modak

Modak Recipe (With and Without Mould)

By Swasthi on October 18, 2022, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Modak Recipe with and without mould. Modak is believed to be one of the favorite sweets of Lord Ganesha. Also known as Kudumu, kadubu, modakam or kozhukattai in regional languages, these are sweet stuffed dumplings offered to Lord Ganesha as prasad / Naivedyam during Ganesh Chaturthi puja. Some people also make these for the Sankasti chaturthi puja every month. In this post I share 2 ways to shape Modaks with lots of troubleshooting tips.


modak made with rice flour, jaggery and coconut

Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva & Goddess Parvathi is the Hindu deity of Wisdom & intellect. He is revered as the remover of obstacles in life. So a lot of Hindus offer their prayers to Lord Ganesha round the year, before their daily routine begins.

Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka chaturthi is a festival celebrating the birth of Bhagwan Ganesha. Hindus believe that Ganesha loves modak hence he is also called as modakapriya, one of the 108 names mentioned in the Ganesha Ashtothram. So modak is made in almost every home celebrating this special day.

About Modak

Modak are Maharashtrian festive dumplings made with rice flour dough & a sweet coconut jaggery filling. These are offered to the Hindu deity, Ganesha during the 9 day Ganesh Chaturthi Festival. Traditionally these sweet dumplings are handmade, filled with the sweetened coconut and then steamed. The filling is delicately flavored with cardamom powder and sometimes even with nutmeg.

In Marathi these are called as “Ukadiche Modak” meaning “Steamed modak”. The process of making modak involves steaming at 2 levels. The dough is steam cooked once while it is made. Small portions of the dough is then shaped, filled & then they are steamed to finish off the cooking.

Modaks are also made in many other states with different fillings like sesame jaggery, chana dal jaggery or peanut jaggery. A lot of people also make the stuffing according to their family traditions.

In this post I have shown the coconut jaggery filling. This recipe makes 11 large modaks. If you have the tradition of offering 21 to the Lord, you can either make smaller modaks or simply double the recipe.

How to Shape Modak

There are 2 ways modaks can be shaped. One way is to use mould & the other to shape them with hand. Making modak using a mould is super easy. Modak moulds are easily available in the Indian market or Indian stores throughout the year.

If you live in a country/ place where the moulds are not available then they can be handmade following my step-by-step photos. I show 2 ways to make them without mould.

I also share a lot of tips for making perfect filling & perfect dough after the step by step photos. You can also check the video too.

You can find the complete collection of Ganesh Chaturthi Recipes Here. I have shared 9 kinds of modak recipes on the blog. Here are some more
Rava modak
Fried modak
Sesame seeds modak
Chocolate modak
Dry fruits modak
Malai modak
Ragi modak

You can also check these Andhra style Vinayaka Chavithi Recipes

How to Make Modak (Stepwise Photos)

Prepare the Stuffing

1. Heat a pan with 1 tsp ghee. I have not used poppy seeds since they are not available in the Country I live. A lot of people use them. If you prefer, add 1 tablespoon white poppy seeds and briefly fry them on a low flame for 30 to 60 seconds.

heating ghee for filling

2. Add 2 cups (200 grams) grated fresh coconut.

making coconut jaggery filling for modak

3. Next add ¾ to 1 cup jaggery. I used 1 cup (150 grams jaggery powder). If you prefer lesser sweet you may add ¾ cup.

adding jaggery to make modak filling

4. Stir and begin to cook on a medium flame. The mixture may turn gooey after a while depending on the kind of jaggery. Continue to cook until all of the excess moisture evaporates and begins to dry up. Add cardamom powder and nutmeg (optional). Avoid overcooking as the filling can become hard. Check video to know the right consistency. Turn off the stove. Set this aside to cool completely.

adding nutmeg and cardamom powder

Make Dough

5. Pour 1 cup water to a pot or pan. Add 1 pinch salt and 1 tsp ghee to the water. Bring it to a rolling boil.

boiling water to make ukadiche modak

6. Turn the flame to low, add 1 cup flour (150 grams) and quickly mix well.

making ukad for ukadiche modak

7. The flour turns to a lumpy mixture.

ukad for modak covering

8. Cover and turn off the stove. Remove from the stove and let it steam in the residual heat. While this cools prepare your steamer and a basket. You can either grease the steaming basket or spread a muslin cloth.

