHA GALA
Cake sponge: 200 gm, Frosting/
ganache: 100 gm, Chocolate to dip
modak: 200 gm, Silicon modak
mould, Few lollipop sticks
- In a bowl, break the cake sponge into fine crumbs using your hand. Add your choice of frosting or ganache and mix well. It should combine well and form a cake batter.
- Take a small amount of cake batter and put it in silicon modak mould.
- Melt chocolate using the double boiling method. Dip one end of the stick into chocolate and pass it through the cake batter in the mould.
- Place the mould in the freezer for 10-12 minutes or until the cake is firm.
- Carefully demould the modaks and dip it in melted chocolate.
- Let it set for 2-3 minutes.Cakepop modaks are ready.
SPICY PROTEIN MODAK BY RAMYA SIVAKUMAR
For spice powder Urad dal: 1 tsp,
Chana dal: 1 tsp, Dried red chillies: 2,
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp, Black
peppercorns: 1/4 tsp
- Moong sprouts: 1/2 cup
- Grated coconut: 1/4 cup
- Oil: 1 tsp
- Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
- Urad dal: 1/2 tsp
- Asafoetida/ hing: 1/4 tsp
- Curry leaves: 1 sprig
- Salt as needed
- Water as needed
- Rice flour: 1/2 cup
- Water: 3/4 cup (adjust as needed)
- Sesame oil/ gingelly oil: 1 tsp
- Salt as needed
- Dry roast all the spice powder ingredients until golden brown on low flame.
- Once cooled, grind into a smooth powder.
- Pressure-cook moong sprouts with enough water for two whistles.
- In a pan, heat oil and temper mustard seeds, urad dal. Once urad dal turns golden brown, add fresh curry leaves and asafoetida/hing. Next, add pressure-cooked moong sprouts, and salt as needed.
- Cook for a minute and add 2-3 tsp of the spice powder. Cook for a couple of minutes and add fresh grated coconut.
- Remove from heat and let it cool completely.
- Bring 3/4 cup of water to boil along with 1/2 tsp of sesame/gingelly oil and salt as needed.
- Once the water boils well, switch off the flame.
- Add rice flour and quickly stir it. Make sure there are no lumps.
- Add 1/2 tsp of sesame/ gingelly oil on top and leave it covered for 3-4 minutes. When it is warm enough to handle, knead it into a soft pliable dough.
- Apply sesame/gingelly oil all over the modak mould. Take a small ball of dough and press along the edges of the mould such that there is a gap in the centre. Fill it with the spicy sprouts filling.
- Cover the modak on top with some more dough. Gently open the mould and remove the modak. Repeat the same with rest of the dough. Keep applying oil on the mould for every modak.
- To steam the modaks, grease a steamer plate with few drops of sesame/gingelly oil.
- Place the prepared modaks on the steamer plate and steam for 7-8 minutes. Switch off the heat and let them cool for a couple of minutes before removing them from the vessel.
JACKFRUIT KOZHUKATTAI BY RAJESWARI VIJAYANAND
Jackfruit: 8 pala sulai,
Jaggery powder: 1/2 cup
heaped, Coconut: 1/2 cup
grated, Cardamom: 2, Ghee:
1 tsp, Rice flour/ idiyappam
flour: 1 cup, Sesame oil: 1 tsp, Salt: as needed
- First, prepare the jackfruit stuffing. Separate the seed and thin skin around it. Roughly tear, divide into two-three pieces.
- Place it in a vessel and sprinkle a tablespoon of water. Pressure cook for three whistles on medium flame. Let it cool and then, grind to a paste.
- Heat a pan with ground paste, jaggery, grated coconut, and cardamom.
- Stir until it is thick. Add a teaspoon of ghee in the end. (I let the stuffing to be loose in texture.)
- Boil water well. In a mixing bowl, take rice flour. Add sesame oil, required salt to it. Add boiling hot water to the flour and mix with a ladle.
