20 Aug



A modak is a sweet rice flour dumpling popular in Western and Southern India. It is called modak in Marathi and Konkani as well as Gujarati language, modhaka or kadubu in Kannada, modhaka or kozhakkattai in Tamil, and kudumu in Telugu.

The sweet filling inside a modak is made up of fresh grated coconut and jaggery, while the soft shell is made from rice flour, or wheat flour mixed with khava or maida flour. The dumpling can be fried or steamed. The steamed version, called ukdiche modak, is eaten hot with ghee.


Modaks have a special importance in the worship of the Hindu god Ganesh; modak is believed to be his favorite food, which begets him the moniker modakapriya (the one who likes modak) in Sanskrit. During the Ganesh worship ceremony, known in India as Ganesh Chaturthi the puja always concludes with an offering of twentyone modaks to the deity and as prasad. Modaks made with rice flour shell are preferred for this purpose, however, wheat shell version are also used.- wiki


I remember when we were kids, our Hindu neighbours used to gift us many types of traditional sweets and modak was one of them. Mostly they are freshly  made early morning and offered before the deities as a prasad, after that maybe distributed or eaten. Then we had a new neighbour, they had a grandma whom the kids used to call ammamma(grandmamma) and she become very close to our family. We all used to like her very much and called her ammamma too. On the festivities, like all homes they too made many types of traditional sweets, but before even the puja or offerings , she sneaked a plate full of sweets for our family, freshly made and hot. When ever i visit indian, i make a point to go visit her. One day i became nostalgic about modaks….., and hubby dear bought me a bag of jaggery to make.  Here’s the recipe  – dedicated to fond carefree childhood memories and a sweet ammamma.

adapted from – edible garden

Sweet Modak Recipe
Makes about 12-14

Ingredients for outer layer:

  • 3/4 cup raw rice powder
  • 1 and 1/4 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Ingredients for coconut-jaggery filling (or poornam):

  • 1/4 cup grated coconut (fresh is better, frozen works too)
  • 1/4 cup grated jaggery (see notes)
  • 1 tsp + 1 tsp ghee
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds (optional)
  • 4-5 cardamom pods, crushed



First make the filling or the stuffing. Heat a pan with 1 tsp ghee. Add the grated coconut and the grated jaggery and mix well until it begins to roast a bit and starts to turn a bit drier. It will take about 8-10 mins for it to reach the stage .Add the rosted sesame seeds. Keep mixing now and then and add cardamom powder before removing from fire. Set aside and allow to cool.

 Meanwhile, bring 1 cup water to boil with the 1/4 salt also added in. Once it boils, remove from fire and add the 3/4 cup rice flour in, mixing as you do so. Make sure no lumps are formed and mix well until you get a soft smooth dough (it wont be stretchy though). Start with 1 cup water and keep adding a few drops as you mix until you get the desired consistency. Depending on the type of rice flour and humidity, etc, you will need different amounts of water. Let this mixture cool down a bit until you can handle it. Don’t let it cool completely, or else the rice dough will become dry.


This is the toughest part of making modak. Depending on how this comes out, your modaks can turn hard or soft or crack while they are steamed.  Roll the pooranam into small balls and set aside. With wet hands, take a lime-sized portion of the rice dough, form a ball by greasing your hands with the ghee, and flatten on your palm . Make sure its not too thin. Place the filling in the centre and cover the filling with it as uniformly as you can. It’s the same technique used for aloo paratha. Once covered, make a smooth ball (just using the fingertips of one hand and rolling-rotating).
6. Place on your steamer plate (greased with some ghee if you like)… …and steam for about 10-15 mins until the covering glistens. It will still be sticky to touch but don’t steam for more than 15 minutes or they will harden. Once the modaks are cooked they turn translucent. Serve hot drizzled with pure ghee. 


NOTES – from edible garden

  • -Instead of jaggery, you can also use brown sugar. The flavour will definitely be compromised a bit but the taste will be just fine.
  • The filling or pooranam for vella kozhukkattai can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to a day.
  • When working with the rice dough, make sure you work quickly before the heat leaves the dough. Even if you can’t steam all modaks together, make the balls and keep ready for steaming in the next batch. Don’t let the dough sit as is for too long or else it will dry out.
  • The rice layer can turn hard and rubbery if you keep this for over a day. Re-heating or re-steaming will make it soft again but only for a short while so serve fresh and finish it off as soon as you can! Also, the rice layer consistency can vary depending on the type of rice or rice flour you are using. Experiment a bit to see which brand or method works best for you.


Jaggery (also <a class="mw-redirect" title="Transliterated" href="http


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: