The Modak Puff

This entry has taken me longer than I expected and that’s because it had to be absolutely perfect. A Ganesh Chathurthi special it’s my crunchy, savoury twist on the traditional ‘Modak‘. Modaks are steamed dumplings with an outer rice flour casing and a gorgeous jaggery and coconut filling on the inside. These steamed Modaks are called ‘Ukadiche Modak’ in Maharashtra.

I call my version the ‘Modak Puff’. The outer casing is a flaky, melt in the mouth puff pastry with a traditional coconut filling on the inside. After four days of struggling to get the dough right I finally nailed it and seeing T absolutely engrossed in finishing the puff just made it worth the wait.

One thing I learned from this exercise was that puff pastry requires a LOT of patience but once you get it right you can’t help but do a little jig to celebrate plus I’d say it’s nice to add this one to your repertoire. I used Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Rough Puff Pastry‘ recipe for this one with the addition of lime juice.

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  • 250g Maida
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 250g Unsalted butter, at room temperature, but not soft
  • About 150ml cold water
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice


  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Roughly break the butter in small chunks, add them to the bowl and rub them in loosely. You need to see bits of butter.
  2. Make a well in the bowl and pour in about two-thirds of the cold water, and lime juice mixing until you have a firm rough dough(do not over work your dough, that will activate the gluten)  adding extra water if needed. Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 20 mins in the fridge.
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured board, knead gently and form into a smooth rectangle. Roll the dough in one direction only, until 3 times the width, about 20 x 50cm. Keep edges straight and even. Don’t overwork the butter streaks; you should have a marbled effect.
  4. Fold the top third down to the centre, then the bottom third up and over that. Give the dough a quarter turn (to the left or right) and roll out again to three times the length. Fold as before, cover with cling film and chill for at least 20 mins before rolling to use.
  5. Roll out a small portion of the dough to a desired sized square.
  6. Place the coconut filling in diagonally and fold the square across such that it forms a triangle.
  7. Butter the baking try and the top of the pastry.
  8. Bake on 200ºC for about 15-20mins or until golden brown.


Coconut Filling:

  1. Heat ghee in a pan. Add poppy seeds, cardamom powder and nutmeg powder. Saute for a minute.
  2. Then add grated fresh coconut and powdered/grated jaggery.
  3. Mix well and cook this coconut-jaggery mixture on a low flame, the jaggery will melt first.
  4. Stir at times and cook this mixture till the moisture from the jaggery begins to dry. Switch off the flame. Don’t overcook as the jaggery will harden. Keep this coconut-jaggery filling aside.




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