Saturday, April 24, 2010

Modaks - Sweet and Savory

When you are a sweetaholic and you can’t eat dairy, life becomes bleaker than you’d ever known. There’s only a certain amount of bananas, dates and sweetened granola you can eat before you give in and gobble down your first soya tart and your palate is ruined forever. Even after brushing your teeth until you have no enamel left, finishing your year’s supply of Listerine and as last resort gurgling with neem juice, you’ll be unable to get rid of the greasy, putrid aftertaste. What shall you do then – sulk in a corner and contemplate whether the lone savior of your taste buds, a tiny piece of dark chocolate is worth the hives you’ll break into a hour after it valiantly fights off that nasty tang which has seized your mouth.

Yes my friend, that’s what I was doing when suddenly my usually underperforming memory stepped it up and images of Modaks flashed across my eyes. I had tasted them years back when Smitha aunty, my parents’ Maharashtrian neighbor had sent them after Ganesh Chaturthi. I couldn’t remember much except that they tasted of coconut. Some googling later I finally found my diary free sugar fix – coconut and jaggery dumplings at Aayi’s.

However, there was a tiny problem – there was no jaggery at home and I wasn’t sure of my dumpling cover rolling skills. Genius overtook; sugar substituted gur and the packet of dumpling skins came out of the refrigerator. I didn’t want to fry them so I steamed the dumplings like some internet recipes had suggested. Of course in my euphoria, I had forgotten the salt and spices in the processed dumpling skins but that only made the Modaks more interesting – an explosion of savory and sweet in the mouth. After polishing off a plate of these sinful dumplings, I had a preposterous desire to hug the Thackerays and shout “Jai Maharashtra!” I am also sending these sweet and savory Modaks to One Hot Stove.

Modaks – Sweet and Savory



Grated coconut – 3/4 cup

Sugar – 1/3 cup

Sesame seeds – 1 tsp, toasted and roughly crushed

Rice flour – 1tbsp

Raisins – 1/3 cup

Cashew nuts – 1/3 cup coarsely crushed

Cardamom powder – 1tsp

Rose water – 1/2 tsp

Dumpling skin - 20



  • Mix grated coconut and sugar in a microwave safe bowl and heat covered for 3 minutes on high or until the sugar melts and forms a homogenous mixture with coconut.
  • Add the other ingredients for filling and mix well. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
  • Prepare your steamer. Since I don’t have a steamer I had to make one by placing a lightly greased sieve over a large pot filled to 1/8 capacity with water. While the water comes to a rolling boil fill the dumplings.
  • Place a dumpling skin flat on a clean surface and wet all around the edge.
  • Place 1 heaped tbsp of the filling in the centre and gather the edges to completely cover the filling. Seal the dumpling with a light twist.
  • Repeat for other dumplings.
  • Dip the dumplings in water and place on the greased sieve after water in the pot comes to a rolling boil. Cover the pot and let the dumplings steam on medium heat for 15 minutes. Remove the lid carefully avoiding steam burn and check for doneness. The dumpling skin should be glistening and translucent.
  • If done remove pot from heat.
  • Gently remove the modaks from the sieve and allow them cool to room temperature before serving.

    Serves – 4


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