For the Indian Cooking Challenge this month, it was decided to cook Ganesh Chathurthi special dishes from various regions of India. Each member will try out apart from dishes famous in their homestate atleast one more from another state.
I had tried the following and the recipes are from Andhra, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
Modak from Maharashtra:
for Stuffing :
2 cups freshly grated coconut (can use frozen unsweetened coconut)
1 cup jaggery (grated)
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoons cardamom powder
A pinch nutmeg powder (optional)
2 tablespoon water or milk
For the outer cover:
1 cup rice flour
1 1/4 cup water
A pinch of salt
1 tablespoon oil
for Stuffing :
Roast poppy seeds in a small skillet and let it cool down.
Grind it coarsely and keep it aside.
In a heavy bottom kadai mix all the ingredients for stuffing except poppy seed powder and let it sit for 15 min.
Now heat the mixture over medium heat.
In about 10-12 minutes, the mixture starts boiling and stuffing will turn yellowish brown and will be sticky.
Take the kadai off the heat, add poppy seeds powder and mix well.
Set it aside to cool down.
for cover :
Take vessel that has tight fitting cover.
Start boiling water in that vessel, add salt and oil.
When water starts boiling, lower the heat and slowly add rice flour in small flowing quantity, not dumping everything at once.
Start mixing vigourously with a heavy spoon.
Now close the lid and take the pot off the heat.
Let the covered pot cool down for 15 minutes or so.
Then with wet hands, mix the dough properly. As the dough will warm use cold water to keep your hands from burning.(but do not use too much water).
If you think the dough is little sticky, add 1-2 tbsp maida to it and make the dough soft and non sticky.
Making Modak (Final Product) :
Start boiling water in a large vessel that can fit a steamer.
You may use a stainless steel steamer that fits in a pressure cooker.
Oil the steamer and set it aside.
Make about 20 balls of the dough and 20 parts of the stuffing.
Start making small puri with the dough ball on a oiled paper/aluminum foil.
Keep one part of stuffing in the middle of the puri.
Gather the puri gently to make shape like modak.
Handle the dough very gently.
Follow the step to make remaining modaks.
Now dip each modak in cold water and put it in the steamer.
Put the steamer on boiling water and cover it.
Let the modaks steam for 20 minutes on medium to high heat.
Take the steamer off the vessel and let it sit for 5 minutes before removing moodak from steamer.
Traditionally, modaks are served with ghee but it can be served with coconut milk.
Nugul-untallu (Sesame Laddoo) from Andhra Pradesh
This one of the traditional sweets that Andhra people make.
Traditionally Nugul -untallu are prepared with the black sesame seeds with the skin on.
Wash the black sesame seeds well and dry them under sun.
Dry roast them in a tawa until they pop and let them cool.
Once they are cool, take the seeds and about 3 tablespoons of grated or powdered jaggery and run in a mixie. The amount of jaggery normally determines on the formation of laddoo.
When you make a laddoo, it should stay in shape. Then you know the amount is correct.
You may add more powdered jaggery and proceed if the laddoos don't hold shape or crumble.
Also it depends on the fineness of the sesame powder. When you run in mixie, the seeds tend to become oily and this will help holding the laddoo in shape.
Now for the homestate dish, I shall give you the recipe of
Kaara kozhukkattai from Tamil Nadu:
1/4 cup of rice,washed and soaked for 1/2 an hour.
1 tablespoon oil
a pinch of salt.
For the stuffing:
1/4 cup of urad dhal, washed thoroughly and soaked for 1 hour
2 pieces green chillies
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
salt to taste
Oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves for tempering and garnish.
Method of preparation:
You may either powder and sieve the soaked rice or grind with water to a very smooth batter.
If you have a batter, heat it in a heavy bottomed kadai with 2 teaspoons oil and salt.
Keep the fire low and constantly stir until the batter thickens and forms a dough that will be discoloured upon being cooked.
If you are using powdered rice flour, measure it in a cup.
In a heavy pan measure equal amount of water. Add salt and some oil.
Bring water to boil. Reduce heat fully to low. Drop the rice flour into the boiling water gradually with one hand while stirring furiously with the other.
This rice will quickly cook and form a lump.
However you decide to do this, the final product would form a thick lump and if rolled between wet fingers may roll like a ball.
Remove from fire and transfer on a flat plate.
Add the rest of the oil and mix it to the dough.
Cover the dough in a damp cloth and set aside.
For the savoury stuffing:
Drain the soaked dhal. Grind with the chillies and salt adding little amount of water to a coarse batter. This should not be of running consistency but like that for vadas.
Grease a steaming plate and steam this dough for 10 minutes.
Remove, cool and crumble the cooked dough.
Heat oil in a pan. add the mustard seeds. Allow to crackle. Add chopped curry leaves and the dough. Cook for about 7 minutes turning it over so as not to stick to the pan.
Remove from heat and cool.
Preparation of the Kozhukkattai:
Take a small portion of the prepared outer dough.
Knead well with your palm to break any tiny hardened lumps that may have formed while cooking.
Make a small ball of the dough, using dry flour or oil for the tips of your fingers,shape cups of the dough. You may see the step by step pictures here.
Once the cups are done, spoon in the filling, close and arrange on steaming plates.
Steam in a steamer for 10 - 12 minutes.
Remove and allow to cool before taking off the plate.
This year I had become a bit heady and prepared more dishes. I shall write up recipes for them in consequent posts. But for now, enjoy all these dishes and dishes other members of the Indian Cooking Challenge have prepared.