steaming rice flour dough in a covered pot

9. When the mixture cools down to slightly hot, transfer the mixture to a wide bowl. Do not allow it to cool down completely. The mixture will be crumbly and dry. If required sprinkle little hot or warm water and knead it to a smooth crack-free & non-sticky dough. I use about 2 tablespoons hot water at this stage. Check video to know the right texture.

kneading dough to smooth texture for modak

10. Divide the mixture to 11 parts. If using mould then divide according to the size of your mould. If you have small ones, then you can make 16 balls. With larger mould you will get only 9. I cannot give the accurate number as the moulds come in different sizes. Knead each one to soft ball. Cover them with a moist cloth.

smooth crack free balls for modak recipe

Make Modak without Mould

11. Take a ball, dip your fingers in a bowl of water. Using your thumb make a dent in the center. Begin to spread the dough in a circular motion with your thumb and fore fingers using both hands.

making dent in the dough ball

Dip your fingers in water as needed while you work on it. If the dough turns sticky, you can use ghee instead of water.

Method 1

12. We need a evenly shaped round puri. The edges have to be thinner than the center. With the help of thumb and forefinger gently pinch off very little dough to make a pleat on the outer side. With half to 3/4 inch apart you can make as many pleats as possible. Place 1 to 1.5 tbsp. cooled coconut jaggery mixture in the center.

handmade pleated puri with stuffing in the center

13. Bring together all the pleats gently and seal giving a good shape. Keep them aside on a greased steaming basket or moist cloth lined over a steam basket. (check picture below). Remember to keep the modaks covered with a damp cloth.

hand made shaped modak

Method 2 – Make Modak

14. You can also make a cup shape out of the rice dough first and then pinch off little dough on the sides to make pleats. Put the filling in the center.

pleated cup with coconut filling ready in the center

15. Then join the edges. But the first method I have shown is fairly easy for beginners.

shaped dough with filling

16. If you find the above methods difficult, you can try this one. You can also shape this like a Kadubu or karanji. Make a puri, place the coconut jaggery mixture on one half.

17. Cover with the other half. Seal off by pressing both the edges with moist fingers (dip fingers in water). Tuck in little dough from the edges to give a nice finish. You can also use a greased fork to give a nice design. Keep the modakams covered with a moist cloth.

kadubu shaped modak with filling

18. These were the handmade modaks before steaming.

handmade modaks ready for steaming
ukadiche modak offered in a green plate during Ganesh Chaturthi pooja

With Mould

19. Grease your Mould with ghee.

greasing mould with ghee

20. Close the mould and keep a dough ball inside. Press down the dough to the sides of the mould, making space in the center.

pressing down rice dough in the mould

21. Press down the coconut filling gently.

stuffing the modak with sweet coconut jaggery

22. Seal the modak with the excess dough that comes out. Or you can also close the opening with more dough. Open the mould and remove the modak carefully. Always remember to keep them covered with a damp cloth until they go for steaming.

Grease the steam basket or Spread a thin cotton cloth in a wide bowl or a steam basket. Place all the modaks in the basket/ bowl.

sealing modak with dough

Steam Modak

23. On a medium high flame, bring 1.5 to 2 cups water to a rolling boil in a steamer or a pot or stove top pressure cooker. Place a steel rack or a trivet in the water.

To use Instant Pot, press the saute button & pour 1.5 to 2 cups water to the steel insert. Place a long legged trivet in the steel insert of the IP.

24. Place the modak basket in the pot and cover the pot or cooker. If using a pot, make sure your lid has a vent for the steam to escape. If using a stovetop pressure cooker, remove the weight/ whistle. Steam for 10 minutes on a medium high heat. The timer starts from the time you cover the pot. I sprinkled some saffron over the ukadiche modak before steaming. Switch off and rest for a while, about 5 mins.

