Modaks are traditionally made during Ganesh Chaturthi to celebrate Lord Ganesha’s birthday and it’s customary to spoil him with his favourite sweet, that’s modaks. While ‘ukadiche modaks’ are my personal favourite (as well as Ganesha’s), my daughter can’t appreciate the Ganpati festivities until she gets to eat this dainty dark chocolate and coconut variety. So, they have become such a family tradition during the Ganesh festival that it just wouldn’t be the same without them nowadays. Though I like to use 85% organic dark chocolate in my modaks, they don’t taste bitter; they have a good balance of milk and rich chocolate flavour, complemented by coconut which gives a lovely texture to the bite. So, the bitterness is wonderfully offset by the creaminess of the milk powder and sugar.
But what’s so special about these modaks?
Well, they are quick and easy to put together in just 30 minutes, but the best part is that they only need three to five ingredients. Besides, they’re a real crowd pleaser amongst kids. And not just to eat, they’ll love getting their hands mucky moulding them too.
What ingredients are needed for this recipe?
The richness of flavour in these modaks is defined by the quality of chocolate used. If you’re a chocolate snob, you’ll want to use the best dark chocolate money can buy, ideally with cocoa solids. But with any decent quality chocolate containing 60% cocoa or more, you’re sorted. You’ll also need milk solids and the easiest way to get them, if you live outside India, is to buy whole milk powder from your local supermarket. You can find one or two brands that package it plastic-free. The other key ingredient is icing sugar which can also be procured plastic-free easily enough. In this recipe I am filling the modaks with grated dried coconut; this is optional.
So all in all, you need just three key ingredients for this recipe – a dark chocolate bar, milk powder and icing sugar plus grated dried coconut or desiccated coconut if you are filling your modaks like I am doing in this recipe.
How to make chocolate modak?
- I like to start with the filling. In this case I have used grated dried coconut mixed with icing sugar. This is the simplest form of ‘khirapat’ (as we call it in Marathi) that Ganpati loves. And me too! So to make the filling, simply toast the coconut, without ghee or oil, until light brown and crisp. Once off the heat, add a tablespoon of icing sugar and mix well so that the sugar evenly coats the coconut. Set aside to cool.
- Next, the milk powder I get here is not very sweet. So I tend to add a little icing sugar to the milk powder and set it aside.
- Time to melt that bar of organic dark chocolate! Simply melt by breaking into chunks and placing it in a heat-proof glass bowl over a pan of boiling water. Let the steam generated by the hot water, melt the chocolate rather than heating it directly. The steam of the simmering water gently melts the chocolate without burning it. Keep stirring to ensure the chocolate melts evenly and then take it off the heat.
- Once the chocolate has melted, you’re ready to make the dough. Mix the milk powder with the melted chocolate. Add the milk a little at a time, to make a soft dough, making sure it doesn’t get too runny. Once the dough is prepared, keep it soft and moist by drizzling over a tiny bit of ghee. The dough is now ready to mould.
- Take a modak mould. There are a few standard moulds available at asian stores or online. Simply grease the inside of the mould with ghee making sure the entire surface is covered, working it into every groove.
- Now start stuffing the chocolate dough into the mould ensuring it sticks tightly into every groove. Press along the sides to get good design indentions. Make a hole with your finger inside each modak casing and add the coconut filling. Close the casing with some chocolate dough and press it down tightly so the filling doesn’t leak. Then, gently open the mould and transfer the modaks onto a plate.
Chocolate Modak With Coconut FillingCourse: Dessert, SidesCuisine: Maharashtrian, IndianDifficulty: Medium
200g 85% organic dark chocolate
75g milk powder
35g grated dried coconut
2 heaped tablespoons of icing sugar (one for the milk powder and one for the coconut)
60ml whole milk
3-4 tbsp melted ghee
- For the filling:
- Gently toast the coconut without any oil or ghee until light brown and crisp. Once off the heat, add a tablespoon of icing sugar and mix well so that the coconut is evenly coated. Set aside to cool.
- For the modak casing:
- Add a tablespoon of icing sugar to the milk powder.
- Melt the chocolate by placing it in a heat-proof glass bowl over a pan of boiling water. Rather than heating directly, let the steam generated by the hot boiling water melt the chocolate. Stir gently and as soon as the chocolate is fully melted, take it off the heat.
- In another bowl, mix the milk powder and melted chocolate. Add the milk little by little, mixing continuously, to make a soft dough but ensuring it doesn’t get too runny. Drizzle with ghee to stop the dough from drying out. The dough is now ready to mould.
- Grease the inside of the mould with ghee making sure every groove is covered.
- Stuff the chocolate dough tightly into the modak-mould ensuring all the grooves are tightly filled and a neat chocolate casing is formed inside the mould. At this point, make a hole with a finger inside the modak-mould and fill it with the coconut. Close the hole with some more chocolate dough and press it down tightly so that the filling doesn’t leak out. Finally, gently open the mould and transfer the modaks onto a plate.
- The coconut filling is optional. You can make simple chocolate modaks without it.
- You can try this recipe with fresh coconut (instead of dry coconut), if you like.
- While making the chocolate dough, It’s important to add the milk slowly. Otherwise, the dough may get too runny or lumpy.
- It is vital to grease the modak-mould properly and to tightly stuff the dough into the mould to get neatly formed modaks.
- Use whole milk powder rather than semi-skimmed.