Friday, May 11, 2012

A Westerner Finds out about Ukdiche Modak

At 3:08 PM today as I searched to discover if I had spelled Mahrathi lentil soup correct and arguing with Saroj that it was spelled uhmti instead of ahmti I came acoss and Indian dish on Wikipedia under Maharastran cuisine.  You must understand if you are a westerner reading this that Mahrathi is written in Sandscrit which is a character language that does not transale into The Englsh alphabet so there are always variations of how words are spelled phonetically.

So while searching I discovered on Wikipedia  ukdiche Modak and asked Saroj what it was.  She said, “My God, how did you find out about this?” and she just laughed. I was worried that I had messedup the pronunciation and just described some unmentionable bodily function in public.  Instead Saroj patiently explained to me the purpose of  ukdiche Modak and the delicate process of making it for holdays of Ganesha. 

A modak (Devanagari:मोदक,Modaka) is a sweet dumpling popular in Western and South India. It is called "modak" in Marathi and Konkani, "modhaka" or "kadubu" in Kannada, "modhaka" or "kozhakkattai" in Tamil, and "kudumu" in Telugu. The sweet filling is made of fresh coconut andjaggery while the shell is of rice flour. The dumpling can be fried or steamed. The steamed version is eaten hot with ghee. Modak has a special importance in the worship of the Hindu god Ganesh. Modak is believed to be his favorite food and thus is also known as modakapriya. During the Ganesh worship ceremony, known in India as Ganesh Chaturthi the puja sometimes concludes with an offering of modaks to the deity and as prasad.

According to Saroj,  Ganesha and Saroj’s father, Hanmantherao, had something in common they were both modakapriya.  Saroj explained to me that while I was a sweet eater, they are modak eaters.  Somehow putting Mahrathi and English together in her inimitable way always comes out humorous.

But the process of making  ukdiche Modak for modakapriya.  Saroj explained that everything has to be measured precisely and you can't "fool around."  So you measure salt and rice flour and add rice flour after the water boils.  But turn off the gas before adding the flour.  Then you mix coconut and jaggery (Indian brown sugar)poppyseed, crushed almond powder and cook all in milk  then after dough cools,  make a peaked pastry type shape stuffed with the mixture.  Watch for Saroj on Healthy Indian cooking channel when she makes ukdiche Modak.