|Place of origin||India|
|Region or state||India, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Myanmar|
|Main ingredients||Rice flour, or wheat and maida flour, coconut, jaggery|
Khanom tom (ขนมต้ม)
Mont lone yay baw (မုန့်လုံးရေပေါ်)
Modak (Marathi: मोदक; Japanese: 歓喜団; Thai: โมทกะ or ขนมต้ม; Malaysian: Kuih modak; Indonesian: Kue modak; Burmese: မုန့်လုံးရေပေါ်), also referred to as Koḻukattai (கொழுக்கட்டை) in Tamil, is an Indian sweet dumpling dish popular in many Indian states and cultures. According to Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, it is considered one of the favourite dishes of Lord Ganesha and the Buddha and is therefore used in prayers. The sweet filling on the inside of a modak consists of freshly grated coconut and jaggery, while the outer soft shell is made from rice flour or wheat flour mixed with khava or maida flour.
There are two types of modak, fried and steamed. The steamed version (called ukdiche modak) is often served hot with ghee.
Modak is considered to be the favourite sweet of the Hindu deity, Ganesha. From it, he gets the moniker modakapriya (one who likes modak) in Sanskrit. The word modak means "small part of bliss" and it symbolises spiritual knowledge. During Ganesh Chaturthi, the puja usually concludes with an offering of 21 or 101 modaks to Ganesha. Modaks made with rice flour shells are often preferred for this purpose, although wheat shell versions are also used. Local businesses outside Ganesh Temples across India usually sell pre-packed/ready-made versions of modaks.
Modak is also considered to be the favourite sweet of Gautama Buddha. During Buddha's Birthday, modaks are offered to the Buddha.
In Japan, a sweet similar to modak and known locally as kangidan (歓喜団), is offered to both the god Kangiten, the Japanese version of Lord Ganesha, and the Buddha. Kangidans are made from curds, honey, and red bean paste. They are wrapped in kneaded dough made from parched flour and shaped like a bun before they are deep fried. However, as the majority of Japanese are non-religious, it can be eaten at any occasions such as Shōgatsu, Culture Day, Christmas, Halloween, birthdays and retirement parties.
In the Malay world, modaks are known as kuih modak (in Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore) or kue modak (in Indonesia).
In Myanmar, modaks are known as Mont lone yay baw (မုန့်လုံးရေပေါ်) and is eaten during Thingyan.
In Thailand, modaks are known locally as Khanom tom (ขนมต้ม) and are offered to Phikanet or Phra Phikanesuan (the Thai version of Lord Ganesha) and the Buddha. It is covered in coconut shreds.
|Steamed modak (ukadiche modak in the Marathi language)||Made of coconuts and sugar/jaggery. This variation is especially prepared during the Ganesh Festival. They are hand-made and cooked in a steamer. They are perishable and need to be consumed immediately.|
|Fried modak||Deep fried in oil instead of being steamed. Frying makes the modaks last longer and have a different taste.|
|Mawa modak||These are khoa (milk solids) based preparations that are shaped like a modak. A variety of flavors can be obtained by addition of materials such as pistachio, cardamom, chocolate, and almond.|