Ganapati or Ganesha is one of the most loved Hindu gods. My childhood stories often involved him and his funny adventures. Stories passed down generations talk about his love for food. Chaturti or his birthday is therefore a celebration of food in all its glory. Sweets, savoury, cripsy, various kinds of culinary delights are prepared to please him and his ravenous appetite. Every state in India has their version of his favorite birthday food. Being a Mumbaikar no Chaturti is complete for me without preparing the famous Modak. Modaks are sweet coconut and jaggery filled dumplings that can be steamed or fried. The steamed version is made with a cover of rice flour, while the fried one is made of whole wheat flour. Whichever version is made, the offering is generally given in odd numbers.
I have made 21 this time. 11 large ones and 11 tiny ones for the tiny tot in the family, Daivik.
I struggled for the last 5 years with the rice flour version. It becomes yummy, but the shape was never quite right 😦 If you struggle with them too, I would highly recommend you to try this version. So simple and pretty to look at.
To begin, first prepare the dough, as it needs around 15-20 minutes of resting. Knead 3 cups of flour, salt and warm water to a stiff dough. Once the dough is almost ready , add around 2 thsps of ghee and knead further to a shiny finish. Cover and leave it to rest.
To prepare the filling freshly grate an entire coconut or use a cup and half of frozen coconut (thawed). In a saucepan roast around a tsp of poppy seeds and sesame seeds. Add around 1.5 cups of grated or chopped organic jaggery. I chose the darker colored jaggery. Once the jaggery melts, add the coconut and turn off the flame. Finish with a pinch of ground cardamom. Let this filling cool down a bit but not completely.
To assemble, roll out little discs or puris. I used a cookie cutter for uniform modak sizes. Place the filling in the center. Pinch the ends of the puri like the pictures below and gather all the ends forming a dumpling.
Deep fry the prepared dumplings in medium hot oil. Offer them to ganesha and enjoy with family after his puja. Happy Birthday Ganapti 🙂