Happy Vinayaka Chaturthi everyone! 🙂 On this happy occasion, I have one of the best sweets for the festival – Modakam/Modak. This is a classic Kozhukattai loved by one and all. With a stuffing made out of coconut and jaggery, this sweet dumpling is extremely delicious 🙂
There can be different kind of fillings for Modakam but the classic one is made with coconut and jaggery. And that happens to be my favorite too. Growing up, I always used to help Amma make Kozhukattais for Vinayaka Chavithi. She would prepare the filling and get the rice dough ready. And then, I would sit with it patiently making different kinds of shapes.
Back then, we didn’t have the fancy molds and stuff. Apply a coat of sesame oil to your palms and start patting the rice dough thin, stuff the filling and cover the dough from all directions. It is either in a cone shape or round shape or a half moon. It takes a lot of patience to make these dumplings by hand. Pat the dough too thick, it is not very good to taste. If it is too thin, it could be hard to bring all the edges together. They weren’t pretty to look at, but no one cared as long as they tasted awesome 😀 Today I used a Kozhukattai mold to make my modaks and the interesting thing is this has been in our family for more than ten years. I got it for my mom and she gifted it back to me when I got married 🙂
My mother-in-law makes a different kind of stuffing for these sweet kozhukattais. She powders black sesame seeds and jaggery together. And it is this powder that is stuffed into these Kozhukattais. Imagine filling a powder into these fiddly things. It tastes equally wonderful but then my first choice would be coconut filled modaks! Nothing can really beat the classic combination 🙂
To make Modakam | Modak | Sweet Kozhukattai
What I used –
- Rice Flour, ½ cup
- Water, 3/4 cup + ¼ cup
- Coconut Grated, ½ cup
- Jaggery Powdered, ½ cup
- Green Cardamom, 1
- Sesame/Gingelly Oil, 1 tsp + extra for rolling and greasing
- Salt, a generous pinch
How I made –
1. In a thick bottomed pan, heat powdered jaggery along with ¼ cup of water. Bring it to a boil and make sure the jaggery is completely dissolved in water. When it froths up, add grated coconut and mix well. Add roughly powdered green cardamom and keep stirring until the mixture thickens. Let it cool down completely.
2. Meanwhile, bring 3/4 cup of water to boil along with ½ tsp of sesame/gingely oil and a generous pinch of salt. Once the water boils, switch off the flame. Add the rice flour and quickly stir it. Make sure there are no lumps. Add ½ tsp of sesame/gingely oil on top and keep stirring. It should soon form a ball of dough.
3. Apply sesame/gingelly oil all over the modak mold. Take a small ball of rice dough and put it in the modak mold. Press along the edges such that there is a gap in the center. Fill it with 1 tsp of coconut jaggery filling.
4. Cover the modak with some more rice dough. Gently open the mold and remove the modak. Repeat the same with rest of the dough. Keep applying oil on the mold for every modak.
5. Grease the steamer plate with few drops of sesame/gingely oil. Place the prepared modaks on the steamer plate and steam cook for 7-8 mins. When the modak is cooked, the rice dough slightly changes color. Switch off the heat and let them cool down for a couple of minutes.
6. Serve hot.
- The coconut jaggery filling has to cool down completely and on cooling down, it hardens enough to make small balls.
- Instead of using a mold, you can also shape the modaks by hand. Press the rice dough as thin as possible on your palm. Place the filling at the center and bring all the edges together. Form a conical shape.
- Sesame oil gives distinct flavor to the modagams. Don’t skip that.
- The rice dough should be handled while it is still warm or else, the modaks make crack.
- Don’t layer the rice dough too thick. Make sure the prepared modaks have no cracks or openings.
- Don’t overfill the stuffing as the modaks bight break while steaming.
- Don’t forget to grease the modak mold as the rice dough can stick and break the modak.