- Festival season is here.
pic credit : Mahesh MV (Unsplash )
The most happening festival in Maharashtra Ganeshotsav is happening now.
The 10 days starting from Ganesh Chaturti , to Anant Chaturdasi is a time of celebration on the occasion of Sri Ganesh’s birth. During this period, people bring an idol of Sri Ganesh at home and in colonies to offer Bhog and chant prayers. It is the festival of fun and frolic to all. During this festival, everyone offers their creative talent to Sri Ganesh, the lord of joy and eliminator of sadness, “Sukh karta dukh harta” blesses everyone.
In the 18th century, the Peshwas who were devotees of Sri Ganesh, started this as a public festival in the capital city of Pune. During the British rule, Ganesh Utsav was declared a public celebration in Pune in the year 1893 by Bal Gangadhar Tilak (Lokamanya Tilak) to unite people during the freedom struggle. Every nook and corner of Pune reverberates with mellifluous sounds of Ganapathi Bappa Morya accompanied with various musical instruments and performances.
It is believed that Sri Ganesh loved Modak and a Bhog of 21 Modaks are offered to him as a Nivedyam. There are many mythological stories behind this ritual.
Goddess Parvati’s mother Menavati used to feed her grandson Ganesh with lots of Modak. Goddess Parvati also made Modaks for Ganesh to satiate his hunger. Once Sri Shiva visited Atri Muni’s cottage along with Ganesh. He asked Atri Muni’s wife Anasuya to give them food. Anasuya started feeding little Ganesh first. She found out even after offering many sweet treats Ganesh still remained hungry. Finally, she offered 21 modaks to little Ganesh with great love. Ganesh ate the Modaks and burped. It is said that Lord Shiva burped 21 times when Ganesh was eating the Modak.
Ukkadicha Modak is a traditional Maharashtrian delicacy. Most households make Ukkadicha Modak as a bhog to Sri Ganesh during this festival season. Nowadays, many households are satisfied with store-bought Mawa Modaks. There are lots of new varieties like fried modaks, dry fruit modak, cheese modak, biscuit modak, chocolate modak, chana dal modak, etc. These new varieties are all really delicious, but taking a bite of the warm homemade traditional rice flour modaks made with the goodness of jaggery and fresh coconut is an experience in itself. This sweet dumplings will fill your stomach as well as your heart with joy!
Cooking being my creative pursuit, it is not just to offer the Bhog but also to present my talent to Sri Ganesh . After many experiments,I cracked this perfect recipe today, and I want to share this delicious and easy recipe with you. We need to learn to make it in small quantities initially.
Pic credit : Surekha Chandrasekhar
Serves: 9 Modaks
· Rice Flour (soft and fine quality ) ½ cup
· Water 1 1/2 cup
· Jaggery slurry 1 cup
· Fresh coconut 2 cups
· Powdered cardamom 1 tsp
· Pinch of salt
· Cow Ghee 2 to 3 tsp
1. Powder the jaggery and make a syrup by heating it with ¼ cup of water. Don’t overheat. It should melt completely and have a thick consistency like honey. Not very sticky or watery.
2. Allow the jaggery slur to settle. The impurities will float on top like a whitish foam. This can be carefully removed with a spoon.
3. In a pan, pour 1 cup of the Jaggery syrup. Add the fresh coconut. Mix well and cook on a medium flame. The syrup will be absorbed and the mixture will become soft.
4. Add the cardamom powder, 1 tsp ghee and a pinch of salt. Mix everything. The filling is ready now. Keep it aside.
5. Take a thick-bottomed pan. Dry roast the rice flour carefully on a slow flame for five minutes. Stir constantly.
6. Add the remaining ghee and 1½ cups of boiling water, little by little stirring simultaneously. Turn off the flame. Keep a lid and allow the mixture to cook in the steam for another ten minutes.
7. Remove the contents into a bowl. Start kneading with wet palms, while the mixture is still warm. Knead for ten minutes, and add two or three spoons of warm water if needed. Make a soft dough.
I have used a modak mold to shape the modaks. Take a spoonful of the dough and fill it into the mold. Press the dough into the sides. Now make a dent with your finger, add the filling and seal the bottom with the dough. Remove the modak from the mold. Similarly, make all the modaks. Grease the stand of an idli cooker. Place modaks on it and steam it for ten minutes.
If you wish you can add saffron strands on the top of modaks before steaming them. This will give a nice fragrance and a yellow tinge to the modaks.
Now our delicious and healthy modaks are ready. Serve it hot, topping with honey or ghee.
Sri Ganesh is going to love these sweet Nivedyam.
Have an auspicious festival season! Ganpati Bappa Moriya Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar yaa…
Some nutritional facts :
Rice is gluten-free and cholesterol free. It contains a lot of soluble fibers, vitamins and minerals.
Jaggery is a healthy sweetener and a great source of iron and vitamin B12
Eating Coconut is great for healthy hair and skin and contains a large amount of medium chain fatty acids (saturated aft)that is easier for us to digest compared to animal fats.
Cover : Surekha Chandrasekhar