During the British rule of India,the countrymen were subjugated to British laws which prohibited mass gatherings fearing public uproar.In this environment,Lokmanya Tilak, an Indian freedom fighter, re-conceptualised a religious festival, involving an elephant-nosed diety, Ganpati or Ganesh.
The religious festival aimed at uniting the people of the subcontinent,which it did in the long run.
Even today ,it is celebrated with great pomp and fervour.To know more about the celebration click here.
Ganpati's favourite food is Modak,which has been modernised into numerous versions.
Usually,a typical Modak has a rice flour covering with a fresh coconut-jaggery filling.It is shaped and steamed,but, doesn't last more than a day .This version though,uses a dry mixture and a covering of maida (refined flour) and semolina which is later fried.Thus, this variant will last for 3-4 days on the countertop.
For the filling:
1/2 cup Dry Grated Coconut
2 tsp Poppy seeds
55gms Rock Sugar
1/2 tsp Cardamom Powder
For the covering:
1/3 cup Semolina
1/3 cup Maida
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Oil
Water to make a firm dough(~3 Tbsp)
1.Toast the coconut and poppy seeds individually .Let cool.
2.Add all the ingredients for the filling except the toasted coconut into a blender and whizz it intil coarse.
3.Pulse the coconut separately.
4.Mix (2) and (3).Set aside.
5.Mix the dry ingredients for the covering and add warm oil.Mix well.
6.Add enough water to make a soft but firm dough.It shouldn't crack at the sides.I needed about 3Tbsp but the quantity needed will depend upon your semolina since coarse semolina grain will need more water.
7.Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest on the counter for 15 minutes.
8.Roll out the dough into 3" discs.
9.Place the filling in the center,while pinching the dough around it.
10.Close the top and twist off the excess dough at the top to end up with a point.
11.Roll out and shape the rest of your modaks.
12.Heat oil and deep-fry the modaks on a low flame.The top needs to be fried for longer to ensure propper cooking of all the folds of the modak.
Once cooled,keep in an airtight container on the countertop.