Modak In Maharashtra: History, Types And Top Spots In Mumbai
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Whether it’s Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali or a wedding or any special occasion, Modaks in Maharashtra are a must-have delicacy. These rice flour dumplings are the perfect sweet to treat your family, friends and loved ones with, especially if you are anywhere in Maharashtra or visiting a Maharashtrian family anywhere in the world. Traditionally associated with Lord Ganesha, Modaks are also considered to be very auspicious for new beginnings. Modak in Maharashtra is a variety of mithai that you must savour at least once in your lifetime. 

With time, the popularity of Modak in Maharashtra has transcended the state and reached global shores. In the other hand, plenty of new-age modak varieties, like those infused with chocolate and other flavours, have also come up. Easy to make and delicious to share, Modaks in Maharashtra are must-haves. Want to make the best Modaks in Maharashtra? Here is everything you need to know about this Maharashtrian sweet treat. 

Video Credit: YouTube/Hebbars Kitchen

1. Introduction to Modak 

Modak in Maharashtra is a sweet dumpling that is steamed to perfection. The outer shell of the dish is made with rice flour, while the filling is usually made of grated coconut, jaggery, cardamom, dry fruits and nuts. Modak in Maharashtra has a signature look which is very easy to identify. The dish looks like dumplings or momos, but instead of being savoury Modak in Maharashtra are sweet. Though they look like small bundles, what Modaks in Maharashtra essentially are, are bundles of absolute joy. 

The preparation of Modak in Maharashtra is a cherished tradition in Maharashtrian homes and recipes have usually been passed down the generations. Families and friends gather together on auspicious occasions like Ganesh Chaturthi to whip up Modaks in Maharashtra. A culinary delight from the state, Modaks in Maharashtra are a must-have on any day. 

2. Exploring the Types of Modak 

While the traditional Modak is a steamed delicacy, there are plenty of varieties that can be savoured today. Here are some of the most popular types of Modak in Maharashtra. 

Ukadiche Modak: These classic Modaks in Maharashtra are made with a rice flour shell and a filling made of coconut, jaggery, dry fruits and nuts. 

Fried Modak: Another classic, though a bit unhealthy, these Modaks in Maharashtra are made with a whole wheat shell which crisps up when deep-fried.  

Chocolate Modak: Instead of a traditional coconut filling, this Modak in Maharashtra is made with molten chocolate, dry fruits and nuts. 

Mawa Modak: Made with khoya or mawa infused with saffron and a number of other flavours, this Modak in Maharashtra is now very popular because it is very easy to make. 

Fruit Modak: Instead of a traditional filling, this Modak in Maharashtra is made with a filling made of fresh fruits like bananas and apples. 

3. Techniques Behind Authentic Modak 

Making Modaks in Maharashtra is considered to be a festive family affair because though they are easy to eat, Modaks can be very difficult to make for beginners. Here are some of the key techniques required in making Modaks in Maharashtra. 

Preparing The Dough: The outer covering of Modaks is made from a rice flour dough, and nailing this one requires you to use hot water. The dough needs to be soft and pliable and never too dry.  

Filling Preparation: The filling for Modaks is usually made from a mixture of grated coconut and jaggery. These two need to be cooked together with cardamom, cooled down and then combined with dry fruits, nuts and seeds.  

Shaping The Modaks: Shaping Modaks is a skill that can only be mastered through practice. The dough needs to be rolled out using your fingers, stuffed with the filling and then delicately folded to make a small yet cute bundle. 

Steaming Or Frying: You have to steam the Modaks in Maharashtra to ensure that the outer shell is perfectly cooked. While frying, if you opt to do that, make sure you are cautious of any splattering oil.  

4. Modak's Historical Connection to Maharashtra 

Modaks in Maharashtra are a classic, traditional and auspicious dish. It is believed that Modaks are associated with Lod Ganesha and have existed since ancient times. All the ingredients that go into the making of traditional Modaks in Maharashtra, whether it is the rice flour, the coconut-jaggery filling, or the dry fruits, are all sourced locally. These are ancient ingredients grown in the region and are associated with monsoon harvests which coincide with Ganesh Chaturthi festival. 

Many also believe that Modaks in Maharashtra became especially popular as an auspicious sweet dish because it was a favourite of the great Maratha ruler, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Since Lord Ganesha was the Kuldevata or patron god of this ruler’s family of Peshwas, the sweet dish quickly became associated with Ganesh Chaturthi and all festive occasions of the Hindu calendar. This is the reason why Modaks in Maharashtra are still considered to be must-haves during festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi. 

5. The Aromas and Tastes of Modak 

The allure of Modaks in Maharashtra is based around its incredible taste and aromas. The tantalizing smell of Modaks in Maharashtra is dominated by the steamed rice flour infused with coconut, jaggery and cardamom. Traditionally, Modaks in Maharashtra are slathered with warm ghee before serving, which is why the aroma of ghee is also likely to attract you. A single bite into this delicacy, however, and you will find yourself indulging in the harmonious sweetness of Modaks in Maharashtra. Texture wise, the outer shell of Modaks is slightly chewy while the filling is sweet, nutty and often melt-in-the-mouth. 

6. Mumbai's Top Modak Spots 

When in Mumbai, the capital of the state of Maharashtra, you must have Modaks. Here are some of the top Modak places in Mumbai, Maharashtra. 

Aaswad, Dadar: This iconic Mumbai restaurant’s Modaks are soaked in ghee, which is the ideal way to have the sweet treat. 

Panshikar, Girgaum: Another iconic Mumbai sweet shop for Modaks, this place has more than just Ukadiche Modak to offer. 

Modakam, Prabhadevi: Located nearby Siddhivinayak Temple, this place is a go-to haven for temple goers for the best Modaks in the area. 

Swami Uphar Gruha, Dadar: Another old-school place known by locals and visitors alike, this place offers up some of the most scrumptious Modaks. 

MM Mithaiwala, Malad: Located on the Western Line, this place serves up a variety of Modaks to the nearby localities. 

7. Maharashtra Modak's Global Appeal 

During Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali and other festive occasions, Modaks in Maharashtra are a must-have. Despite originating in Maharashtra, Modaks have a rich history in other Indian states as well. The Tamil Kozhukattai are quite similar to Modaks, while in the Eastern states of Bihar, Bengal, Assam and Odisha, the Pithas made on festive occasions are also quite similar in flavour and taste. This clearly means that the flavours of Modaks are not just limited to regional Maharashtra, but do have a national, even global appeal.