Ukdiche Modak – traditional recipe, but made easier with the stand mixer!
Whenever I cook traditional recipes like this Ukdiche Modak, I always end up thinking of the way our grandmothers would have made it. Wait a minute, I think of that very often when I make parathas too! Can you imagine your grandmother making her first paratha? The contrast between tradition and evolution is even starker when you step into a ‘mithai’ (sweets) shop and you will find ‘modaks’ in all colours and shapes… but this traditional steamed variety is restricted to people’s homes. You’ll find that these are made in small batches and often just for close family and friends.
Made with rice flour and sweetened with jaggery, this modak is a look into our past – no ‘all-purpose flour’ or processed sugar here. When exactly did things change for us? This being a space dedicated to baking, I’ve often wondered how our usage of flour has evolved over the years.
‘Ukdi’ or the dough made with rice flour, water, ghee and seasoned slightly with a tiny pinch of salt, is a moody little dough to work with. And one that needs to be kneaded while the dough is still hot. I approached this pretty much the same way as one would a choux pastry dough, and used the dough hook attachment of the stand mixer instead of doing this by hand. Can you imagine what your grandmother would have thought of using the stand mixer to knead this? I reckon mine would have been pretty pleased. Chef Vicky Ratnani had once told me about how his grandmother would use the pasta roller attachment for the stand mixer to roll out samosa pattis. Grandmothers can surprise you when you don’t expect them to!
Now for some tips while making Ukdiche Modak –
– Keep some hot water at hand while kneading the dough, it tends to dry out as you knead it.
– The dough is ready to use when it forms a cohesive ball. Pinch-off some of the dough to form a 2-inch round ball. If you’re able to shape this into a ball without it developing cracks, the dough is ready to use!
– Keep the remaining dough covered, it tends to dry out.
– If the remaining dough does dry out, just knead it again with a bit of water and you should be good to go!
Here’s a nifty little guide on how to roll, shape and fill these modaks, remember to grease your hands and the plate these are placed on with ghee.
￼Ukdiche Modak are steamed, gluten free, sweet dumplings that are made on the occasion of Ganesh Utsav or the Ganpati festival in India. Here, you'll find a step by step guide and tips for making these modaks that are made of rice flour and sweetened with jaggery. Of course, I had the luxury of using the stand mixer to knead this hot dough!
To make the filling, heat the ghee in a pan, once it is warm, add the dessicated coconut and light toast it for a few seconds. Add the jaggery and mix through thoroughly. Cook this mixture until the jaggery melts. Once the jaggery has melted, take it off the heat and stir in the cardamom to combine. Set aside to cool.
To make the 'ukdi', heat the water in a heavy bottom pan, once it comes to a boil, add the ghee and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine and turn off the heat. Add the rice flour and use a spatula to quickly combine it. Cover and set aside for 20 minutes.
Grease a plate with ghee and keep some warm water at hand.
Place the dough in the bowl of the stand mixer and use the hook attachment to knead the dough at a low speed. Add warm water by the spoonful and knead it to a consistency where you can tear some off and shape it into a 2-inch round ball without it developing cracks.
Grease your palms with ghee and shape the dough into 2-inch round balls, flatten each round first into a disc, then shape into a cup and fill with about 1.5 tsp of the filling, create pleats with the sides and pinch them to close. (As seen in the pictures). Place on the greased plate.
Steam them for 10 minutes to cook them and then allow to cool before eating.
P.S. Please see the tips mentioned in the post for making these.