What you will need
For the dough
- 2 ½ cups water
- 2 cups rice flour
- 1 teaspoon white butter and a pinch of salt (if you use salted butter you will not need the salt)
- 3-4 cups of freshly grated coconut
- Grated jaggery to taste
- Powdered cardamom for flavour
- Few chopped almonds
- Strands of saffron for garnishing
In a Kadhai, heat a little ghee. Add the coconut and jaggery and let it cook for a few minutes. Add the cardamom and chopped almonds and keep aside.
Boil water with the butter and salt in a greased stainless saucepan. Switch off the flame and quickly add the rice flour and stir it into the water with the back of a long spatula (its easier and gets done fast). Thjis has to be done fast as you need the steam for the flour to properly cook. Cover with a heavy lid for about 15 minutes.
Uncover and empty the doubt into a thali and knead for about 10 minutes dipping the fingers in water from time to time (as the mixture is steaming hot). Once you get a well kneaded ball of dough divide it into 16-20 small balls applying water on your palms. Take a ball and flatten it with your fingers or on your palms, to a round disc or a shallow bowl shape to a medium thickness. Place a few teaspoons of the stuffing in the centre. Gently pleat the edges and gradually bring them together. Shape and taper the top of the modak. (Here lies all the skill and magic).
Add strands of saffron on the top, steam them and serve them hot with ghee.
One can also make these using a mould, but I love the hand made ones - each one looks slightly different and unique. Just like my ceramicware.