Today is Ganesh Chaturthi. The day next few days Pune city will wear a totally festive look, when swine flu, corruption in the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth games, rising prices, low rain fall, all fade in the background.

A must-prepare dish for this festival is Modak– the favourite dish of Ganesh. For the non-Maharashtrian, Modak can be crudely compared to a momo with a sweet coconut stuffing. But that’s where the comparison ends [before I get lambasted for comparing this ‘sugran‘ (marathi word for masterchef) item to a momo…]

Only the best quality rice is used to prepare the flour for the covering. Of course its available ready made but a true sugran will make it herself. The coconut stuffing can be sweetened with jaggery or sugar. The creative part is in moulding the modak so its delicate pleats are visible even after steaming. Modak is best enjoyed with a generous helping of ‘toop‘ (ghee/clarified butter).

Catering to the need of innovation, sweet shops in Pune now offer kajoo modak (cashew), amba modak (mango), khava modak, chocolate modak (may be full chocolate or with a coconut centre) just to name a few. Chitale Bandhu is the shop for these but others offer these varieties as well.

Ganapati Bappa Moraya!

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