Instant Pot: When the water turns hot, place the steam basket on the trivet. Press cancel. Secure the IP with the lid. Press the steam button and position the steam release valve to venting. Since the timer won’t work for this steam function, make sure you use a external timer for 10 mins. After 10 mins, press cancel and wait for 5 mins.

Pour a few drops of ghee over the hot modaks. Offer steamed modak to Lord Ganesha. We do not offer very hot foods to God during pooja. So I cool down slightly and then offer.

modak modakam garnished with saffron

Pro tips

Flour : water ratio – 1 cup rice flour usually needs a little over 1 cup water to make a perfect dough. It may take more but not less. So add 1 cup flour to 1 cup boiling water, mix and rest. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons more hot or warm water while kneading to get a smooth dough. The quantity of water required depends on the kind of rice flour.

Kneading the dough properly with enough hot or warm water is the key to get soft modak covering. So feel free to sprinkle more water as required taking care not to add a lot. After kneading the rice flour dough has to be soft and crack free.

Always keep the dough covered with a damp cloth until it is used up. This prevents the dough from drying and cracking while shaping.

modak recipe made with & without mould

Troubleshooting dough

Dough cracks while shaping modaks: This means the dough is dry and needs some more moisture. Sprinkle some warm water and knead the dough.

Dough is sticky: If you follow the recipe correctly it is unlikely for the dough to become sticky. Sticky dough means there is more moisture in the dough, sprinkle 1 teaspoon rice flour to the dough and knead well again.

Tips to make the stuffing

Cook jaggery and fresh coconut until the mixture looks almost dry. Too much moisture in the mixture will ooze out melted jaggery while steaming the modaks.

Tips to shape the modak

Do not spread the rice dough too thin as the covering will break. Shaping modak with hand needs some practice. So try with a smaller batch first if you are a beginner.

modak recipe

Choosing ingredients

Rice flour: To make modak, fine & smooth rice flour is needed. It is the quality of flour that decides the texture of your modak. With fine flour they turn out smooth without any cracks. Most Indian grocery stores carry them and some brands even sell specific one labelled as modak flour or kozhukattai flour.

If you are skeptical about the store bought flour, sieve it just to ensure it is super fine.

We make modak with homemade flour. Making the rice flour at home does take some time as the rice needs to be soaked, drained and then ground in the grinder. Then lastly it is sieved.

Coconut is the key ingredient used to make the filling. If making for prashad/bhog or naivedyam we break a fresh coconut and then scrape it. However you may use frozen or fresh coconut as per your convenience.

Jaggery is the only sweetener I use to make modak. However if you live in a country where it is not available, then feel free to use light brown sugar. Make sure to use jaggery that is clean free from stones, debris or dust. You can also hand pick the dust particles and discard while you grate.

Faqs

What kind of rice flour is used to make modak?

Traditionally flour made from white raw rice is used as it is super fine, more starchy and sticky which helps in binding the dough well while shaping. If you live outside India use rice flour from an Indian brand. There are many different kinds of rice flour available in the market which may not be suitable for modak.

Can I use sugar to make modak?

Modak are traditionally made with jaggery and not with sugar. Though the recipe can be made with sugar, it is less preferred & a lot of people avoid refined foods for offerings.

Why is my modak dough too dry?

It may look dry initially but as you begin to knead the dough, the steam trapped inside will make it smoother and more moist. However if kneading does not help, simply splash some warm water and knead. Every rice flour is different and sometimes aged rice flour requires a few tablespoons more water.

Why is my dough too sticky?

Using more water to steam the dough makes it sticky. So try to use the right amount of water. Alternately you may add a few tablespoons of dry flour to soak up the excess moisture in the sticky dough. This helps to fix it.

Why did my coconut and jaggery stuffing turn hard?

Over cooking coconut and jaggery can easily harden the stuffing. You may simply grind that in a grinder with a splash of water or sprinkle some water and warm it.

Why do my modaks crack?

Modak covering can easily crack if the dough or the shaped modaks dry out. So always cover the dough and the prepared modaks with a moist cloth.

Why did my modaks turn soggy from inside after steaming?

If your coconut and jaggery mixture is undercooked, it is likely going to release moisture when you steam the modaks. This causes the modaks to turn soggy from inside.

