Ukadiche Modak is a Maharashtrian delicacy made with steamed rice flour and a sweet coconut filling laced with nutmeg, cardamom and saffron. I am excited to share my detailed recipe with all the tips and tricks to help you make modak like a pro!
What are Modak
Modak are sweet treats that are popular in Western India, especially Maharashtra where I grew up. They are made during the 10-day Ganesha festival and offered to Lord Ganesha. Modak are either steamed or fried and have an outer dough covering with a sweet aromatic filling inside.
What are Ukadiche Modak
“Ukadiche” literally means steamed. Ukadiche Modak are similar to dumplings, with an outer layer of steamed rice flour dough and a sweet filling of fresh coconut and jaggery. After shaping and filling the dumplings they are then steamed which gives them soft melt in the mouth texture.
My mom makes the BEST Ukadiche Modak. I grew up eating them every year during the 10 day Ganapati festival and also almost every month as my dad brought home fresh coconuts from the farm.
My Mom is well-known amongst friends and family for her scrumptious Modak. Her signature Tri Color Modak are made by shaping the outer covering with colored dough. She is always whipping up batches of Modak to share and also makes them when she gets special requests.
UPDATE: Please check the instructions and video for steaming modak in Instant Pot
When I first started to cook, I never thought I would attempt to make Modak as the process seemed a bit tedious. Then, I came across an article in an Indian newspaper that was all about foods to prepare during the Ganesha festival. The article with over a dozen tips on how to make perfect modak gave me many good ideas that I became confident in making them.
During my trip to India, I also got a chance to fine tune my Modak making skills with expert tips from my cousin, Prajakta. Look at these gorgeous tri-color handmade modak, she makes!
Prajakta’s tips to make soft covering/shell
- Use fine rice flour. Recently I found “Sohum” brand rice flour in Indian grocery stores in NJ that works really well.
- Add enough water when steaming the dough, 1:1 water to flour ratio
- Allow the steamed dough to cool down
- At first, the dough may seem a little dry and coarse. Knead it well with couple of tablespoons of warm water and a little bit of ghee. This will make the dough perfectly soft and pliable for making modak shells.
- Take your time to assemble the modak, the dough does not have to be hot, simply keep it covered under a moist paper towel
Tips for making perfect modak filling
- If using frozen pre-shredded coconut, dry roast the coconut on medium heat for 5 minutes. This will allow the excess moisture to evaporate and the filling will not release water when the modak are steamed.
- I would recommend to grate the jaggery or break into very small pieces. There should be no lumps of jaggery in the filling.
- Cook the filling for 5 to 7 minutes on low-medium heat or until the mixture starts to look dry. This will prevent the jaggery syrup from ozzing out of the modak while steaming.
Where to buy modak mold/mould
I bought my modak mold from India. Around August – Sepetmber many Indian grocery stores in the US also sell modak molds. Modak molds are also available on amazon.
How to make modak without the mold
Do not have the mold? Traditionally modak were made by hand and it simply takes a some practice and patience to shape them uniformly. Here is how to make modak by hand:
- Apply ghee on your palm and finger tips and start pressing one ball of the rice dough between the palm of your hands.
- Then gently strech the sides to form a 3 inch cup.
- Place the filling in the center and start making pleats on the side by pinching the sides of the dough. Makes 5 to 7 pleats to begin with and eventually you can make more pleats making the modak look prettier.
- After pleated all around, gently bring them all together in the center. Start pressing them towards the middle and top enclosing the filling. Secure the top by firming pressing the top together so the Modak does not open up during steaming.
Step by step recipe to make soft and luscious Ukadiche Modak
Step 1: Ukad/dough for the outer covering
- Bring 1 cup of water to boil and add salt and 1 teaspoon of ghee.
- Turn the heat to low and add the rice flour. Mix it well with a spoon.
- Cook covered for 2-3 mins on low heat. Turn the heat off and pour the dough in a mixing bowl and let it cool.
Step 2: Coconut jaggery filling
- Grate the jaggery or break into small pieces using a pestle.
- In a heavy bottom pan gently roast the coconut on medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Add jaggery, saffron, nutmeg powder and cardamom powder and cook on low heat for another 5 to 7 minutes or until the filling starts to look dry. Mix well and keep aside.
