Ukadiche Modak (steamed rice dumplings with sweet coconut filling)
Ukadiche Modak is an Indian sweet dumpling made during the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. It is made from steamed rice flour and stuffed with a sweet mixture of jaggery and grated coconut.
For the covering:
- 1 cup Water
- 2 tsp Ghee divided
- 1/4 tsp Salt (optional)
- 1 cup Rice flour very fine (see notes)
- Saffron (optional)
Prepare the filling:
Heat a heavy bottom pan on medium flame. Add the grated coconut and roast it for 2 minutes.
Add jaggery, cardamom and poppy seeds. Cook until they blend together and ooze out a little liquid, about 2-3 minutes.
Take the pan off the flame and let it cool. It is important that the mixture completely cools.
Prepare the covering:
In a pot, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add 1 tsp ghee and salt.
Add the rice flour, mix it well with a spoon and turn off the flame. Cover the pot and leave it for 3-5 minutes.
Remove this to a large bowl and let it cool a bit. You want this mixture to be still warm while you make a dough from it.
While the mixute is still warm, apply some ghee and warm water to your hands and knead it until it is soft, about 5-7 minutes. The dough should not look patchy or crumble. Optionally, you can also add couple of teaspoons of warm milk while kneading the dough which will make it extra soft.
Wrap the dough with a damp cloth. It is important to keep the dough damp and soft. Now make 12 lemon size balls. Note: The size of the balls will also depend on the size of the modak mold you have. Also keep the balls covered with the damp cloth.
Apply some ghee or oil to the base of a steamer basket.
Open the mold and apply ghee with your fingers to the inside of the mold. Close the mold, and place one lemon size dough ball inside the mold. Now with your finger start spreading the dough to the sides of the mold so it gets the shape. Allow some dough to come out of the mold which will be used to seal after adding the stuffing.
Scoop in a spoonful of the filling and gently seal the bottom with the dough that came out of the mild. Open the mold and remove the modak gently. Place it in a steamer basket. Make remaining modak's in the same way. Between making modak's, apply ghee again to the mold.
Optionally, place a strand of saffron on top of each modak and press it into the rice flour covering.
Depending on the size of your steamer basket, you might want to steam modak in multiple batches. You want to make sure the modak are not placed too close to each other.
Steaming Modak in the stovetop steamer:
In a pot where the steamer basket fits, bring water to a rolling boil. Set the boiling water on medium heat. Place the steamer basket and steam the modak covered for 8-10 minutes. You should see a shine appear on the modak.
Take the steamer basket out and let it cool for about 5 minutes. This will help make sure the base does not break when you pick up the modak.
Steaming Modak in the Instant Pot:
Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot insert and place the trivet. Let the water boil on saute mode while you are preparing the modak.
Place the steamer basket with modak on the trivet. Close lid with valve in venting position. Set on steam mode and steam for 10 minutes. You will need an external timer to keeo the time.
After 10 minutes, remove the lid after the pin has dropped. Carefully remove the steamer basket and let the modak cool for about 5 minutes. This will help make sure the base does not break when you pick up the modak.
Ukadiche Modak is ready to be enjoyed!
Preparing the day before: This stuffing can be made a couple of days in advance and refrigerated until ready to be used.
Frozen coconut: If fresh coconut is not available, you can use frozen coconut. I used frozen and the mixture looks like with long strands of coconut, but it works well. Ideal is fresh coconut, however this works if fresh is not available.
Rice flour: It is important the flour is very fine. You can buy Modak rice flour or stone ground rice flour. Another option is to sieve store bought rice flour through a fine sieve before using.
Modak Mold: I got the aluminum modak mold from the indian grocery store. They are available on Amazon. If you don't have the mold, then you can still make the modak.
Preparing Modak without a mold: Using your hand flatten the lemon size dough ball by applying pressure at the center, but keeping one finger at the edges to seal any broken sides. Scoop in the mixture and slowly with the base of your hands wrap it up. Using a toothpick, make impression all around the modak for an easy pattern.
Calories: 160kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 52mg | Potassium: 54mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg