Sweetened rice dumpling (Modak / Kozhukattai)
This is made during the Hindu festival of Vinayaka Chathurthi, as an offering to Lord Ganesha, the god who removes obstacles. I love this yummy dessert, but I'm not a great fan of coconut. So my recipe substitutes half the coconut in the filling with milk solids (khoa) and it tastes great!


rice flour - 1 cup
grated coconut - 1/2 cup
khoa (unsweetened) - 1/2 cup (can be replaced with grated coconut as well)
jaggery - 3/4 cup
oil/ghee - 1 tsp


For the filling:
Wet the jaggery with a little water and melt it in a frying pan. Add coconut and khoa. Cook until thick, with a few drops of ghee. Allow it to cool for a few minutes. When it is still warm, make small, dime-sized balls and set aside.

For the covering:
Heat a cup of water. When it starts to boil, add oil and rice flour. Stir and mix well. Sprinkle some more hot water as required to make a soft dough. Allow to cool until it is just warm enough to handle. Take a gooseberry-sized ball of dough and shape it like a cup with oiled fingers. Place the filling in it, cover it and shape the top like a little beak. Repeat the process for the remaining flour / filling until all the modaks are shaped. Steam-cook for about 15 minutes until the modak's outer covering looks slightly transparent.
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