Festival Special - Modak, Panchakhadya for Indian Cooking Challenge

The Indian Cooking Challenge for the August was about Festive cooking. I thought we could take up the challenge of cooking couple of dishes for Vinayaka Chaturti and my dear fellow members were all eager to take up the challenge.

Since this involved more than one dish, the rules were bit relaxed. I had listed out about 6 tried and tested recipes for the members to take up and I am sure they came out with flying colours as they say!

We choose two different ways of making Kolukattai or Modak. After all what better way to please Vinayaka swamy on his birthday.

So for this month's challenge we have 6 recipes

Modak from Maharashtra
Panchakhadya from Maharashtra
Kudumulu/Kolukattai from Andhra/Tamil Nadu
Nugul-untallu ~Sesame Laddoo from Andhra
Boorelu from Andhra
Kudaalu from Andhra
Churma Laddu From Lata

I simply love Kudumulu or Kolukattai and know my mom's version never disappoints me.

The recipes for Kudumulu / Kolukattai, Nugul-untallu ~Sesame Laddoo, Boorelu, Kudaalu recipes for ICC are taken from my Mom.


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Modak and Panchakhadya from Maharashtra given by Mints. And Churma Laddu From Lata.
Panchakhadya - This is a special neivedyam that's offered to Lord Ganesha on Ganesh Chaturti
This best part is you can store this!


Panchakhadya

Ingredients Needed

Grated Dry Coconut / Copra - 1 cup
Sugar - 4-5 tbsp powdered
Poppy seeds - 2 tbsp
Dried Dates - 4-5
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tbsp
Mixed Nuts (almonds,cashews, pistachios) - 4-5 tbsp coarsely powdered
pinch of nutmeg powder (this can be optional if you don't have or this is what I understood!)

Method to prepare
Heat a thick bottom pan/ Kadai and dry roast the grated coconut on low flame till it starts turning golden. This takes about 4 -5 mins, once done set it aside.

Dry roast poppy seeds and grind them coarsely after cooling them for 5 minutes. I normally have a batch of roasted poppy seeds, so used it instead.

Pit the dried dates and grind them coarsely as well.

Mix all these ingredients and nuts powder, cardamom, nutmeg, powdered sugar together and offer to Ganesha as prasad

Poppy seeds are very much used in Andhra Cuisine and on discussing this recipe with my Amma, I came to know that my grand mom used to prepare the same way too! Maybe the influence of Maharashtrain Cuisine in her cooking as my amma has Tamil Nadu influence. So it was a nice change in the taste. Poppy seeds adds great flavour to the steamed modaks.


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Modak from Mints

Ingredients Needed

For the Stuffing -
2 cups freshly grated coconut (she says you can use frozen unsweetened coconut)
1 cup jaggery (grated)
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp cardamom powder
one pinch nutmeg (optional)
2 tbsp water (her mom uses milk, I used water)

For the outer layer or Cover -
1 cup rice flour
1.25 cup water
pinch of salt
1 tbsp oil

Method for preparing the Stuffing

Roast the poppy seeds in a small skillet and let it cool down. Grind it coarsely and keep it aside. If you have roasted poppy seeds, its fantastic no hassles!

In a heavy bottom kadai, take the grated jaggary, add 2 tbsp of water and melt to liquid. Sieve to remove impurities if any.

Then add the liquid back to the kadai and add the grated coconut. Keep stirring so that it does get burnt in the bottom.

In about 5 -7 mins you will see the mixture getting solid, at this stage add the cardamom and nutmug powder if you are using it.

When you see the mixture turning yellowish, more like golden and sticking to the sides, you can turn off the flame add the poppy seeds powder, mix well and set it aside to cool down.


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Method for preparing the outer cover

Take a thick bottomed vessel with a lid. Start boiling water in that vessel, add salt and oil.

When water starts boiling, lower the heat and slowly add rice flour. Please do not dump all the flour at once.

As you add, start mixing vigorously with a ladle. Once all the flour is done, keep mixing well till you see a smooth well mixed mixture.

Now close the lid and take the pot off the heat. Let the covered pot cool down for 15 minutes or so. Then using a ladle, mix the dough properly. If you want to mix with your hands, you can dip your hands in water and quickly mix the dough. But ensure you don't use too much water.

Mints suggests 1-2 tbsp of All purpose flour to be added to get the dough a bit more sticky. But I just went ahead with just rice flour.

Making the Modak

For making the Modak divide the dough into 20 balls and the stuffing into equal size of 20 balls. You can use those Garlic shaped mould or else in your palm you can press them and gather them together as a tear shaped.

I used the modak moulds you get, grease the molds with oil. Then close the mold, stuff one ball into it and press it against the shape evenly making a hold in middle. Then take the suffing, press it into the hold in the middle, close the opening with extra dough and press tightly to ensure its all sealed well. Continue with the rest until you are done with all.

Even in this you may have extra dough in the tip, which after steaming can get hard. So you can remove the excess before steaming. Retain just enough to form the shape.

If you don't have the molds, you can make these easily in your palms. Take one outer ball, gently press in the middle getting it in shape of bowl, with the sides being thinner than the center, fill with stuffing, gather the sides towards the center, seal well and continue making till you are done.

I used my idly cooker to steam the Modak. Grease the plates with oil and place the Modak over it. Just as you do the regular Idli steaming, fill the bottom with water and put it on the stove.

This takes about 15 - 20 mins to get cooked. Take the steamer off the vessel and let it sit for 5 minutes before removing Modak from steamer.

Mints says traditionally, modaks are served with ghee but it can be served with coconut milk.

But we had it as such! Thanks Mints for a lovely recipe!

I didn't have time to make the Churma Laddu, but I am sure Lataji would have made her version!

It was also interesting to note that just as we do, Maharashtrains also offer plain daal, white rice, potato sabji along with modak as naivedya to Ganesha!

I have included Mr. Linky, through which all the links from the members will be included.

ICC members, please link your ICC specific link in the Mr. Linky..and not your blog URL.



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