Sesame Seed Modak for Ganesh Chaturthi # SNC September Challenge

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to all ! May  the Lord be by your side and avert all obstacles that come your way. May he protect you from the evil and help you achieve the fruits of your hard work. 

Courtesy the SNC challenge, this year I managed to make the traditional Indian sweet namely Modak, that is associated with the celebration of  this festival. Thanks to +Vijaylakshmi of Viruthudhu unna vaanga for the recipe and clear pictorial instructions. With all that in hand the process of making Modak at home felt like a breeze. 

All that said I must confess that while my Modaks turned out o.k... they weren't perfect.... I have never tasted a Modak earlier so I can't judge them from experience... but as opposed to the soft outer shell that Viji described, my outer shell was a little hard. maybe i over-steamed the Modak or used too much oil in the dough or may be my homemade rice flour was not fine enough.. there could be other reasons too that i cannot think of right now.. however i intend to make these sweets few more times while the Indian festival season is on.. and if i do crack the secret behind on how an amateur can steam out Modaks like a pro... i share it with you then... ;-)  

for now here is what i did...
Step 1. Make the Rice Flour (you can use store bought rice flour too.. but in case you don't have the time to make a trip to the store just for rice flour this recipe will help. The recipe is from Sharmis Passions.)

Homemade Rice Flour
Recipe Source : Sharmis Passions

  •  1 cup raw rice
  the method
  • rinse the rice and soak it in water for an hour.
  • then draining off the water spread the raw rice on a soft towel and leave it there for 45-60 minutes. 
  • now using the mixer, grind the raw rice to a fine powder. sieve it and grind the bigger grains once more until the ground flour attains the texture of fine semolina.
  • finally dry roast the sieved flour until you see steam coming out of it, cool it by spreading over a sheet of paper and store it in a air tight container. 

Step 2: Once the rice flour was made i proceeded to make the Modaks following Viji's recipe.... before i go on to the recipe, i wanted to mention here a few nutritional facts about two of the star ingredients namely, jaggery and sesame seeds that i learnt from Viji's post.

while most of you must be aware that Jaggery is a iron rich natural sweetener, it might be helpful to know that this sweetener also cleanses the respiratory tracts, lungs, pipe, stomach and intestines. It pulls out unwanted particles from the body and gives relief from constipation. It also activates the digestive enzymes and itself changes to acetic acid in the stomach, thereby speeding up digestion.probably that is the reason why in many regions of India, people have a small chunk of jaggery and roti as a dessert at the end of their meal. 

About sesame seeds... studies say that they are rich in copper and magnesium contents and also have a good amount of calcium and zinc. they have a number of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant enzymes and are apparently they are good for rheumatoid arthritis. they also support vascular and respiratory health and help lower cholesterol and high blood pressure. being a sufferer of rheumatoid arthritis from the early age of 17, i found the above information very useful. i usually do not use a lot of sesame seeds in cooking... but i think i'll try and do that more often from now on....

now the recipe for Sesame Seed Modak.... 

Ellu Kozhukattai  (Sesame Seed Modak) (makes 5)
Recipe Source: Viruthudhu unna vaanga 

  • for the sesame filling
    • 1/8 cup sesame seeds (1 used white sesame seeds)*
    • a little less than 1/4 cup jaggery
    • 1/8 cup grated coconut (1 used frozen)
    • 1/8 tsp cardamom powder 
  • for the outer shell
    • 1/2 cup rice flour
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp oil
    • 1 cup water 
* in the original recipe black sesame seeds are used but it is mentioned that you can use either.
  the method
  • for the sesame filling
    • dry roast the sesame seeds until fragrant. once it cools completely, using the mixer grind it to a coarse powder and keep aside.
    • powder the jaggery in the mixer in case it is hard or crumble it with your fingers (i did the later since the jaggery at hand was soft enough.) and put it in a pan. add  2 tsps of water to it and holding the pan over low heat melt the jaggery.
    • once it melts completely, switch off the heat and using a tea strainer sieve off the solution into another pan.
    • immediately add ground coconut to the syrup. holding the pan over low flame and stirring continuously bring the mixture to a boil and once it turns frothy add the ground sesame seed and cardamom to the mixture, mix all the ingredients well and when mixture begins to come together switch off the heat and keep it aside. 
    • the filling is now ready and while it cools, make the dough for the outer shell.
  • the outer shell
    • add the salt and oil to the water and bring it to a boil.
    • switching off the heat add the boiled water to the rice flour one tbsp at a time. i needed to add 5 tbsps of water until the dough came together. amount of water required depends on the variety of rice flour that you are using. you might need some less or some more water before your dough comes together. 
    • then covering the dough with a damp cloth and leave it aside for 5 minutes. by then you'll have nice warm dough to work with. 
    • knead it with well greased hands and pinch out 5 lemon sized balls of the dough.
    • now using well greased hands press the dough ball in the center and shape it out into a circle about 2-1/2 to 3 inches in diameter.
    • place a tablespoon of the sesame seed filling in the center of the circle and fold the sides to meet in the center in a way forming a cone on top. you can also shape it like a crescent. but since Modaks are usually shaped like cones i did it that way.
    • once they have all been assembled, steam them for 7-10 minutes, (ideally) until the outer shell looks transparent. (as i mentioned above i steamed for 10 minutes without checking on the Modaks in between and that might have made my sweets a little hard in texture.)
    • now the Modaks are ready. offer to Lord Ganesha and afterwards enjoy the prasadam.

Many thanks to Sharmis for the rice flour recipe, Viji for the challenge and a big thanks to Divya for starting the South Vs North Challenge

Linking this to Viruthudhu unna vaanga  & Divya's space...

Hope you enjoyed this. Now that the Indian festival season is on expect more Indian sweets in the few weeks.


  1. Ganesh Chaturthi wishes to you.. Modak looks perfectly made and delicious..Love that you have used homemade rice flour..

    1. Greetings to you too Divya. I was quite happy with the homemade rice flour recipe. Thanks to Sharmis Passions for it.

  2. ganesh chathuri wishe to you dear :) lovely dressed up ganesh idol :) and modak with home made rice flour looks so scrumptious and tempting me !!

    1. Thanks Manjula. I got the idol dresses from India. I really miss home during festivals.

  3. I should try this! The modaks look perfect Tanu - I wouldn't have known they were not as soft as expected, judging from the clicks :) I have had that problem with steamed rice balls before. I thought it had something to do with the dough's water content or the kneading. I think I was wrong. I will be back to see if you have found out the professional secret ;)

    1. you might be right Priya. I am trying another dumpling today. hopefully the shell will be softer this time.

  4. Ganesh Chaturthi wishes to you, Tanu! I'm totally new to Modak and this looks interesting and also delicious to me :D

    1. Thanks Zoe. Modak is actually quite tasty. I'll really need to perfect them.

  5. Awesome, so perfectly made this modak.

    today's post:


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Best, Tanusree

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