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Gluten-free sweet dumplings stuffed with grated coconut and jaggery ~ An easy, healthy and tasty Indian dessert recipe
About this Indian sweet dish
The sweet dumplings filled with grated coconut and jaggery also known as whole cane sugar, is a well-liked sweet delicacy in India, particularly in the western and southern regions. In India, this sweet dumpling is commonly called modak. The sweet dumpling is famously considered as the favorite sweetmeat of God Ganesha, one of the most widely worshipped Hindu gods of India. You can notice the icons of God Ganesha, either carrying a sweet dumpling in his hand or a plate piled with sweet dumplings served in front of him. Every year, God Ganesha's birthday is celebrated on any set date between August and September. The sweet dumplings are prepared especially on this god's birthday as an appeasing offering to God Ganesha. The sweet dumplings are not only delicious but also nutritious, gluten-free and diet-friendly due to the main fact that it is a steamed dessert dish which is advantageous for the health-conscious and weight-watchers alike. This sweet dish is also diabetic-friendly, provided it is eaten in moderation.
My sweet memories
I have a sweet tooth for both Indian sweets and international desserts. When I was a child, my mother used to make a variety of delectable sweets at home. One of my many favorite sweets included sweet dumplings. I recall that about ten years ago, God Ganesha's birthday fell on my birthday. As my birthday special, I ate about fifteen sweet dumplings! What I like about this sweet confection is that when it is bitten, its gooey filling oozes out, tantalizes one's taste-buds and easily satisfies one's craving for sweets without bothering about calories. This sweet dish is also an ideal anytime snack which you can pop in your mouth and enjoy them à la Nigella Lawson.
How the sweet dumpling became God Ganesha's favorite sweet
According to Hindu mythology, the demi-gods decided to pay God Shiva and his wife Goddess Parvati a visit. They brought with them a special sweet dumpling named modak as a gift for the divine couple. It was said that whoever ate this sweet dumpling, will possess all the worldly knowledge. Goddess Parvati decided to give this sweet dumpling to her sons, God Karthik and God Ganesha. Her sons, then young children, refused to share the sweet dumpling and each wanted it for himself. Goddess Parvati, first perplexed, then came up with an idea and told her sons that whoever has the deepest devotion and respect will win the sweet dumpling. God Karthik mounted his peacock and set off on a pilgrimage to many important holy places in the world. God Ganesha, born with sharp intellect and wit, told his mother that he considered his parents' abode as the most important holy place and there is no need to visit other holy places. Goddess Parvati, pleased with her younger son's words, gave him the sweet dumpling. God Karthik, on knowing this, accepted his defeat. God Ganesha considered the sweet dumpling his utmost favorite sweet as it was given by his beloved mother.
- 2 cups of grated coconut
- 200 grams of jaggery
- 300 grams of gluten-free and organic rice flour
- 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom powder
- 2 teaspoons of clarified butter (ghee)
- A pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon of sunflower oil, or vegetable oil(optional)
Nutritional information of these five ingredients
As per my meticulous research, all these five key ingredients are rich sources of manganese. The presence of sodium content in all five ingredients is extremely low. The major advantage of this recipe is that with all these ingredients (except clarified butter, if consumed in limited quantity, helps in lowering serum cholesterol), the whole sweet dish is low in cholesterol. In spite of coconut and clarified butter being high in saturated fats (and the remaining ingredients low in saturated fats), this sweet dish is nourishing and wholesome.
The importance of these five ingredients in Indian cuisine
- Rice flour: It is rice powder produced either from white rice or brown rice. It is already processed and ready-to-use. It is available in organic food markets. It is used in making steamed food dishes, pancakes, patties and several other dishes.
- Jaggery: It is a raw lump of organic whole cane sugar obtained from sugarcane or date palm tree. It is used in making a variety of sweets and curry dishes. It is available in several countries and is called by different names such as panela in Latin America, rapadura in Brazil, raspadura in Cuba and panocha in Spain
- Coconut: It is a popular fruit grown in many tropical areas of India. It is commonly used in creating many staple dishes and sweet confections.
- Green cardamoms: They are one of the most costly spices ever produced. They are often used to impart a certain taste and distinctive flavor to the sweets and spicy dishes.
