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Exotic Modak recipes you didn’t know about

Modak is traditionally a dumpling filled with coconut and jaggery, with rice flour used to make the dumpling wrapper. The delicious treat is claimed to have originated in Maharashtra and is said to be offered to the Hindu deity, Ganesha, during the Ganesh Chaturthi Festival. However, as time has passed and more cultural interaction has occurred, Modak has evolved with many fillings which you can prepare anytime for any occasion.

Check out some of the hippest and most distinctive Modak that Chef Ishijyot Surri has revealed below:

Dubai Grainy Modak

Creating Modaks inspired by the sands of Dubai with a unique presence can be a creative and exotic twist. Here’s a recipe to make these special Modaks:

Ingredients

For the Outer Shell:

1 cup Semolina (Sooji)

1/4 cup Ghee (clarified butter)

A pinch of Saffron threads

1/4 cup Warm milk

A pinch of Salt

For the Filling:

1/2 cup Dates (pitted and chopped)

1/4 cup Chopped Dried Figs

1/4 cup Chopped Pistachios

1/4 cup Chopped Almonds

1/4 teaspoon cardamom Powder

2 tablespoons Honey (for binding)

For Garnish(optional):

Edible gold/

silver leaf

Method

Prepare the Outer Shell:

Heat the ghee in a pan over medium heat.

Add the Semolina and roast it until it turns golden brown and aromatic.

 While roasting, add the saffron threads to enhance the colour and aroma.

Once roasted, remove from heat and let it cool slightly.

In a separate bowl, mix the warm milk with a pinch of salt.

Gradually add the milk mixture to the roasted semolina to form a dough. Knead it well. Cover and set aside.

Prepare the Filling:

In a food processor, combine the chopped Dates, Dried Figs, Pistachios, Almonds, and Cardamom powder.

Process until the mixture forms a sticky paste. Add honey to the paste and mix well to bind the filling.

Assemble:

Take a small portion of the semolina dough and flatten it in your palm.

Place a spoonful of the date and nut filling in the centre.

Carefully shape it into a Modak, giving it a unique presence inspired by the sands of Dubai.

Bake the Modak at 150 C for 15-20 minutes. You can fry in oil.

Garnish (Optional):

Decorate the Modaks with edible gold or silver leaf to add a touch of luxury and elegance.

Serve:

Arrange your Dubai-inspired Modaks on a serving platter.

Offer them a unique and exotic dessert with a Middle Eastern flair.

These Modaks combine the richness of Middle Eastern flavours, including dates, figs, and saffron, with the traditional Modak shape to create a dessert with a unique presence inspired by the sands of Dubai.

Japanese Sushi Modak

Creating sushi-shaped Modaks with kidney beans, sugar, and Japanese-inspired flavours is a creative twist on traditional Modak. Here’s a recipe to make these unique treats:

Ingredients

For the Outer “Sushi” Layer:

1 cup Glutinous Rice (Sushi Rice)

2 cups Water

2 tablespoons Rice Vinegar

1 tablespoon Sugar

A pinch of Salt

Nori sheets (seaweed sheets)

For the Filling:

1 cup Cooked Kidney Beans (Rajma)

1/2 cup Sugar (adjust to taste)

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract

Japanese-inspired flavours like matcha powder, yuzu zest, or black sesame seeds for colouring and flavour

Method

Prepare the “Sushi” Rice Layer:

Rinse the sushi rice under cold water until the water runs clear.

In a rice cooker or a heavy-bottomed pot, combine the rinsed rice and 2 cups of water.

Cook the rice according to the package instructions until it’s tender and sticky.

In a small saucepan, heat the rice vinegar, sugar, and a pinch of salt until the sugar dissolves.

Once the rice is cooked, transfer it to a large bowl and drizzle the vinegar mixture over it. Gently fold and mix the rice to coat it with the seasoning. Let it cool.

Prepare the Sweet Kidney Bean Filling:

In a blender or food processor, combine the cooked kidney beans, sugar, and vanilla extract.

Blend until you have a smooth and sweet kidney bean paste.

Divide the paste into portions and flavour each portion with Japanese-inspired ingredients like matcha powder, yuzu zest, or black sesame seeds for different colours and flavours.

Assemble the Sushi-Shaped Modaks:

Take a sheet of nori (seaweed) and cut it into small strips to resemble the seaweed used in sushi.

Take a small portion of the sushi rice and flatten it in the palm of your hand.

Place a portion of the flavoured sweet kidney bean paste in the centre.

Fold the rice over the filling to form a rectangular or square shape, resembling a piece of sushi.

Wrap the nori strip around the outside of the rice, securing it in place.

Serve:

Arrange your sushi-shaped Modaks on a serving platter.

Offer them a unique and Japanese-inspired twist on traditional Modaks.

These sushi-shaped Modaks combine the flavours and aesthetics of Japanese cuisine with the sweetness of kidney beans and sugar, making them a delightful fusion treat for special occasions.

Assamese Tea Modak

Tea-infused steamed Modaks can add a unique twist to this traditional treat. Here’s a recipe to make tea-infused steamed Modaks:

Ingredients

For the Outer Shell:

1 cup Rice Flour

1 cup Water

A pinch of Salt

1-2 teaspoons of Tea leaves (your choice of black, green, or herbal tea leaves)

For the Filling:

1 cup Grated Coconut (fresh or desiccated)

1/2 cup Jaggery (grated or chopped)

1/2 teaspoon Cardamom Powder

Method

Prepare the Tea-Infused Water:

In a saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil.

Add 1-2 teaspoons of tea leaves (based on your preference) and let it steep for a few minutes.

Strain the tea to remove the leaves and set aside the infused water.

Prepare the Outer Shell:

In a separate saucepan, heat the tea-infused water with a pinch of salt.

Once the water is boiling, gradually add the rice flour while continuously stirring.

Reduce the heat to low and continue to stir until the mixture comes together and forms a smooth dough. This will take a few minutes.

Remove from heat and allow the dough to cool slightly.

Prepare the Filling:

In a separate pan, melt the jaggery over low heat until it becomes a syrup.

Add the grated coconut and cardamom powder to the jaggery syrup.

Cook for a few minutes until the mixture thickens and the ingredients are well combined. Remove from heat.

Assemble:

Take a small portion of the tea-infused rice dough and flatten it in your palm.

Place a spoonful of the jaggery-coconut filling in the centre.

Carefully seal the edges and shape them into a Modak. You can use a Modak mould for this if you have one.

Steam:

Place the tea-infused steamed Modaks in a steamer and steam for about 10-15 minutes or until the outer shell becomes firm and translucent.

Serve:

Let the Modaks cool for a few minutes.

Enjoy your unique tea-infused steamed Modaks as a delightful treat.

These Modaks offer have a subtle tea flavour infused into the outer shell, creating a fusion of tea and traditional Modak flavours

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