In my last post of Hartalika which i posted a day prior to the start of Ganesh festival, i had mentioned that i will make modaks and write a post the next day. Unfortunately, am writing this post on the last day of the festival, since last few days were very busy. For those who know my profession, i was surrounded with 3 mischievous babies past 10 days, and there was just no time to edit pictures or write a post :) But modaks are so delish that one can eat it anytime, right? We don't really need a festival for that!!!
Anant Chaturdashi is the 10th or last day of Ganesh Utsav. On this day, Ganesha is given grand farewell and the idols that were placed in homes or colonies for the festival are immersed in a nearby waterbody. Since a lot of the idols were made of POP (plaster of paris) earlier, immersing them in water bodies would only pollute it and the next day we could see broken idols floating on top or on the banks of sea or river. This was really saddening, and though the practise continues at a lot of places, there are people who for eco-friendly Ganeshas and also immerse the idols in man-made temporary water bodies. Well, Ananta in Sanskrit means eternal (The immortal Lord Vishnu) and chaturdashi is 14th day of the bright fortnight.
Although Ganesh festival is celebrated across India, mostly in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, most of the other states also worship Lord Vishnu on this day. There is a very interesting mythological story about this day. Sumant was a Brahmin and had a daughter Sushila with wife Diksha. When Diksha died, Sumant remarried but the stepmother would torture little Sushila. So, when she grew of age, she eloped in the forests with a young man named Kaundinya. One day, when Kaundinya went for a bath in the river, Sushila met some women on the way worshipping Lord Ananta and got to know about the pooja and 14-year vow. It is said that if one fasts and does pooja on this day for 14 years in a row, one is blessed with Lord Vishnu's blessings to regain lost wealth or well being for family. Sushila took the oath, tied the sacred vow-thread to her hand and followed all the tradition religiously. Indeed they became rich and successful.
One day when Kaundinya got to know about the vow, he got angry as he believed he is self-made man and his riches are not due to any vow. He throwed away Sushila's vow-thread in fire and soon after, they became poor. Kaundinya understood the power of the Ananta and took the 14 year vow restoring his belief and regaining his lost wealth.
Well, such stories are always interesting to hear, ain't they? Coming back to the modak post, there are two types of modaks popularly made : One is Ukadiche (the white steamed ones with rice flour) and one is Talniche (deep fried ones). On my paternal side, and my in-laws side, they make Talniche modak as prashad for Ganesha. On my maternal side, though, the Ukdiche modaks are made. Here, i am posting the deep fried ones (yes, they are easy as compared to the others), and hubby's favourite! :)
It is a tradition that always with modaks, one karanji is made or vice versa. Modak represents male and karanji is female, so to signify it is "shubh" (auspicious) that the male and female stay together :) Just as we make one Kadbola with Chakli or one puri with shankarpale :)
Preparation time : 25-30 minutes
Cooking time : 30 minutes
Serves : 2-3 people
Recipe type: Sweets and dessert
For dough :
Maida/All purpose flour - 1/2 cup
Atta/ wheat flour - 1/2 cup
(You can also make the dough with only wheat flour or only all purpose flour)
Salt - a pinch
Ghee/oil - 2 tbsp
For filling :
Grated fresh coconut - 1 cup
Grated jaggery/ sugar - 1/3-1/2 cup
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
Ghee - 1 tbsp
If you are adding sugar, you can also add 2 tbsp khoya or fresh cream (optional).
Addition of nuts is optional and as per choice too
Oil - for frying the modaks
Mix the wheat flour and all purpose flour and add in salt.
Heat the 2 tbsp ghee/oil (make it real hot - this is what we call 'Mohan'). Add this to the flour mixture, and mix it with a spoon. Remember it's hot, so don't use hands.
Now add water little by little and knead it into a nice smooth soft dough. Cover the dough and keep aside for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, lets make the filling:
Take 1 tbsp ghee in a kadhai.
Add the coconut and saute for a minute, stir continuously to prevent sticking/browning.
Now add the sugar or jaggery. It will melt and become liquid. Let it cook till all the liquid is absorbed and a nice aroma comes.
Now mix in the cardamom powder and nuts. You can also add a pinch of jaiphal (nutmeg) powder for taste.
Switch off the stove and let this filling cool down.
To make modaks:
Knead the dough again for a while, and divide it in equal sized balls. (This proportion makes 12 - 11 modaks and 1 karanji).
Now roll these balls in small sized puris. Roll them as thin as possible, especially the sides of the puri. You can dust some flour to roll the puris, but i didn't need it. The mohan made the dough so soft, that the puris rolled very well by itself.
Now, take the puri in your palm and add a spoonful of the filling in the centre.
Now pinch the edges of the puri one by one and then bring all the pinched ends together in the centre. Seal it well.
Repeat the procedure for other modaks. For karanji, roll a puri and fill the filling in the centre. Now life one side of the puri and roll it on to the other side and seal it with your fingertips. (I think the next time i make modaks, i have to click pictures of the procedure too).
Now heat oil for frying in a kadhai and gently fry modaks one by one till golden brown on all sides. Remove on a tissue paper and let it cool.
It is said, that one should not taste the filling or modak before giving it as "Prashad" to the God. So, do your pooja and then pop them in your mouth :) It will be full of goodness :)
Happy Anant Chaturdashi to all of you :)
Happy Cooking :)