Monday, 14 September 2015

Daring Cooks September 2015: Modaks

For the month of September, Rutvika the talented lady behind challenged us to make modaks: a delicate preparation of coconut and jiggery filled in a tender rice flour covering that is later steamed to produce a delicacy that is usually served in the Ganesha festival in India.

So I don't like coconut so I went for a savoury filling for my Modaks. I really enjoyed the flavour of these dumplings but I was a bit rubbish with my shaping, but I loved having a go! My second lot turned out better than the first. I ended up with loads more dough than mixture so I made double filling and used up all the dough and froze the leftovers.

Recipe 2: Steamed vegetable modaks

Servings: Makes 12 steamed vegetable modaks
Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Cooling time: to be served hot


For the filling
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • ½ teaspoon green chilli paste (or cayenne pepper)
  • ½ cup or 50 grams cabbage , finely chopped (I used the purple cabbage which has a milder flavor)
  • ½ cup or 50 gms onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup or 35 grams green stalks of spring onions
  • ½ cup or 50 grams French beans, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

For the covering / shell
  • 1 heaped cup of Basmati rice flour, sifted (310 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup water (180 m)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 35 grams unsalted butter


Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a wok. Add the chilli paste in the oil and let it sizzle for a minute.

Add all the vegetables and stir fry it for a couple of minutes over low heat. Add the salt and sugar. Cover it with a lid and steam the vegetables till just softened, but still crisp.

Add the soy sauce, mix well.

Take it off the heat and let it cool down completely.

To make the covering, sift the rice flour and 1 tablespoon all purpose flour with the smallest sieve twice so that it is very smooth. The all purpose flour is used to make the rice flour more sticky.

In a thick bottomed vessel, take the water and add butter and salt to it. Let it come to a boil.

Once water starts to boil, add the flour mixture all at once. Take it off heat and mix it together with a spoon.

Then put it back on heat and sprinkle 2 tablespoon water. Cover and let it steam for 1 minute over low heat.

Take it off heat and let it stay in a corner covered for 10 minutes, It will get softened.

Once it has considerably cooled down, pulse it in a food processor for a minute, take it out and knead with hands to bring it together to form a smooth dough.

Prepare the steamer. Fill a large vessel with water covering the bottom of the steamer. Place steamer on top and keep it ready. We place the modaks on a banana leaf for steaming, but you can use a plain tea towel instead.

Make 12 equal balls of the dough.

With a little water, flatten each ball into a thin disk with your hands or in a non-electric roti maker, about 4 inches in diameter. Then take it into the palm of your hand. Stuff it with some mixture leaving ½ inch on all sides. Start pinching the corners into petals with the use of your index finger and thumb and middle finger on each side. Make several such petals all around the edge of the disk

Then start getting all the petals together by pressing it closer with your fingers. Seal the top and keep it covered with a damp towel till a few are ready to be steamed.

Immerse each modak in water before placing it in the steamer filled with boiling water. Steam for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with some pickle or ketchup.

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