As you all know, this year, I’m performing a small Ganesh Chaturthi puja at home, and thus, I made a Naivedya thali on Chaturthi day to offer to Lord Ganesha. Naivedya is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘offering to the Lord’. This offering can be tangible, such as offering fruits, sweets and savoury items, while intangible offerings are those that we seek from within, blessings from the Lord, for instance, or offering him a promise to perform certain acts, duties, etc.
My Naivedya platter consisted of seven homemade items that I had made for Bappa; seven because it is believed that an odd number of offering should be made to Lord Ganesha, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and so on. Now as is common knowledge, Modaks are Ganpati Bappa’s favourite; he even presides his throne with a modak in his hand, and so I was very keen on adding modaks to the naivedya thali.
Traditionally, steamed modaks called Ukadiche Modak are made for Lord Ganesha. Rice flour is cooked in hot water, a dough is formed by kneading the cooked flour, modaks are shaped and filled with a sweet filling, made with coconut, jaggery and assorted ingredients. I was looking forward to making them, but we couldn’t find rice flour here, and there was no time to search elsewhere or make my own at home. So I hunted and hunted and came across this Rava Modak recipe on Veg Recipes of India’s website. Yay me!
The process for making these are similar to that of Ukadiche Modak, except that you do not need to steam these, as rava gets cooked in the boiling water. The only difficulty I faced, as a first-timer, was the pleating. It seems like a cake-walk, but trust me, it’s not, especially if this is the first time you’re making modaks. So my suggestion would be to just go ahead and make them, without worrying about the shape….which, as you may see from mine, are far from perfect. I’m just glad I could make something that resembles modaks and present to Bappa 😉
- Rava/Sooji/Semolina – 1 cup
- Water – 1.5 cups
- Coconut – 1 cup (grated/shredded)
- Jaggery – 1/2 cup (I’ve used powdered jaggery that is verrrryy sweet, so check and add accordingly)
- Malai or Fresh cream – 3 tbsp
- Ghee – 1 tsp
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
- Sugar – 1 tsp
- Heat a kadhai or non-stick vessel, and cook the shredded coconut and jaggery on a low flame.
- Mix them, and let cook keeping the flame on low, until the jaggery has melted completely.
- Add the malai, and cook until the mixture is almost dry, but still retains softness. Turn off heat; you don’t want to overcook the mixture or it’ll become hard later.
- Tip it on to a plate and let cool.
- Heat the water in a non-stick pan, and let it come to a rolling boil.
- Quickly add the sugar, salt and ghee, and switch off the flame.
- Pour the rava into the hot water, and immediately, begin to stir, until it has absorbed all the water.
- Switch on the flame again, and keeping it low, cook the rava for 4 to 5 mins, or until you see the rava mixture beginning to clump together.
- Put a lid and keep it aside for 5 mins.
- Next, tip it on to a plate, and start kneading it like you would knead a dough; if it’s too hot to handle, let cool for another minute or two.
- When it’s cooled down enough to handle, start kneading until you have a smooth, lump-free dough; oil your hands before if you find it sticky to touch.
- Pinch a bit of dough and roll into a lemon-sized ball, making sure it has no cracks.
- Flatten the dough on the palm of your hands, or rotate it in a circluar pattern, using your fingertips to make it evenly thin all over.
- Now, holding the flattened disc in your palm, pleat the dough, until you have a open-modak shape; five to six pleats were all that I managed.
- Fill the sweet coconut stuffing inside, a tbsp would be fine, and pinch the tips of the pleated/fluted ends to close the modak.
- Pinch the top, and give it a pointed tip. Repeat process for all the modaks. (You don’t need to steam them further).
- Serve rava modaks to Lord Ganesha, or enjoy them on any occasion with friends and family.