Paan, pumpkin and pineapple: Modak gets some zany flavours this year


While many devotees will be taking to online darshans and adapting to a more low-key celebration during the ongoing Ganesh Chaturthi in the light of the pandemic, festive dishes will still be packing all the fun and fervour that accompanies them. The highlight of the celebration is the modak, the elephant-headed God’s favourite sweet. Says actress Mugdha Godse, ” I love modaks — the coconut and jaggery varieties are my favourite. Since childhood, they have been a Ganpati treat for us as we used to get them only during these days. It is such a beautiful memory, like having received Bappa’s special prasad.” While this festival is incomplete without the steamed ukadiche modak, there are some unconventional yet delicious varieties available for the adventurous kind — right from orange-pineapple, dark chocolate, pumpkin, tres leche (three milk) flavours to fusion ‘cake modaks’.

Paan Modak


Coconut – 1.5 cup Sugar – ½ cup + milk

Milk powder – ¼ cup

Ghee – 1 tsp

Cardamom – optional

Betel leaves – 3

For Filling

Chopped nuts (as per taste)


Betel leaves



Roast ghee and coconut powder on low flame for five minutes. Blend milk, betel leaves and cardamom powder. After coconut powder is roasted, add the milk and betel mixture, the milk powder and sugar. Switch off the flame after some minutes and let it cool. For the filling, mix the ingredients and fill it into the modak mould. And your paan modak is ready to be served.

Spiced Pumpkin Pie Modak

Ingredients for the filling

Boiled mashed pumpkin – 160 g

Cinnamon powder – 1 tsp

Ginger paste – ½ tsp

Cloves – 4

Nutmeg – a pinch

Cornflour – 1 tsp

Condensed milk – 5 tbsp

Ghee – 1 tsp

Ingredients for the covering

Rice flour – 1 cup

Water – 1.5 cups

Salt – ¼ tsp

Ghee – 1 tbsp


Drain out the water from the boiled pumpkin. Blitz the pumpkin purée with cinnamon powder, ginger paste, cloves, nutmeg, cornflour and condensed milk until smooth. Heat ghee and sauté the purée mixture for three minutes on a slow flame. Switch it off and keep the filling aside.

For the covering, bring the water to a boil, add salt, rice flour and mix it well. Switch off the flame and cover for a few minutes. Spread the dough on a plate and knead with a spatula. When the dough is cold enough to touch, knead the dough while it is still warm. Take a small amount of it, add the filling inside and shape into modaks. Steam for 10

minutes and serve.

Orange and Pineapple Modaks


Milk powder – 1 cup

Milk – ½ cup

Melted ghee – 2 tsp

Desiccated coconut – ½ cup

Powdered sugar – ½ cup

A pinch of orange, yellow food colour

Pineapple and orange essence – ¼ tsp each

Melted ghee – 2 tsp

Modak mould


Heat milk powder, milk and ghee on low flame, stirring constantly. When it becomes a lump in three minutes, cool and add desiccated coconut powder and sugar. Divide in two equal parts — add

yellow food colour and pineapple essence to one portion and mix. Add orange food colour and essence to the other portion and mix. Divide each dough in 15 equal parts. Grease the modak mould with ghee and fill the mix. Press with hands, demould and take out carefully. In this way, prepare all the modaks. Refrigerate for longer shelf life.

Modak Tres Leches Cake


Vanilla sponge cake (6-inch square)

Coconut filling

Grated fresh coconut – 1 cup

Jaggery – ½ cup

Cardamom powder – 1tsp

Nutmeg powder – ¼ tsp


Cook grated coconut and jaggery in a pan on medium flame till the jaggery is melted. Add cardamom and nutmeg powder. Prepare kesar elaichi milk to soak the cake layers as well as pour on top while serving the delicacy.

For garnish

Whipping cream – 1 Cup (Whip until stiff peaks)

Rose petals

Kesar strands

Gold leaf

Chopped Nuts (Optional)


Assemble the cake tray. Cut the vanilla sponge cake horizontally into two equal portions. Lightly soak the first layer in kesar elaichi milk, spread whipped cream on it and add coconut filling on top. Put the remaining cake on top of it and drizzle with kesar elaichi milk. Pipe some whipped cream using an open star nozzle. Garnish with kesar strands, rose petals, gold leaf and chopped nuts. Chill for an hour and cut it into nine equal pieces. Serve each piece of cake with some kesar elaichi milk poured over it.

Cookie Modak
For the filling

Make the coconut filling just like the ones used for modaks

For the cookie

Ghee/butter – 4 tbsp

Jaggery – 6 tbsp jaggery powder

Cardamom powder – 1 tsp

Modak – ¼ cup modak flour (basmati rice flour)

Whole wheat flour – ½ cup

Milk – few tbsps, if needed

Salt – a pinch


Whisk and cream the ghee and jaggery powder. Add cardamom powder, whisk them. Add the flours and salt and do a final whisk. Don’t knead the mix, but gently fold it. The consistency should be like chapati dough. Add a little milk to make it pliable. Take a little dough and add coconut filling to the centre. Shake into a modak, place on a lined tray and bake at 180-degrees for 15 minutes or until they are browned a little.

Vermicelli Modak

Vermicelli / seviyan – 1 cup

Condensed milk – 3 tbsp

Raisins – 2 tbsp

Almonds – 2 tbsp

Pistachio – 2 tbsp

Cashew – 2 tbsp

Desiccated coconut – 2 tbsp

Cardamom powder – ¼ tsp

Ghee – 2 tsp + extra for greasing


Grease the modak moulds with ghee. Finely chop almonds, pistachios, cashews and raisins. In a pan, dry roast the desiccated coconut till lightly browned and keep aside. Heat ½ tsp ghee in the same pan, add all the chopped dry fruits together and fry till lightly browned. Transfer all fried dry fruits to the large bowl, mix with coconut and keep aside to cool. Add 1 ½ tsp ghee to another pan and roast the vermicelli. Switch off the flame, add condensed milk and mix it well quickly. Take a modak mould and lock it gently. Put 1-2 tbsp of vermicelli mixture in it. Create a cavity in the centre, add 1 tsp of the dry fruit mixture and cover with a little vermicelli mixture on top. Press gently to have an even layer. Now open or unlock the mould. Remove. Do this for the rest of the modaks and store in an air-tight container.

Granola Modak



Granola mix – 1 cup

Dates – ½ cup

Peanut butter – ½ cup

Chopped almonds – ½ cup

Chopped dry cranberries and blueberries – ½ cup

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