Steps to make delicious Steamed Modaks:
Making the sweet filling for the modak:
Grate the coconut and keep aside.
Crumble or grate or powder the jaggery and keep aside.
Crush the cardamoms in a mortar-pestle.
In a thick bottomed pan, take the jaggery and add the coconut to it. Heat up the stove.
Mix the jaggery and coconut together and stir.
The jaggery will start to melt now….. keep on stirring for sometime….
The jaggery will continue to melt more. Keep on stirring.
Once the entire jaggery is melted… you will see a moist liquid mass of jaggery and coconut and a heavenly aroma coming from the pan.
Keep stirring and let the mixture cook till the mixture becomes a little dry. Just keep in mind that the jaggery should not be over cooked as then your mixture would become very sticky and hard.
When done, add the cardamom powder….
Mix the cardamom powder
The coconut jaggery filling is ready. Keep it aside.
Making the outer cover of the Ukadiche Modak:
In a pan or dekchi add the water, oil and salt.
Keep this pan on the flame and let the contents heat up till the mixture comes to a rolling boil.
Remove the pan from the fire and add the rice flour to it. Add small portions of rice flour. Keep on mixing as you want the mixture to be free from lumps and smooth. If the mixture becomes dry, add little water. If it becomes too liquidy, add a little rice flour. Consistency is very important here as you do not want the dough to break when making the modaks.
Mix all the rice flour and keep on mixing with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Now keep this pan with the rice flour on low flame and keep on stirring till the rice mixture becomes thick and one solid mass. The rice flour should be cooked. Check out the below pic where the rice flour has mixture all become one and gathered on the spatula.
Cover and allow this mixture to sit for 5-6 mins. When the mixture is still warm or slightly hot, then begin to knead it. Apply some oil on your palms while kneading the dough so that it does not stick to your fingers.
Apply some water or oil on your palm. Take a small portion of the rice dough and make a smooth ball out of it with your hands. Keep this rice flour dough ball on your palm.
Now flatten this dough ball in your palm with the fingers of the other hand. Make a small puri of it on your palm.
Keep a small portion of the jaggery-coconut mixture on the center of this puri.
Bring together all the edges together and close the top. This is quite a task especially if you have not made something similar to this before.
Remove the extra portion of the dough from the top.
Shape and taper the top of the modak with your fingers.
Make all the modaks this way.
Steam the modaks for 8-10 mins on a low to medium flame in a pressure cooker without the whistle/vent weight. Some modaks may crack whilst steaming as was the case with me, buts its alright. You can forgive yourself if you are making this first time.
The modaks are ready to be offered to Lord Ganesha.