Modak are small dumplings which are usually stuffed with sweet coconut and dry fruit fillings. Traditionally, Maharashtrians make Ukadiche Modak – steamed rice flour dumplings stuffed with fresh scrapped coconut, jaggery and nuts – and Talaniche Modak, a deep fried, crispy sweet preparation. But if you want to try out something new this year then we would recommend this Chhena (Paneer) Modak recipe by Poonam Bachhav, recipe developer, food photographer, food stylist at My Little Moppet. Chhena/Paneer gives it a nice creamy and grainy texture and before you know it, you will be licking your fingers.
You can use moulds to give shape to the modaks but if you do not have one, you can just roll out a ball and flatten it slightly. Either way it’s good.
Cooking Time: 15-20 mins (excluding the time to make Chhena)
Serves: Approx 20 small size Modaks
200 g – Chhena
1 cup – Full cream milk (boiled)
100 g – Milk powder
½ cup – Sugar
1 tbsp.- Ghee
½ tsp – Cardamom powder
* To make chhena at home, heat 1 litre full cream milk in a wok. Keep stirring the milk so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
* Once the milk comes to a boil, put off the flame. Add 2-3 tbsp of Vinegar or lemon juice to the milk and stir.
* The milk will curdle and you will be able to see greenish yellow whey which separates. Add few ice cubes to the mixture, to arrest the coagulation process.
* Strain the whey and collect the chhena in a muslin cloth.
* Gather the kitchen towel from the sides and rinse the chhena well in running water to remove the after taste of vinegar or lemon juice. Squeeze out all the whey from the muslin cloth and keep it under some weight for 10 mins. (Note: 1 litre full cream milk yields me 200 g Chhena. Crumble it and keep aside until use.
* In a non stick heavy bottom wok take 1 tbsp ghee, 100 g milk powder, crumbled paneer, 1 cup full cream milk and 1/2 cup sugar. Heat it on a medium flame .
* Cook the mixture while continuously stirring on a low to medium flame until all the moisture evaporates and the mixture is thick and doesn’t stick to the pan anymore. This will roughly take 10 -12 mins.
* Add the cardamom powder to the peda mixture and put off the flame.
* Once the dough has cooled down enough to handle, pinch out a large gooseberry shape ball and push it from the bottom hole of a greased modak mould. Press the mould and open it. You can see lovely impressions on the modak. Repeat the same process with rest of the dough.
* The above quantity yields approx 21 Modaks. Offer them to lord Ganesha and later enjoy it as prasad with your loved ones.