- Once warm enough to handle, grease your hands and knead to a smooth dough. Divide into equal lemon-sized balls.
- To make elai kozhukattai, cut the banana leaf into small sheets. Refer notes for tips.
- Grease with oil. Place rolled dough ball and flatten to a thin round. Place two teaspoons of prepared jackfruit stuffing.
- Fold in such a way that the other part exactly covers the stuffing. Gently press the leaf towards the outer edge to seal.
- Place in idli pot plate/ steamer and steam for eight minutes.
- Once done, you can take out the kozhukattai immediately. It comes off easily.
- You can reuse the leaves to finish the dough.
- Do not add more water while pressure-cooking jackfruit.
- Make sure to powder the jaggery well before measuring for a precise outcome. (I used jaggery powder.)
- More the jaggery, the sweeter it gets. (I used little more than 1/2 cup and felt it was too sweet, so reduced in my recipe.)
- To ensure that the banana leaf does not tear while folding, wilt the leaf slightly over direct flame.
- You can steam more than four modaks in an idli plate by placing it accordingly.
SWEET POTATO MODAK BY RAJESWARI VIJAYANAND
Sweet potato cooked & mashed: 1/2 cup, Kozhukattai flour or idiyappam
flour: 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp, Sesame oil: 1 tsp, Salt as needed
- Coconut grated: 1cup
- Jaggery powdered: 3/4 cup
- Cardamom: 2
- Salt: 1 pinch
- Ghee: 1 tsp
- Heat powdered jaggery with very little water. Mix well to melt.
- Filter to remove any impurities.
- Heat coconut, jaggery syrup in a heavy-bottomed pan.
- Cook until the syrup thickens and mixture gathers together.
- Add cardamom, a pinch of salt, and ghee before switching off and mix well.
- Peel, wash, and cut the sweet potato into cubes. Steam cook for 15 mins or until soft through inside.
- Take the cooked sweet potato in a mixing bowl. Mash well.
- Add kozhukattai flour (alternatively, use idiyappam flour or rice flour), salt, oil and mix well.
- Add hot boiling water, just a little to make the dough. Knead smoothly.
- Prepare both purple and yellow versions the same way. (I used a pinch of turmeric for the yellow one.)
- Take a large lemon-sized ball of the dough and knead to smoothen it.
- Flatten it to a thick, palm-sized disc. Place about 1 tbsp of the mixture in the centre.
- Gather the sides to cover the stuffing carefully. Seal and roll into a smooth ball.
- Place it in a mould. You can use any modak shape or even jelly moulds.
- Steam for 5-7 minutes. (I used my idli pot and placed the modak in a bamboo steamer.)
- You can use idli plates too. Just grease it and place the modaks. Repeat to finish.
POHA MANGO MODAK BY VIJAYA VENKATESH
Pearl millet flakes/aval / poha powder: 1 cup, Thick
mango puree: 1 cup, Thick
coconut milk or dairy milk: 1/2 cup, Country sugar/
jaggery/sugar, cup: 1/4 cup, Coconut oil: 2 tbsp,
Water: 2 tbsp,
Cardamom powder: 1/2 tsp, Salt: 1/8 tsp, Yellow
food colour (optional): 1/8 tsp
- Take 1.5 cups of millet poha and roast for a few minutes on medium flame until it turns crisp.
- Cool and grind into powder. This will measure one cup.
- On medium flame, heat a pan, add oil, puree and coconut milk. Mix everything well. Add water.
- When the mixture starts boiling, add the powdered poha, cardamom powder, and salt, cook until it becomes soft and all the moisture is absorbed.
- Add country sugar/jaggery/ white sugar. It will melt and become thick.
- Once the mixture becomes like a mass and rolls as a ball, switch off the heat. Add yellow food colour and allow it to cool.
- Once it is warm enough to handle, using a mould, make modaks. Serve.