Thursday, August 26, 2010

Indian Coconut-Cardamom Rice Dumplings (Modak)

Modak, traditional steamed dumplings for Ganesh Chathurti, are made with a sweet, cardamom-flavored filling wrapped in a soft rice dough and shaped like pears.
These dumplings ended up remarkably like the Chinese Nuo Mi Ci dumplings of July.  The filling was made of peanuts (a substitute for pistachios or cashews), dried coconut, raw sugar (Rapadura), and the seeds of twenty cardamom pods (about half a teaspoon).  I think next time I'd grind the cardamom pods because it was a bit overwhelming to bite into a whole cardamom seed.  The dough - and I have become fond of rice flour doughs - is made of white rice flour mixed with boiling water, butter and a little salt.  This is the first time a rice dough has called for fat, and the butter softens it beautifully.  In the end, the flavor combination of soft white rice, fragrant cardamom, butter and sugar was reminiscent of kheer, another amazing Indian dessert.

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