This is a 10 day festival that celebrates the birth of Ganpati (the Indian God with an elephant head). It usually falls at the end of the monsoon season and is celebrated in much grandeur all over India. Various localities build different themed pendals which are elaborately decorated, and absolutely everyone participates, from the youngest to the oldest, bringing together people from all walks of life, for once, putting their religions aside.
It's also the time of the year that gives this festival a whole different charm; it's celebrated in the midst of mild rain showers, everywhere you look there are different decorations and hymns playing, and nothing as awe-striking or endearing as the sight of Ganesh idols decorated according to different elaborate themes.
The second best part about this festival is the sweets prepared for the venerations. Each and every dish is more delicious than the other.
Modaks are known as one of Ganesha's favourite dishes. A few varieties of this sweetmeat are made; some steamed, some fried, some with sugar, some with jaggery, but all have to be dipped in sweetened coconut milk or ghee and feasted on!
These sweetmeats are always made fresh, ON the day of the festival. It's an absolute joy, to wake up early morning on Ganesh Chaturthi day, take a bath, wear new clothes and get working in the kitchen with all the prayers playing in the background from pendals in different directions.
Always a divine experience!
10 Modaks approximately
For The Cover
For The Stuffing
1 cup, fresh, grated
Making the dough
In a casserole, add the water, salt, oil and bring to boil. Remove 2 tbsp of this water and keep aside incase its needed later.
Take it off the flame. Using a whisk, gradually add the rice powder to the water, making sure no lumps are formed.
Do not let the mixture become wet and sticky. It should become a thick , solid mass.
Once the mixture has cooled down, grease your palms with oil and knead it well.
Set aside, till the stuffing is ready.
Making the stuffing
Mix together the grated coconut, cardamom and sugar.
Add this to a pan, and cook on a slow flame.
Once cooked, this mixture should be completely dry.
Making the modaks
Keep a steamer ready.
Take a small portion of the dough in your hand and make a smooth ball.
Roll this into a small paratha using oil and very little pressure.
Place a small portion of the coconut mixture in the centre and bring all the edges together and close the top.
Shape and taper the top with your fingers.
Steam for 7 - 10 minutes on a medium flame.
P.S. Goes best with fresh coconut milk.
Modak moulds are also available in the market which makes it much easier.
Modaks can be steamed or fried.