Here's another recipe inspired by the modak and driven by the desperate need to sneak
more veggies into my child.
I've used the delicate rice flour skin of the festive favourite to bundle in a creamy savoury filling of vegetables. I would have loved to create the pointy topped shape of the traditional modak, but I found out (the hard way of course) that certain 7 year olds will not eat things that look like modaks, if they don't taste like modaks :(
The recipe for these little savoury modaks is complicated - for one, there are multiple pans involved, and at least three encounters with the hob. But the flip side is that these chubby snacks are steamed and there's barely a dot of fat in the whole thing, and gluttony will, for once, be justified.
Here's how the recipe goes.
(for 12 mini modaks or 6 large ones)
1 cup rice flour
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 tsp oil
1/2 cup cauliflower florets (chopped finely if you have the energy. I didn't.)
1 chopped onion
2 cobs of corn, grated
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
2 tsp butter
1/4 cups of milk
1 tsp flour
Melt the butter in a saucepan and sauté the chopped onion until it turns translucent. Add corn and cauliflower and season with salt and butter, stirring frequently to coat the vegetables with butter. Sprinkle in flour and stir continuously to 'cook' the flour without browning it. Add milk and stir to combine. Cover the pan and cook for a few minutes until you end up with a thick, fragrant mixture. If you didn't chop the cauliflower finely, it's a good idea to bash it a bit with the ladle at this stage.
While the filling cools, get started on the skin.
Boil the water and oil in a pan (I used a frying pan). As soon as the water comes to a boil, sprinkle in the rice flour, stirring continuously to prevent lumps. In a couple of minutes, the flour will change in texture, and get glutinous and translucent. Take the pan off the hob and leave to cool slightly.
Wet your hands while the flour mixture is still quite warm and knead to a smooth dough. The texture will be quite different from a dough made with flour - smoothness and malleability are the things to look for here.
Shape the 'dough' into 12 small balls if you're making a snack, and 6 large ones you're planning to make a meal of it. I made 6 little balls and reserved the rest of the dough for another filling.
Moisten your hands and flatten a ball until you have a thin disc. Ideally the edges shouldn't be so jagged, but it doesn't really matter if you're not blogging about it :P
Set a spoonful of the filling in the centre and bring the edges up to form a dumpling. Incidentally, the black line on the top edge of the disc and in many of the other pictures is not dirt, it's a crack on my camera lens that I am too cheap to replace.
Arrange the dumplings into a greased flat bottomed pan that can sit comfortably into a steamer. Do remember to leave a little space in between as the modaks will spread slightly.
Like a lot of steamed snacks, these are best served immediately. But if you want to eat them later, just pop them back into the steamer for a couple of minutes and they'll be pretty good :)