I cannot eat rice, what can I substitute it with?
You can use semolina also known as suji instead of rice, to make the outer covering. Alternately you may use mawa, dry fruits mixture or wheat flour to make the outer covering. Rava modak, fried modak, dry fruits modak and mawa modak are some substitutes to ukadiche modak.

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

modak recipe

Modak Recipe With & Without Mould

Steamed Modak also known as Ukadiche Modak are sweet dumplings with coconut and jaggery filling. These are made during Ganesh Chaturthi to offer to God Ganesha. I have the instructions to steam them in a pot, cooker or instant pot.
Pin Recipe Print Recipe

For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time55 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Servings11
AuthorSwasthi

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

Sweet filling

  • 2 cups grated coconut (fresh or frozen) (200 grams)
  • 1 cup jaggery grated or powdered (125 to 150 grams)
  • 4 green cardamoms powdered (½ teaspoon)
  • teaspoon nutmeg powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ghee

For the outer cover

  • 1 cup rice flour (fine flour) (150 grams, Refer notes)
  • 1 cup water (2 to 3 tablespoons more to knead)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon ghee

For greasing

  • 1 teaspoon ghee (use as needed)

Instructions

Make sweet filling for Modak

  • Add 1 teaspoon ghee to a hot pan.
  • Saute together jaggery and coconut until both blend well and the mixture turns thick. Do not overcook. There should be no excess moisture in the pan. (check video to know consistency)
  • Add cardamom powder and nutmeg. Turn off the stove and cool this completely.

Make Dough

  • Bring 1 cup water to a rolling boil along with salt and ghee.
  • Regulate the flame to low, then add the flour and give a good mix. Ignore the dough looking dry and crumbly at this stage.
  • Turn off the stove and cover the pot. Set aside and let the dough steam in the residual heat. Rest until the temperature comes down a bit.
  • While the mixture is still slightly hot, knead it to a soft non-sticky yet smooth crack-free dough. The mixture will look dry so sprinkle little hot or warm water and knead. I sprinkle about 2 to 3 tablespoons at this stage. (check video or step-by-step photos)
  • Divide the dough to make 11 equal sized balls. Keep the balls covered with a damp cloth until you finish making all of the modak.
  • Ensure the coconut filling has cooled down completely before you begin to make the modak. Take each ball to your palm and smoothen them to a crack-free and soft ball.

How to Make Modak with Mould

  • Grease the mould lightly with ghee. Close the mould and keep a dough ball inside. Press with your finger to spread the dough towards the sides of the mould.
  • Then stuff the sweet coconut and seal the modak carefully. (Check video or step-by-step pictures). Open the mould and transfer the modak to a greased steam basket.

How to make Handmade Modak

  • Take a ball and make a dent in the center. Dip your fingers in water.
  • In a circular motion begin to spread the dough to make a thin disc using thumb and forefingers on both the hands. 
  • Pinch off little dough on the outer side of the disc to make pleats at a distance of  ½ to ¾ inch. (refer pics above). 
  • If the edges break, keep dipping your fingers in water and moisten the dough.
  • Place 1 to 1½ tbsp coconut mixture in the center.
  • Bring together all the pleats and join them carefully. If needed moisten the fingers and join them.

Steam

  • Next place all the modak in a greased steam basket. You can skip greasing and just spread a moist cloth in the steam basket. You can also sprinkle some saffron if you like.
  • Place a rack/trivet in a steamer or pot or pressure cooker. Pour 1½ cups water & bring to a rolling boil on a medium high heat.
  • Place the steam basket inside the pot or cooker and cover with the lid. If steaming in a regular pot, your lid should have a vent for the steam to escape. If using a pressure cooker, remove the weight/whistle. Steam the modaks on a medium high heat for 10 minutes.
  • The steaming timer starts from the time you cover the pot/ cooker. After 10 to 12 mins, turn off the stove and let the modaks rest in the cooker for 5 mins.
  • Remove the steam basket and place on a cooling rack.
  • Pour few drops of ghee over the modaks. Offer them to Lord Ganesha and serve as prashad.

