In Maharashtra, Ganesh festival is synonymous with ukadiche modak. Sweet steamed dumplings of rice flour, coconut and gur, the modak (plural is also modak, without an 's') are a tasty combination of the ingredients available in plenty in the Konkan coast where they originated.
To make modak
2 cups rice flour
2.5 cups water
Salt to taste
3 cups scraped fresh coconut
1.5 cups chopped or broken Jaggery (Gur)
(Brown sugar can be used as a substitute if Gur is not available)
First prepare the filling. In a thick bottomed pan, put in the coconut and the gur. Keep stirring on a medium flame till all the gur melts, the coconut turns golden and the mixture begins to look ‘integrated’.
For the cases: In a thick bottomed pan, heat water with a little salt and a tablespoon of oil. Once it begins to boil, add the flour and stir vigorously with a flat spoon for a minute or so till there are no lumps left. Cover with lid and steam twice. The whole process takes about 10 minutes. The end result should be a cooked dough of soft, pliable consistency.
Let the dough cool a bit. Apply a little oil or butter to the hand and take a small portion of the dough, the size of a table-tennis ball. With your hands roll the dough into a smooth ball.
Then keep the dough ball on your left palm and begin to mold it into a cup shape with your right hand, using thumb and fingers.
Once the cup is formed fill it with a spoonful of the coconut filling.
Tamp down the filling and pull the dough from all sides over it to close the modak.
Once you have about 5- 10 such pieces ready, steam them for about 10 minutes.
You can use a steamer available for such purposes, or create one by heating a little water in a wok and placing a sieve with the modak in it once the water boils.
Cover with a lid while steaming.
Lo, your modak are ready! Serve them warm with thick ghee.