- Ghee: It is also known as clarified butter and is made from melting butter. It is frequently used in numerous dishes and sweets to ensure the richness and unique taste of Indian food.
For more helpful information, visit the above mentioned ingredients in Wikipedia
Five key ingredients of this sweet recipe
In this Youtube video, the popular chef-host of video cookbook 'Chef Tips' Jason Hill will teach you how to make clarified butter
Other available options
- In case jaggery (raw whole cane sugar) is not available at your home, you can use pure honey or natural brown sugar as an healthy alternative.
- To make clarified butter, you can make it from your own homemade butter or butter purchased at the local organic market. You can learn how to make it by either reading this article How to Make Clarified Butter on www.davidlebovitz.com or viewing the video alongside this capsule. Also if it is possible, you can buy authentic Indian ghee at Indian organic grocery stores available in your locality.
- In case, the coconut is not available at your home or locality, you can buy a packet of shredded coconut at organic food markets.
- Have fun creating various shapes of rice flour dough, using your hand skills or molds. Remember to slightly grease the molds before placing the dough in them
- For a crunchier and tastier version, you can add cashew-nuts, almonds, raisins, sesame seeds, many other nuts and dry fruits to the grated coconut and jaggery mixture.
- You can make only grated coconut and jaggery balls and eat them. They are really nutritious and delicious. These sweets are extremely popular in rural India and are known as coconut jaggery laddoos. Your kids will love these sweets!
Step by step photosClick thumbnail to view full-size
- Cut fresh coconut kernel into pieces and grate them in a mixer. Put the grated coconut and powdered jaggery in a wok and cook them on medium flame, stirring continuously for 10 minutes. The jaggery melts and nicely blends with the grated coconut to form a gooey mixture. Then add ghee and cardamom powder. After 5 minutes, set aside this mixture to cool off.
- For making soft rice flour dough, add lukewarm water, a pinch of salt and one teaspoon of sunflower oil to the rice flour and mix well.
- Make medium-sized dough balls and gently press them to create flat cakes. Dab a little sunflower oil in your hand-palm so that the dough cake come out well without sticking to your hand. For each dough cake, take a small amount of the coconut and jaggery mixture and place it in the middle of the dough cake. Fold the edges of the dough cake to form a turnip-like dumpling.
- Place all the sweet dumplings in the steamer and steam them for 10 minutes. You can also cook the sweet dumplings in a microwave oven. Check out the YouTube video about steaming the sweet dumplings in the microwave oven in the end of this instructions capsule (after eBay and Amazon capsules).
- Serve these sweet dumplings happily and relish them with all your heart!
For healthy steamed food, order an electric steamer on Amazon
Learn how to make neat dough cakes and cook sweet dumplings in the microwave oven - an economical alternative to the steamer
Other delicious alternative fillings for sweet dumplings
- You can stuff sweet dumplings with chocolates (milk or dark), candies, fudge brownies, sweets, mini cakes, tarts, jam and many other sweet confections.
- You can fill the dumplings with chopped dry fruits and nuts.
- You can create fruit dumplings by making the fillings with a variety of cut fruits of your choice.
- You can add condensed milk or chocolate sauce or sugar or cream or honey to the fruits filling or dry fruits and nuts filling.
- You can drizzle a little chocolate sauce or honey on top of these dumplings to jazz up their taste.
Feel free to experiment with different fillings. You can make a variety of sweet dumplings, each with a different filling. After all, variety is the spice of life. Be adventurous with your sweet dumplings.
Do you like to make sweet dumplings?
Treat yourself with this delightful sweet dish!
This sweet dish is ideal for The Kids Cook Monday, parties and celebrations. This sweet dish is totally different from its international counterparts that it is completely gluten-free, hardly translucent, firm and nutritive. Enjoy this healthy sweet dish to your heart's content!
Copyrights © 2012 by Ishwaryaa Dhandapani
Nutrition Facts for 14 sweet dumplings
|Serving size: 14 pieces|
|Calories from Fat||540|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 60 g||92%|
|Saturated fat 50 g||250%|
|Unsaturated fat 5 g|
|Carbohydrates 452 g||151%|
|Sugar 170 g|
|Fiber 22 g||88%|
|Protein 23 g||46%|
|Cholesterol 5 mg||2%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|