Beyond the Classic: Relish the Delectable Assortment of Modaks this Ganesh Chaturthi
From fusion versions combining traditional ingredients and contemporary flavours to artisanal affairs, feast on modern modaks this Ganesh Chaturthi
In Sanskrit, ‘moda’ means bliss. It’s only fitting then that modak, the name of a sweet dear to Lord Ganesha and central to Ganesh Chaturthi, is derived from it. Originating in Maharashtra, it is handcrafted using rice flour dough and filled with sweetened coconut and jaggery. Over the years, the unassuming festive dumpling has come to be adopted across the country. Chefs have also reinvented it for more modern flavours. We take a look at some innovative versions available around India.
“I’ve given the modak a twist in terms of taste, look and colour,” says Kush Koli, head chef at SAGA, Gurugram, about his paan gulkand modak. There’s also avocado malai-stuffed cranberry modak by chef Nishant Choubey of Sattvik, Delhi — avocado, cream cheese and walnuts come together inside an outer covering made by cooking mawa in cranberry juice and coconut milk. “It’s a cohesive blend of flavours and colours. Cranberry gives it a vibrant visual appeal along with a fruity tang, while Hass avocado adds creaminess,” says Choubey.
Other intriguing versions include mango chilli modaks, vanilla and matcha modaks and dates and orange modaks. “Flavour fusions such as mango and chilli or pistachio and cranberry both delight the senses and blend tradition and innovation,” explains Altamsh Patel, executive chef, Hilton Mumbai International Airport.
What happens when modak meets other classic mithai flavours? One way to find out is by checking out the motichoor modak, a creative fusion of the motichoor laddoo and the traditional modak — one of many such combinations available at Khandani Rajdhani. In a subtler take, Anand Sweets in Bengaluru, offers modaks with distinctly complementary flavours and notes, such as with the kaju modak that’s a nutty affair or the tropical pink coconut modak that boasts a generous helping of gulkand.
A Healthy Blend
If you’re one for indulging with discretion this Ganeshotsav, consider trying the edamame and sweet potato modak by chef Kshitiz Shekhar of Culinary, The Bayview Hotel Marine Plaza, Mumbai. While sweet potatoes are known to contain complex carbs, high fibre and antioxidants, “edamame is rich in vitamins, minerals and protein. It’s a very good option for those who are inclined towards healthy options”, shares chef Shekhar.
In a similar attempt, Ashish Singh, corporate chef at Dhansoo Cafe, Gurugram, has created the peanut and jam modak. He says: “Peanuts are nutritious and have a unique aftertaste. Filling them with jam adds an interesting twist, as flavoured jams are loved by people of all ages. One bite of this modak results in a burst of flavours.”