Thursday, September 1, 2016

Rice paper modak rolls: recipe

Ukadiche modak; long before I could say the name properly, I was in love with the steamed modaks which are traditionally prepared for ganesh chaturthi in Maharashtra/Goa. Having lived a fairly large part of my childhood in Pune, there was no dearth of neighbour hood aunties cooking and gifting us this tedious to prepare but absolutely wortht he effort sweet .
Ukadiche, essentially means steamed. The modak itself is the actual closed lotus bud shape of the steamed dumplings.
This year I was determined to try my own Ukadiche modak. that is when I read up the recipe. it called for rice flour and dough making and rolling, and filing and steaming.
I began by making the filling of the modak. fairly simple. take two cups of freshly grated coconut , begin by lightly roasting it, until the oils just begin to seep out, then add ground cardamom, nutmeg, and a cup of ground jaggery to the mix. I like my filling quite sticky and wet. so i didn't cook it for too long. it hardens to a sticky consistency as it cools.
the traditional shape of modaks. 

fried modaks. tasty, but the steamed variety are my favourite.


with this filling made I first experimented with a few fried Modaks which were madef rom a half wheat flour and half refined flour dough.
But, I was yet to move on to the Ukadiche modak , when I hit upon the brainwave; why not use vietnamese rice paper?

Rice paper or Banh Trang, is a staple of Vietnam. it is pretty much the same this as the Ukadiche flour, since it uses rice flour as base and is a stemed version of the rice flour.
to make one ukadiche modak would take the better part of the morning to make, and from what I have heard it isn't the easiest
although I love Ukadiche modak, I used to find the rice flour outer shell sometimes too thick and gelatinous. after eating the yummy filling, i invariably left the thicker parts of the modak, especially the top where the ends of the modak are gathered to make a crown.
But rice paper takes just 15 seconds to soak in water, leave on a dinner plate for a minute to soften and then a nifty roll, and voila , there you have it - rice paper modak rolls.

rice paper: I bought a commercial variety available almost anywhere in India now.

how to roll: place filling at one third part of the rice paper, in the center. fold the top third of rice paper over it. fold the sides of the rice paper. to make a a neat package. rol the rice paper until it covers the filling completely.

the rice paper modak rolls are ready to eat.

 but add a bit of desi ghee over the rolls for a more authentic modak taste. I served it with my favourite soy caramel dressing. Heat two parts soy sauce to one part sugar/honey, for a sweet and salty dipping sauce.

happy ganesh chaturthi.
Serve these ready in a jiffy rice paper modak rolls and win over the old and the new generations with the much loved flavours of the ukadiche modaks, and the elegance of rice paper rolls.