My first Indian Cooking Challenge
I’ve just finished wrapping up my recipes for this Ganesh Chaturthi based theme. Honestly I was a bit anxious wondering if I would be able to pull this one off. I started off preparing the modak , let me admit, having no idea what it was. But once I started preparing it, It struck me all of a sudden. Kozhikutta!yes that’s what it was…and a flood of memories started pouring in..
Festivals in kerela are incomplete without this delicacy and our house was no exception. Although I wasnt too much of a fan then-like most girls of my age growing up in Kerala then, I preferred the north-indian rotis and paneer or Chinese noodles, or the American burger. Anything, but our own kerala cuisine. Oh how I regret those days when I would complain seeing the ‘boring’ kerala meal set on the table. It’s only ever since I’ve moved out Kerela that I most miss and hunger for anything that passes off as malayalee!
My husband is a huge fan of these rice dumplings and when we moved in with my in-laws for a year my mom-in-law often prepared these delicious miniatures for her son when he got back from work. She however mostly used the sugar-coconut combo instead of the jaggery-coconut combination that is used for the modak filling. The only difference between the two is the tear-drop shape that so defines the modak. The Modak as well as the other sweet I prepared , the Kudaalo are typical offering sweets made for Ganesh Chatuti and are said to be Lord Ganesha’s most desired sweets. It’s not surprising; they are delicious ..You can’t stop with one!
To prepare the MODAK you need
Rice Flour – 1 & 1/2 cup
Water – 3 cups.
salt to taste
For the Filling
Grated coconut – 3 tbsp
Jaggary – 3 tbsp
Cardamom powder a pinch.
In a bowl mix the flour and a little water to make a smooth paste. Just ensure there are no lumps. Boil the rest of the water in a pan with salt. Once it starts boiling, dump in the rest of the flour and cook .Keep stirring so that you leave no lumps. Add 1 tsp of oil and continue stirring. Mix, making sure there are no lumps. Take off heat when it looks like it is solidifying and the mixture starts to leave the sides of the dish.
Remove and cover with a damp cloth so that it remains hot.
To prepare the filling, grate coconut and mix with jaggary. Cook in a pan to get a thick texture. Divide into required shapes.
The first time I tried these, they were a complete mess, but a couple of tries later I realized it was not so complicated. I was soon doing ok.
In a small bowl pour some oil. Smear your hands with oil and take a lemon sized ball of the rice flour. Press it in the middle so that it forms a depression. While occasionally touching the oil, widen that gap and the put a bit of the filling inside. Pinch the sides as shown and then close the gap. Repeat the process for the remaining dough. Now steam it for 10 minutes.
The Kudaalu was quite interesting to prepare.
For the Filling
Channa dal – 1 cup
Grated Jaggery – 1 cup
Fresh grated Coconut – 1/4 cup
Cardamom powder – 3/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying
Pressure cook the channa dal with just enough water to cover it.
Cook the jaggery to remove any scum. Then once the dal is well cooked, drain and cook it again along with the jaggery.
Now grind the mixture into a smooth paste. If the resultant mixture seems too liquidy, put on simmer until it dries up. Add the cardamom powder and the coconut. Take off heat and cool. Divide into equal balls.
Mix maida, salt and as much water as needed to form a thick dough (as for puri). Knead well and roll out into small circles. Place a small teaspoon of the filling in the middle and fold and cover as shown.
Deep fry in oil. Drain and store in air-tight containers.
Ps: To keep the file size small the video format is in wmv. so it may play in IE only.