Pro Tip – Make the filling in advance to save time and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days
Step 3: Prep the dough
- Knead the rice dough using 1 teaspoon of ghee and 1-2 tablespoon of warm water for 5 to 10 mins or until the dough is really soft and moist.
- Make lemon sized balls with the dough and keep covered.
Step 4: Shaping and filling
- Grease the inside of the Modak mold really well with oil or ghee
- Close the mold and spread the rice dough inside the mold and start pressing gently with your fingers as it evenly spreads inside the mold. Some of the dough will spread outside of the mold, which is used to seal the modak.
- Gently put about 1 to 2 teaspoons of filling inside the mold. Seal the bottom with the extra dough that is outside of the mold by folding it over to cover the opening.
- Carefully open the mold and remove the modak and place it in the steamer. Note: I am using the steaming rack from my old stove top steamer. But this steamer from amazon works well too.
- Repeat above steps of shaping and filling the modak for rest of the dough and filling.
Step 4: Steaming
- Heat 2 cups of water in a steamer pot. Once all the modak are ready, put the steaming rack inside the steamer pot and cook covered for 10 mins on low to medium heat. Note: Check the detailed recipe for Instant Pot steaming instructions.
- Turn the heat off, let the modak cool for 5 mins. Gently remove them from the steaming rack onto a plate. Enjoy!
How to serve Ukadiche Modak
I enjoy warm modak as is! Traditionally they are served with homemade ghee called as Sajuk Toop in Marathi. Slightly cut open the top of the Modak and pour over a teaspoon of melted ghee. I love to eat them warm but they also taste good at room temperature.
How to store and reheat Modak
Modak stay well at room temperature for a day. For extended shelf life they refrigerated up to 3 days. To reheat simply steam them for 3 to 4 minutes.
A complete traditional meal idea to serve along with Modak:
Love unique Indian desserts? Here are some more recipes to try:
★ Have you tried this recipe? We love your feedback, Please click on the stars in the recipe card below to rate.
- To make the stuffing, grate the jaggery or break into small pieces using a pestle. In a heavy bottom pan gently roast the coconut on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add jaggery, saffron, nutmeg powder and cardamom powder and cook on low heat for another 2 minutes. Mix well and keep aside. This stuffing can be made a couple of days in advance and refrigerated until ready to be used.
- In a medium pot, bring 1 cup of water to boil. Add 1 tsp ghee and salt. Turn the heat to low and add the rice flour. Mix it well with a spoon. Cook covered for 2-3 mins on low heat.Turn the heat off and pour the dough in a mixing bowl and let it cool.
- Knead the rice dough using 1 tsp of ghee and 2-4 tablespoon of warm water for 5 mins until the dough is soft and moist. Make 13 lemon sized balls with the dough and keep aside.
- Apply little ghee on the inside of the mold. Close the mold and spread the rice dough inside the mold and start shaping it around gently with your fingers.Some of the dough will also come outside of the mold which will be used to seal the modak. Gently put about 1-2 tsp of stuffing inside the mold. Seal the bottom with the extra dough that is outside of the mold. Gently open the mold and put the modak in a steaming rack. Repeat and make remaining modak.
Heat 1 cup of water in a steamer pot. Once all the modak are ready, put the steaming rack inside the steamer pot (I do 7-8 at a time*) and cook covered for 10 mins on low to medium heat. Turn the heat off, let the modak cool for 5 mins. Gently remove them from the steaming rack onto a platter. Enjoy!
Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot insert. Place the trivet. Gently place the steamer basket with modak in the Instant Pot. Close Instant Pot lid with pressure valve to sealing.
Cook on Manual / Pressure Cook (Low pressure) for 6 minutes followed by Natural Pressure Release. Open the Instant Pot, allow the modak to cool for 5 mins. Take out on a serving platter.
My steamer basket fits 8 modak without sticking to each other. Make sure there is a little room between the modak so they do not stick to each other after cooking.
Apply generous amount of ghee to the mold before making each modak. This will make sure that the modak do not stick to the mold.
Rinse and dry the modak mold half way through to make sure the modak do not stick to the mold.
♥ We LOVE to hear from you! Did you try this recipe? Please share your food photo with hashtag #ministryofcurry on Facebook or Instagram, so we can see it and our followers can enjoy it too! Thank you and Happy Cooking ♥ Subscribe to our Youtube Channel for tasty and easy video recipes. Looking for more Instant Pot recipes? Check out our delicious Instant Pot Recipe board on Pinterest.