Keshari Modak (Ukadiche) – sweet dumplings with coconut-almond filling

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to everyone!

May Bappa continue to bestow His love and blessings on you. Show your love for Bappa in any way you like and connect with Him 🙂 on this auspicious day.


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Ganesh Chaturthi cannot be complete without Ganpati Bappa’s favorite modak, or shall we say, our favorite as well! 🙂 My mom’s modak are the gold standard- in terms of the taste, the delicate petals that make her modak so flawlessly  beautiful. It takes skill and a lot of practice to get the dough, taste of the filling and shape of the modaks right. This is just another attempt to get better at making modaks, till I reach a level of expertise. I remember how I used to struggle making them while  I watched my mom fold the petals (pakli). Although I have made a lot of progress, but it still seems like a long way to attain perfection.

So, don’t fret if there is a tear here and there….it will get better. Bite into your modaks, and you will know what I mean. The feeling is very special…:)

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Don’t lose heart – keep working on it and you will enjoy it. Here’s a recipe to help you get started. Sorry, no video yet…but figure out the petalling while I capture the petalling of modak.

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Instead of making the usual smooth white modak, I added the saffron to the dough. My jaggery was super dark and so, my filling is quite dark – rich in iron. Almonds add some vitamin E and coconut some medium chain fatty acids.

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Ingredients (7 modaks; 1 hour)

Keshar Modak cover

1/2 cup rice flour

1/2 cup water

a pinch of salt

a few saffron strands

1 tsp ghee

Coconut-Almond filling

1 cup fresh or frozen coconut

1/2 cup jaggery powdered

1/4 cup almonds, coarsely ground or chopped

a pinch of salt – it enhances the perception of sweetness

cardamom powder as much as you want – I love cardamom, so I add generously

1/2 tsp ghee, optional

Per modak: 170 Cals | 4 g protein | 9 g total fat | 2 g fiber | 8 g sugar


Start by making the cover of saffron modak – heat the water in a pot and add the salt, ghee saffron strands. When it begins to boil, add the rice flour and mix well. Cover and let it cook in the residual heat. 

In the meantime, prepare the filling. Combine all the ingredients and heat them in a pan on medium heat till the jaggery melts and dries out a bit. Set it aside.

Now, work on getting the modak dough ready. Sprinkle some water over the rice flour mixture and bind it together to make a dough. Knead well and moisten the dough as needed to hold it together. If it does not hold shape and breaks easily, then add some more water.

Divide the dough into 7 balls. Flatten the ball and press the edges with your thumb, index and middle fingers of both hands, to make a katori (bowl) of about 2″ diameter. If you find it hard to make a katori, then just roll it out to make 3″ puris.

Place a small amount of filling at the center of the katori and seal it by making petals at the outer perimeter, and bringing them together to merge at the top. If the dough tears, then do some patch-work and mend it, and moisten the dough and knead well to make it more stable and pliable for the next modak.

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Grease a steamer basket and place all the modaks in it. Store remainder filling in a jar or enjoy it as is – like the way I do 😉

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Let us get ready for steaming the modaks. Prevent the modaks from losing moisture by covering them with a moist cloth or keep them in a container. Add some water to a steamer or pressure cooker, seal it (remove the whistle or pressure regulator in case you are using the pressure cooker), and turn on the heat to high.

When you see a continuous stream of vapor from the steamer, turn off the heat and open the lid when it is safe. Slowly and carefully place the steamer basket  in the steamer or pressure cooker and close the lid.

steamer steam

 Turn on the heat to medium and let the the modaks steam for about 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat, and release the lid when it is safe.

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Very careful pull out the steamer basket from the pressure cooker or steamer. Serve the modaks and enjoy them without much delay!

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Bappa Morya! 🙂

kesar modak