Recipe: Millet Sesame Modaks

Executive Chef Suraj Sahoo‘s healthy, gluten-free, low-calorie Millet Sesame Modaks offer a regional flavour from Andhra Pradesh where they celebrate Ganesh Utsav with modaks and laddoos, sometimes giant ones of 580 kg each.

Ragi or finger millet is easily available in Vijayawada, and it’s a preferred ingredient, often part of dishes served for breakfast, lunch and even dinner.

The sesame seeds or nuvvula in this recipe also bring a little health benefit. As for the stuffing, Chef Sahoo has used two local favourites, right-out-of-the shell coconut and jaggery, which add the sweet notes.

These modaks suit those on a diabetic, vegan or low-cal diet.

Chef Sahoo earned his degree in the culinary arts at the Indian Institute of Hotel Management and Catering in Bhubaneswar.

Ragi Nuvvula Modaks

Serves: 4-5

Ingredients

For the shell

  • 120 gm ragi flour
  • Salt to taste
  • 120 gm warm water
  • Oil to grease the modak mould

For the stuffing

  • 50 gm ghee or oil
  • 20 gm black sesame seeds
  • 20 gm white sesame seeds
  • 75 gm or less gud or jaggery
  • 75 gm fresh grated coconut and a little for garnish
  • 15 gm green elaichi or cardamom powder
  • Ragi flour for thickening if required

Method

For the shell

  • Dry roast the ragi flour in a heavy-bottomed frying pan or saucepan over low heat; but be careful to not let it burn.
    Add salt.
    Keep stirring the ragi over low heat for another 10 minutes.
  • Bring the water to boil in a saucepan.
  • Once an earthy smell emerges from the ragi, add the boiling water, little at a time.
    Keep stirring the mixture with a spatula to avoid lumps.
    Using your hands, knead the mixture until the dough formed is soft and without lumps.
    Make 4-5 small lemon-sized balls by dividing the dough into equal portions.
    Cover the balls of dough with a damp cloth and keep aside.

For the stuffing

  • In a saucepan, warm the ghee or oil.
    Add the sesame seeds.
    Stir until the seeds begin to crackle.
    Add the coconut, jaggery and mix well.
    Continue simmering over low heat for about 7-10 minutes till the jaggery melts and coats the coconut.
    Add the cardamom powder.
    Mix well and take off heat.
    Don’t overcook the mixture.
    Cool.
    Add some ragi flour if the mixture is runny.
    Make 4-5 small balls of the stuffing for ease in placing inside the modak shell later and keep aside for now.

Assembly

  • Grease a modak mould on the inside.
    Stuff a lemon-sized shell dough ball into it.
    Using your fingers, spread the dough evenly around the walls of the mould.
    Make a hole in the centre.
    Add the coconut-and-sesame stuffing ball and press it gently.
    Seal the bottom with some ragi dough.
    Gently open the mould to release the modak.
    Repeat the process for all the dough balls.
  • Boil sufficient water in a steamer.
    Place the modaks on a perforated plate in the steamer.
    Steam for 15-20 minutes.
    Take off heat and serve hot garnished with fresh grated coconut.

Suraj Sahoo is the Executive Chef at Novotel Vijayawada Varun.

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