Instant Pot Steaming

  • If using a instant pot, Press saute button and pour 1½ cups water in the steel insert. Place a long legged trivet. When the water turns hot, place the modak basket inside and press cancel. Cover the Instant pot.
  • Position the steam release valve to venting. Press Steam button. Since the timer won't work for this option, use an external timer.
  • After 10 minutes, press cancel. Wait for another 5 to 10 mins, remove the basket and pour a few drops of ghee.

Notes

Make sure you use good quality fresh fine flour. You can also make your own fresh flour at home.
Making rice flour for modak
  1. Wash & soak 3/4 to 1 cup raw rice in water for at least 2 hours. Drain the rice to a colander and leave it for 30 mins.
  2. Spread on a cotton cloth and air dry or fan dry for 30 to 40 mins. When the rice is slightly moist then powder them in a mixer.
  3. Sieve it through a fine flour sieve. Dry the flour in a tray until it turns completely dry. It may take few hours.
  4. Refrigerate and use within 2 weeks.

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.

Video

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Modak Recipe With & Without Mould
Amount Per Serving
Calories 194 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 3mg1%
Sodium 7mg0%
Potassium 66mg2%
Carbohydrates 32g11%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 19g21%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin C 0.6mg1%
Calcium 11mg1%
Iron 0.6mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

Modak Recipe was Originally published in Sept 2015. Republished in August 2022.

Modak Recipe (With and Without Mould)

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.

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5 stars
Thank you for the recipe. I make modak using your recipe every year and they turn out perfect. This year I have a mold so will be using different fillings from your other recipes. Happy Ganesh Chaturthi Swasthi

5 stars
Cant wait to try your recipe

5 stars
Cant wait to try this
Receipe

5 stars
so detailed, thanks. Helps to a novice starter.

5 stars
I tried this recipe for the first time today and it was an instant hit. I doubled the quantity and they were all gone in a matter of minutes. It is difficult to get good modaks here in Singapore so I am so happy that I could make them. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe so well explained with pics and videos.

5 stars
Very nice recipe, guidance.
As a learner it’s help me nice way.
Thanks a lot .

Though I have been making Modak since years, I prefer to read the process before making as we make some menus once a year.This procedure is too good. My Modak prepared turned out very tasty.
I would like to add here to use rice with Aroma for the flour like Ambe More ( I use this) or basmati rice.
Thanks

5 stars
Great recipe with step by step photos! I make modaks without the pleats, next time I’ll try this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

5 stars
Thank you for the step by step recipe.

My modak turned out kind of hard on cooling. Can you let me know what was my mistake?
I used store bought rice flour.

5 stars
Thank you for the step by step recipe.

My modak turned out kind of hard on cooling. Can you let me know what was my mistake?
I used store bought rice flour.

Hi Swasthi
Do I need to roast the rice flour before i put it into the boiling water?
Please advice.

5 stars
Thanks for sharing. I will prepare today.

Hi Swasthi
What mistake I did as my modaks were little sticky?
While in steam modaks flame should be low or medium.

Hi Swasthi , plse advice if i can use black poppy seed , for making the Modak, as parsad for Ganesha

Hi swasthi,
What is the substitute of coconut that i can use??

Hi Swasthi,

Can I use desiccated coconut instead of fresh coconut?

Thanks

Thank you ?

Hi
Is there a replacement for jaggery?
I’m living in Jamaica and the Indian stores here don’t have jaggery in stock.
Really looking forward to making this!
Thank you!

5 stars
Excellent is the word for everything.

Thanks!!for explaining the recipe very well.I thought that making modhak is very hard work but you explained it so easily

What if the rice flour dough is getting sticky and not able to knead if properly

5 stars
This was my first time making modaks and I always knew this is beyond my capacity (I am a male 41 yrs, living in US for 20 years). My American wife discouraged me because hers didn’t come out good even when she was cooking with my grandmother in India.
Regardless, I was expecting to fail. This is first time, I saw an Indian recipe written and described in perfect and quantified manner. The Q/A was very helpful read. My 8 year old helped me and the modaks came out great!! We made 10 and they were gone. Thanks for making my Ganesh festival worthwhile. I am sure you will get a lot of blessings from Ganesha.