Modaks are sweet stuffed deep fried dumplings steamed or fried and offered to Lord Ganesha as prasad or naivedyam. On the occassion of Anant charurdashi posting the recipe of deep fried modak with coconut sugar khoya filling
RECIPE :

Ingredients

For the outer covering :

  • 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup refined flour/ maida
  • 3 tbsp fine(chiroti)rawa/ semolina
  • 2 tbsp sizzling hot clarified butter(ghee)
  • A pinch of salt

For the filling :

  • 1 cup freshly grated coconut (use the white part only)
  • 2 tbsp khoya/ mawa(I used store bought)
  • 1/2 cup sugar or as per sweetness required
  • A few strands of kesar /saffron (optional)
  • 1/4th tsp cardamom powder
  • A pinch of nutmeg(optional)

METHOD :

The outer covering :

  • In a mixing bowl combine whole wheat flour, refined flour, semolina and hot clarified butter and mix well with a spoon.Then rub the mix well with your hand. Next add little water in stages and knead into a smooth, firm dough (the dough should neither be stiff nor soft). Knead well for about 10 minutes. A sign that the dough is kneaded well is when you roll a small ball from the dough it should be smooth and should not show cracks. Apply a little oil, knead well and cover with a moist cotton/muslin cloth and set it aside for at least 30 minutes. 

The inner filling :

  • In a flat nonstick / ceramic pan first saute the khoya well till it gives an even consistency on LOW flame. Then add sugar and freshly grated coconut and stir well. First the mix will liquify and then it’ll start thickening. The mix should be soft and just moist. Add cardamom powder, nutmeg and saffron strands and mix well.Switch off the flame and let it cool.
  • Knead the dough that has been set aside well and divide it into equal sizes ( say the size of a marble). Roll out into 3″ diameter discs. 
  • In each disc place about 1 tsp or a little more of the filling in the centre. Create pleates around the edges and gather them at the top ( it’ll look like a fig to be precise). Remove the excess dough at the top. The modak should be well sealed and there should be no tear anywhere, if not the filling will come out while frying. The top of the modak should’nt be very thick, it won’t get fried properly. 
  • Heat oil in a kadai/ wok. Once hot gently slip in 3 to 4 modaks at a time not more. Fry them between low to medium flame till golden brown and crisp on all sides. 
  • Once done remove them and drain on absorbent paper. Fry the rest of the modak in a similar way. 
  • Since fresh coconut is used the modak stay fresh for a day at room temperature. Store leftover modak in an airtight container in the referigerator.

NOTE :

  • As per custom when modaks are prepared at least one karanji should be prepared and vice versa. Modak and karanji go hand in hand.
  • To prepare Karanji/ Crescent shaped sweet deep fried pastry, place about 2 tsp of the filling on one side of the circle, keeping the edges empty. Moisten the circumference with a little milk and gently fold the upper semicircle over the filling and press down onto the lower semicircle. Gently press the edges and with a fork press gently all over the semicircle. A decorative cutter can also be used. There should be no gap anywhere, if not the filling will come out. 
  • Deep fry on low flame till golden and crisp. Remove and drain on absorbent paper.

TIP :

  • Adding a mix of whole wheat flour, all purpose flour and semolina gives crispier modak/ karanji compared to only whole wheat flour.
  • The modak/ karanji should be fried immediately if not the outer covering will crack. Cover the modak/ karanji with a moist cloth in case of delay in frying.
  • The modak/ karanji should be fried on low to medium flame. DO NOT FRY ON HIGH FLAME ( the inner covering will not get cooked). A little time consuming process,but it’s worth the effort taken.
  • Modak/ Karanji can be fried in ghee or oil. I use refined groundnut oil as it has high smoking point and the modak/karanji come out crispier too. 
  • Instead of water, milk can be used to knead the dough. 
  • Modak/ karanji recipe is very versatile. You can also add thinly sliced almonds ( or any dry fruits you like) to the filling, but you have to be careful while sealing the modak as the edges of dry fruits may tear the outer covering. I prefer the simple mix.
  • Adding khoya helps to keep the filling soft and moist.