Festivals and festival food are two things that can light up any heart. Luckily, Indians get to celebrate one festival after another all year round and gorge on delicacies that hold special significance with each one of them. Offered to God as ‘bhog’, these dishes are prepared with much love and devotion. Ukdiche modak is one such bhog which is offered to Lord Ganesha. It is one of the best sweet dishes I’ve ever tasted! 🙂
Ukdiche modak is said to be Lord Ganesha’s favourite dish. It is a Maharashtrian recipe and is the main bhog and prasad offered on Ganesh Chaturthi. They’re sweet rice flour dumplings stuffed with a lovely coconut and jaggery mixture. Traditionally they’re steamed on a bed of banana leaves which gives them a beautiful aroma and flavour. They taste best when they’re warm with a spoonful of ghee poured over a delicate crack made on the outer covering. Their simplicity is their specialty.
My family loved modaks, but not these. My Aunt made fried flour modaks and sent a batch for us every year for bhog. Mom made khirapat at home which was a desiccated coconut mixture with sugar and dry fruits. There were khoya modaks sourced from the market in many different flavours too. We kids salivated restlessly and rushed through the rituals to get our hands on all these goodies. Ukdiche modak, with all their fame and glory, made an appearance in my life quite late. When they did though, they sure stayed on. 🙂
If you remember I shared about my gatte ki sabzi episode at my friend’s place. She’s a Maharashtrian and as luck would have it I stayed at their place during the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations. Lord Ganesha came to their place for one and a half days and during this time family and friends flooded their home to seek his blessings. I felt quite out of place not knowing anyone and it was rude of me to leave too. Tricky really, so I silently prayed.
Aunty could use extra helping hands in the kitchen and I was more than happy to be of service. She had everything under control, only ukdiche modak (naivaidya in Marathi) were remaining. Even though it was my first time I cheerfully offered to make a few for Bappa. Aunty had not forgotten the earlier fiasco but since this didn’t involve cooking or blowing up smoke she uncertainly gave me the rice dough and coconut mixture.
While others, even my friend, piled up their perfectly shaped modaks together, I struggled with my first one. The coconut mixture had soon left its brown colour on the dough and it turned somewhat white-brown. How? Well, I used and reused the same dough since my modak managed to look like a laddoo every time. 🙁 It was bhog and I couldn’t discard it, right? Everyone had a hearty laugh at my expense. After some ten-twelve failed attempts I embarrassingly requested Aunty to steam my disfigured modak and serve it to me. 🙁
Despite all my love to learn and experiment, I never tried my hand at it again. I have friends who know of my liking and send a couple of them over for me. They can be made anytime but somehow they taste exceptional only when Bappa visits. Spirituality and its effect on our lives cannot be explained every time, can it? 🙂
Have you tried ukdiche modak? Would like to know the special bhog recipes you make. Do share, please.
This post is written for #BlogchatterA2Z and #AtoZChallenge for April 2019