Lord Ganesha, the elephant headed Hindu god, has been everywhere over the last week. With his birthday celebrations in full flow why not join in the fun by munching away on some Modak, Ganesha’s special birthday sweet.
Have you noticed that a new sweet treat has appeared over the last few days? If not, take a closer look. If you enjoy Indian sweets you won’t be disappointed with what you find.
Indian’s love a good festival and Indian’s love their sweets. Put these two things together and you’ve got the perfect excuse to make a special sweet for a special occasion.
Lord Ganesha’s birthday sweet is called Modak (sometimes spelt Modaka).
I’ve read that Ukadiche Modak, a steamed rice flour dumpling filled with coconut and jaggery (unrefined sugar), can be found on the streets of Mumbai. It sounds like a yummy version of a Nepali momo to me. I’ve also read that, like momos, these type of Modak can be deep fried too.
In Delhi I’ve yet to come across this type of Modak. Khoya (thickened milk) is the base for what I’ve been eating.
In Delhi, traditional Khoya Kesar Modak (saffron) and Khoya Narial Modak (coconut) are now complimented with a wide range of flavours. Chocolate Modak, Dry Fruit Modak, Strawberry Modak and many more flavours have been fused with traditional recipes. The dried fruit Modak makes sense, but the strawberry one sounds like a terrible idea. Choose carefully what you go for.
I’ve been eating Modak at a few places so far and like what I’ve found.
Bangla Sweet Corner on Khanna Market served me up a Khoya Kesar Modak. Khoya is heavy and it’s thick. You have to like the taste of milk and enjoy saffron to get into this sweet. Luckily I do.
Mahendra Sweet House in Sarojini Nagar uses desiccated coconut in its Nairal Modak which really pulls out the flavour. It’s Modak seemed to be softer and lighter than pure Khoya I had been eating at Bangla Sweet Corner. I don’t know what they’ve done, but they’ve done very well.
But the best Modak so far came on a day out of Delhi in Amritsar. Goenka’s Modak, a short walk from the Golden Temple, make a Modak that is lighter than what I’ve been getting in Delhi. It’s stuffed with fresh chunks of coconut and has nuts in it too. I wondered what was going on when I bit into these beauties and found a huge chuck of coconut. All in all, a very pleasant surprise.
Goenka may be in first place so far when it comes to my Modak sampling, but I’ve yet to visit one of my favourite Delhi sweet houses to check out what they have to offer.
Named after the elephant headed god himself, Ganesha Sweethouse in Mehar Chand Marg, is bound to make a marvellous Modak in honour of the Lord.
The time to eat Modak is now. Shortly after Ganesha Visarjan, on the 15th September, the sweet will be gone for another year. Right, it’s time for me to get out and get eating.