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Ukadiche Modak (Rice).jpg
Alternative namesKoḻukattai
Place of originIndia
Region or stateIndia, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Myanmar
Main ingredientsRice flour, or wheat and maida flour, coconut, jaggery
VariationsKangidan (歓喜団)
Khanom tom (ขนมต้ม)
Kuih modak
Kue modak
Mont lone yay baw (မုန့်လုံးရေပေါ်)

Modak (Sanskrit: 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,[1] 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.[2][3] 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.[4]

There are two types of modak, fried and steamed. The steamed version (called ukdiche modak)[5] is often served hot with ghee.


According to culinary historian Darra Goldstein, modaka is an ancient sweet that dates back to around 200 BCE.[6] Early mention of modakas are found in Ayurveda, Ramayana, Mahabharata where it is described as dumpling confectionery with sweet stuffing. Sangam literature similarly mentions modakas as rice dumpling filled with sweet stuffing and were also sold by street vendors in ancient city of Madurai.[7][8] The medieval Manasollasa culinary text mentions Modaka as prepared with rice flour, sweet stuffings with some aromatic spices such as cardamom and camphor were called Varsopalagolakas because they looked like hailstones.[9] Fried modakas are made with wheat flour, while steamed modakas are made from rice flour.[10]

Religious significance


Modak is considered to be the favourite sweet of the Hindu deity, Ganesha.[2] 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.[11] 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.

Malay world

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.


Type Characteristics
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.[12][13][14]
Fried modak Deep fried in oil instead of being steamed. Frying makes the modaks last longer and have a different taste.[15]
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.

See also


  1. ^ S, Latha Maheswari (3 October 2015). So Tasty Healthy Low Calorie Vegetarian Cooking Book-2: Take care calorie by calorie DOSAS AND SOUTH INDIAN MOUTH WATERING VARIETIES. AB Publishing House. p. 130. ISBN 978-1-5176-3269-4.
  2. ^ a b Chef Mandaar Sukhtankar (24 August 2017). "A modak by any other name". The Hindu. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  3. ^ "Indian classic: Modak". Traveldine.
  4. ^ "Modak Recipe".
  5. ^ "Jatra gets its flavour from Maharashtra for authentic taste". The Times of India. Indore. 7 October 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  6. ^ The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets - Page 82, Darra Goldstein · 2015
  7. ^ Food in Pathupattu Part III Maduraikanchi - Achaya, K.T. Indian Food: A Historical Companion. Oxford University Press 1994
  8. ^ Champakalakshmi R. Trade, ideology and Urbanization South India 300 BC to 1300 AD. Oxford University Press India 1996.
  9. ^ Traditional Foods: Some Products and Technologies - Page 55, Central Food Technological Research Institute (India) · 1986
  10. ^ The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets - Page 82, Darra Goldstein · 2015
  11. ^ "Why is Ganapati with the right sided trunk not commonly worshipped?". Sanatan Sanstha. 14 September 2005. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  12. ^ Khanna, Vikas (2013). SAVOUR MUMBAI: A CULINARY JOURNEY THROUGH INDIA's MELTING POT. New Delhi: Westland Limited. ISBN 9789382618959.
  13. ^ Reejhsinghani 1975, p. x [1].
  14. ^ Reejhsinghani, Aroona (1975). Delights from Maharashtra. New Delhi. ISBN 9788172245184.
  15. ^ Modak