This year due to the pandemic Covid-19, the scene could be a little different. But this should not affect the spirit of Ganesh Chaturthi.
Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayak Chaturthi is round the corner. It's a 10-day long festival which is celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Ganesh, the god of prosperity and wisdom. Though it is celebrated all over the country, it is particularly celebrated in the states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andra Pradesh, and the coastal regions of Konkan of India.
Normally, during these 10 days, the sweet shops are crowded as the sweets are made in larger quantities on special orders, this year due to the pandemic Covid-19, the scene could be a little different. But this should not affect the spirit of Ganesh Chaturthi.
Sweets like modak, motichoor Laddoo, Puran Poli, etc are made to be offered to God and later distributed among friends and family as prasad. According to Hindu mythology, out of all the sweets, modak is believed to be Lord Ganesha's favorite. It is because of this reason that Ganesha is also named as Modakpriya (lover of modak).
There are also many mythological stories which are associated with modak and Lord Ganesha. One of them goes like this. Once Shiva and his wife Goddess Parvati were visited by demi-gods. These demi-gods presented Goddess Parvati with a sweet which they said was unique and divine, it was the modak.
While giving it they mentioned that it was unique because it could bestow the person eating it, with incredible knowledge of scriptures, art, and writing. Hearing this Goddess Parvati decided that she'd give this divine sweet to her sons Kartik and Ganesha. She knew that neither of them would be ready to share, so she thought of testing her sons. She wanted to know how much they understood about devotion and sincerity.
To relish the modak Kartik within no time, detoured to explore as many spiritual places he could. Ganesha being the cleverer one, went round his parents Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati to showcase what according to him was sincerity and devotion. This pleased Shiva and Goddess Parvati and hence gave the modak to Ganesha.
What is Modak?
Modak is an Indian sweet popularly made in Maharashtra and parts of the Konkan regions of India. The sweet filling of modak is a mixture of freshly grated coconut and jaggery while the outer shell or covering is made from rice flour or wheat flour. They can either be steamed or fried. Traditionally modak is made using these ingredients but as the time is progressing, so are the people of India. We are getting experimentative with cooking, amalgamating various ingredients to make things fancier, modak is not left behind, these days they are being made with dry fruits, channa dal, Rava, and also chocolate. Sharing with you the traditional rice flour modak recipe and dark chocolate modak recipe
Rice flour Modak
2 cups freshly grated coconut
2 cup jaggery
15 - 20 kishmish(raisins)
10-12 cashew nuts(chopped)
4 - 5 green cardamom
1 cup of rice flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons ghee (1 tablespoon for making the filling and the other for making the dough)
1.) In a frying pan heat the ghee
2)To the ghee add the crushed cardamom and the grated coconut.
3)Roast the coconut till it turns orange in color.
4)Now mix the jaggery with the coconut, also mix the raisins and the cashew nuts along with this. Turn off the flame and keep this aside.
For the shell:
1)In a pan heat the water till its lukewarm.
2)To this add, the salt and ghee, stir this, and let it cook on a low flame for 2 - 3 mins.
3)Now to this add the flour and keep stirring it continuously so that no lumps are formed. Cover it for a minute.
4) After a minute, transfer this mixture in a bowl and kneed it before it turns cold.
5)After kneading the flour, make small lemon sized balls and flatten them on your palms and put a tablespoon of the coconut and jaggery mixture in the center.
6)Fold the corners and bring them together to the center as you'd do while making momos.
7)Steam this modak in a steamer for 20 - 25 mins.
8)Serve this modak with ghee.
1)Always apply ghee on your palm to avoid the dough from sticking while making modak.
2)Grease the Steamer before placing the modak to steam so that they don't stick and can be easily removed.
Chocolate Modak Recipe:
1 cup mawa(Khoya)
1/3 cup chocolate chips( of your choice)
2 tablespoons sugar or according to the sweetness that you like
ghee for greasing the mold
3 to 4 pistachios - shavings(optional)
1)Heat a Kadai on a low flame.
2)To this add the mawa, keep stirring it continuously
3)The mawa will start melting
4)Now to this add the sugar and stir it well again for a minute
5)After the sugar has melted add the chocolate chips. Keep mixing this continuously.
6)The chocolate will start melting immediately and the mixture will start thickening too.
7)Continue stirring this till the mixture starts leaving the sides.
8)Now turn off the flame and immediately transfer the mixture in a bowl.
9)Allow the mixture to cool
10)After the mixture has cooled down start making small balls.
11)Place each ball in a greased modak mold to give it a shape.
12)Gently unmould every time you place the ball.
13)After you have made all the modaks garnish them with pista shavings.
Tip: In case you don't have modak mold then you can slightly press the ball to get a flat base, give it a conical shape, and with the help of a knife or a spoon make strokes.
Make modaks to please Lord Ganesha and so that he comes back to your home year after year. Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!!
In Japan, a sweet similar to modak and known locally as Kangidan is offered to god Kangiten, the Japanese version of Lord Ganesha. Kangidans are made from curds, honey, and red bean paste. They are wrapped in kneaded dough made from parched flour and shaped like a bun before they are deep-fried.
-- Sapna Chaudhary/Lucknow