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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ukadiche Modak

One cannot think of  'Ganapati' without his favorite Modak. Luckily this year, the festival coincides with a long weekend in the USA..and that means I could make this delicacy for lunch today!! Making ukadiche modak can be intimidating and I admit that everytime I make them, I am not sure whether they are going to come together well.

For the rice flour covering to come out perfectly, you need - good fresh rice flour (if you are lucky the indian store will carry the fresh one), a good recipe and technique and well...a lots of patience :)

Makes 10-12 modak
(I used standard measuring cups and spoons for the measurements)
1 Cup water
1 cup (heaped) Rice Flour
¼ tsp Salt
1tsp ghee

1.5 cup fresh grated/ frozen coconut
3/4 the cup sugar(use less for less sweet filling)
1/4 cup jaggery1tsp poppy seeds 1/2tsp Cardamom powder1/4tsp Nutmeg powder

1) Mix together coconut, sugar,jaggery, cardamom, nutmeg, poppy seeds and cook on low flame till cooked and the filling is translucent and dry.Let it cool.

       Ukadiche Modak Covering
Bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add 1 tsp ghee and salt; add the rice flour and mix. Turn OFF the heat immediately. Keep a cover and let it stand for 10-15 mins to cool
Knead the dough with slightly oiled hand into smooth dough.
Keep it covered in moist cloth.
Keep a large vessel with some water to steam the modak
Take a sieve/ strainer/ shallow vessel and line it with a thin cloth. The modaks will be steamed in this vessel.
Make small rounds with the dough. Press with fingers to make flat rounds. This should be thin and without any cracks
Place 2 tsp Coconut filling in the modak. Mold the dough into ‘modak’ shape. First form as many pleats as possible. Then bring them together by gently pressing and rotating at the same time.

Place these modak into the cloth lined vessel and steam (without any pressure/whistle) for 15-20 mins.

Serve hot along with Ghee!

And look who helped me with her lil' hands!!

Amba Burfi

Living in the USA, has taught me a lot of things....one of them is 'making your own Indian traditional sweets'..which, if I was living in India, I am sure,I would have never ever attempted to make. Pedhas, Burfis, Mawa modaks....you just get those from the Mithai walas....hardly anyone makes those at home. But as you live away from 'Home'...you have to learn to do things..that makes us 'feel at home' in the unfamiliar places. Food is one such thing...it can instantly take you wherever you want to go in just one bite!

So, for Ganesh chaturthi, I made this Amba Burfi with the mango pulp I had on hand.I wouldn't say it is the easiest thing, like the microwave version of making pedhas, but it wasn't too hard and totally worth the efforts!

4.5 to 5 cups milk powder
1 Cup Mango pulp (I used canned mango pulp from the Indian store)
3/4 cup plus 4 tsp sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
12 oz evaporated milk
1/2 tsp cardamon powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
Ghee for greasing the a pan
Chopped nuts for garnishing
Silver 'varkha' for garnishing

A good non stick pan to make the mixture
A flat cookie sheet/ cake pan coated with ghee

1) Mix together the butter, 4 cups milk powder, evaporated milk and cook in a non stick pan on low flame for 15 mins with constant stirring.
2) Add the mango pulp, sugar, cardamon and nutmeg powder mix and keep cooking till the mixture gets thick. another 10-15 mins
3) Add 1/2 to 1 cup milk powder and cook till the mixture really thickens up. Take off the heat and let it cool for 5 mins. Add the 4tsp sugar and mix well.

4) Pour the mixture in the ghee coated pan.Flatten with spatula.Decorate with chopped nuts.Cut into squares.

Let it cool. Keep in the refrigerator for cooling for 1-2 hours.
Take out the burfi gently with a knife.
Cut and store in the refrigerator.