This month's challenge comes as a festival special - Ganesha Chathurthi special. There were 6 recipes chosen and I selected 2 of them to try.
I chose to make Modak from Maharashtra since I have already made the Tamil Nadu version. Just a slight difference between the two. Modaks have poppy seeds added and it gave an interesting flavour.
Modaks from Maharashtra
2 cups freshly grated coconut (can use frozen unsweetened coconut)
1 cup jaggery (grated)
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp cardamom powder
one pinch nutmeg (optional)
2 tbsp water (mom uses milk)
1 cup rice flour
1.25 cup water
pinch of salt
1 tbsp oil
Preparation for Stuffing -
Roast poppy seeds in a small skillet and let it cool down. Grind it coarsely and keep it aside.
In a heavy bottom kadhai mix all the ingredients for stuffing except poppy seed powder and let it sit for 15 min. Now start heating the mixture over medium heat. In about 10-12 minutes, the mixture starts boiling and stuffing will turn yellowish brown and will be sticky. Take the kadhai off the heat, add poppy seeds powder and mix well. Set it aside to cool down.
Preparation for cover -
Take vessel that has tight fitting cover. Start boiling water in that vessel, add salt and oil. When water starts boiling, lower the heat and slowely add rice flour. Please do now dump everything at once. Start mixing vigourously with a heavy spoon. Now close the lid and take the pot off the heat. Let the covered pot cool down for 15 minutes or so. Then with wet hands, mix the dough properly. It will warm so be careful and use cold water to keep your hands from burning but do not use too much water. if you think the dough is little sticky, I will suggest add 1-2 tbsp maida to it and make the dough.
Making Modak (Final Product) -
Start boiling water in a large vessel that can fit a steamer. I use a stainless steel steamer that fits on a pressure cooker and water doesnt touch the steamer and use stainless steel plate to cover it. Oil the steamer and set it aside.
Make about 20 balls of the dough and 20 parts of the stuffing. Start making small puri with the dough ball on a oiled paper/aluminum foil. Keep one part of stuffing in the middle of the puri and gather the puri gently to make shape like modak. You will have to handle the dough very gently. Follow the step to make remaining modaks. Now dip each modak in cold water and put it in the steamer. Put the steamer on boiling water and cover it. Let the modaks steam for 20 minutes on medium to high heat. Take the steamer off the vessel and let it sit for 5 minutes before removing moodakd from steamer.
Traditionally, modaks are served with ghee but it can be served with coconut milk.
Second recipe is sesame ladoo (Nugul untallu) from Andhra.
(Reproduced from Srivalli's blog)
This is traditionally prepared with the black seeds with the skin on. Wash them well and dry them under sun. Dry roast them in a tawa and let them cool. Once they are cool, take about 2 - 3tbsp of grated or powdered jaggery and run in a mixie. The amount of jaggery normally depends on the formation of laddoo. When you make a laddoo, it should stay in shape. Then you know the amount is enough. Also it depends on the fineness of the sesame powder. When you run in mixie, it becomes little oily which will help in holding the laddo shape. For about 100 gms of Sesame seeds, I must've used some 3 tbsp of Jaggery.