Ganesh Chaturthi is around the corner and it’s that time of the year when Bappa’s favourite modaks are either prepared at home or purchased from a mithai shop and offered as bhog. However, with the rise in health consciousness and all the time at hand due to the current Covid-19 situation, many devotees might want to make their modaks at home rather than opting for the boxed version. We dish out some quick tips for DIY, healthy and flavourful modaks
While spending more time in the kitchen has become the new normal during the pandemic, many home chefs and food enthusiasts are likely to try their hand at homemade modaks this year. This will also allow them to experiment with new flavours in modaks. “There is a likelihood of people making modaks at home this year. This is not only due to the pandemic situation but also because we are cooking a lot more than we ever have. Cooking has come to be a new activity that everyone was forced to do in the initial phase. Gradually, a lot of people realised that they enjoyed cooking and got aspirational. Modak making is just the sort of skill-based aspirational activity that many will take to, like the sourdough,” says food historian Rushina Munshaw-Ghildiyal.
This year, chefs and culinary experts have tapped into the concept of DIY modak kits, which come with pre-portioned ingredients. “Ganpati has forever been the only festival actually celebrated properly in my house. And one of the strongest memories is of everyone coming together (mostly the women and all the children, girls and boys) to make modaks when my grandaunt Akka aaji was alive. She supervised every aspect of modak making – the dough recipe, measurement, kneading, shaping, filling – with her eagle eye. The daughter-in-laws would prove their worth by not using the moulds and shaping each modak by hand while we kids were given heavy duty moulds to shape our modaks. This sweet childhood memory led to the idea of curating DIY modak kits,” says Chef Chinu Vaze who has put together DIY modak kits with a ready dough, fun fillings and dipping sauces.
Celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar has always emphasised on consuming traditional ukadiche modak because of their health benefits. Diwekar believes that Ukadiche modak helps control diabetes, thyroid, blood pressure, arthritis, PCOD among other ailments. “There is nothing more nutritious than the traditional steamed Ukdiche modak. Rice flour is first cooked by the ukad method and then stuffed with a filling of fresh coconut and jaggery, and then steamed. Ukadiche modak are eaten with a dollop of ghee. They include locally and easily available ingredients that are high energy foods and involve healthy cooking methods,” says Ghildiyal. Traditionally, modaks have always been made using jaggery. However, the latest versions like paan modaks, chocolate modaks, mango modaks etc available in the stores do consist of sugar. “Consider eating a few traditionally made modaks, over artificially sweetened options,” adds Ghildiyal.
1. Make them at home rather than buying your modaks from mithai stores.
2. If you aren’t opting for traditional modaks, you can play with a range of fruit fillings like apple, pineapple etc
3. If your fusion modak recipe requires sugar, consider swapping it with dates, date syrup, jaggery, stevia or honey. Consider the consistency and add other ingredients accordingly.
4. Pick your modak flour wisely. Here are the options ranging from “most healthy” to “least healthy” – wheat, rice flour, maida.
5. If you want your filling to be more modern or experimental, pick dark chocolate or cocoa powder. Both the options are healthy and will add an exotic flavour to your modaks. Also, paan modaks with gulkand act as a good digestive.
6. Your style of cooking can make a huge difference to the health quotient of your modak. Steamed is the best way to go.
7. Make modaks in a smaller batch if you are watching your weight.