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Fried Modak Recipe
Fried Modak are sweet dumplings made during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in India. These crunchy and delicious sweets are made with flour and stuffed with a filling made of jaggery, coconut, and cardamom powder.
To make the filling:
Heat a pan on medium flame & dry roast the coconut for 5 mins to dry out the moisture if any. I've used frozen, thawed coconut. Fresh coconut can be used too.
Add the grated jaggery, mix till it's melted and well combined with the coconut.
Stir in the cardamom powder, saffron and cashew pieces (optional).
Keep stirring continuously (approximately 2 mins) until the mixture is almost dry. Don't overcook the jaggery coconut filling else it will turn hard. Turn off the heat and keep aside.
Allow this coconut jaggery mixture (also known as saran) to cool completely before filling.
To make the covering:
Take the wheat flour, all-purpose flour, and salt into a bowl. Mix well. To this add hot ghee and mix well with a spoon. The mixture will be crumbly and soft.
Using water as required (used approximately ¼ cup) knead into a smooth but tight dough. A soft dough will absorb more oil while frying.
Sprinkle some oil & knead the dough again. Coat it with little oil and cover with a cloth or plastic wrap & allow to rest for 15 mins.
Once the dough has rested, knead it one more time and divide it into equal portions. I divided the dough into 22 balls for making 21 small (bite-size) modaks and 1 karanji.
Keep the dough balls covered with a wet cloth to prevent them from drying.
To make Modak
Divide the filling into same portion as balls (i.e. 22).
Using a rolling pin, roll into a paper-thin circle (the thinner the better). Approximately 3-inch circle.
Take 1 portion of the filling & place it in the center of the circle. Apply a very little layer of water around the edges.
Pull all the pinched edges together into a peak. Pinch off the excess dough and seal firmly.
Line a dish or tray with parchment paper & keep this modak on it to prevent the bottom of the modak from sticking.
Keep them covered with a wet cloth at all times to prevent them from drying. Continue making the remaining modak in a similar manner.
Optional - Make a karanji out of the last ball. Roll into a circle, add the filling, and close to make a semi-circle. Seal the edges either using a fork or using the pinch and tuck method.
Traditionally these modak are deep fried. But you can bake or even air fry these.
To Deep Fry the Modak:
Once you are done making all the Modak, heat oil on medium-high heat for deep frying.
When the oil sufficiently hot, turn the heat down to medium. Test by dropping a small dough ball into the oil. It should sizzle back to the top and turn golden which means our oil is ready.
Add the 4-5 modak to the oil (or as many as your pan can hold without overcrowding). Keep stirring gently to help them brown evenly.
Once they turn golden remove & drain on absorbent paper. Continue frying all the remaining modaks.
To Bake modak :
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Spray some cooking oil onto the modak and line them in a single layer.
Bake for 20-30 mins or until golden brown. For that perfectly golden modak, crank up the oven to 425 after 20 mins and bake the modak till golden about 5-7 mins.
- Modak covering can be made with all-purpose flour, wheat flour, or a combination of both.
- Whole wheat flour covering will be denser and darker when fried compared to all-purpose flour
- I find a 1:2 ratio of whole wheat to all-purpose flour yields great results.
- Add hot ghee to the flour while mixing, it makes the covering nice, flaky and crispy.
- Knead the dough stiff to prevent the modaks from soaking too much oil while frying.
- Roll the dough really thin especially sides, like paper and not too thick or else the crust will be hard.
- Fresh, frozen, or desiccated coconut can be used for filling.
- If using desiccated coconut add 1-2 tablespoon of water to bring in the moisture.
- Don't overcook the jaggery coconut filling else it will turn hard.
- Depending on the color of jaggery, the color of saran (filling) will vary. Dark jaggery will result in dark saran.
- Adding some nuts to the filling is optional but highly recommend as it adds to the crunch.
- Seal the modaks well. Even a small opening can drain the filling while frying.
- Bake or air fry modak if you are conscious of deep-frying them.