Origin and Evolution of Modak

As the Ganpati festival is just around the corner, everyone, especially Mumbaikars, are ready to welcome the God of Luck with all pomp and cheer.

BUT WHAT IS GANESH CHATURTHI WITHOUT MODAKS?

The association of Modak with Ganesh Chaturthi has been a topic of discussion for a long time. But the reason they are called Bappa’s most-loved food item has its roots in the Padma Purana.

As per Hindu mythology, Anusuya, the wife of Sage Atri, invited Lord Ganesha along with his parents Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati for a feast. She served Lord Ganesha a variety of dishes, but he still wasn’t satisfied. Anusuya then decided to serve something sweet. She then prepared a Modak and served it with a lot of excitement and a little nervousness to Lord Ganesha. After he ate the modak, he felt satisfied and this satiated his parents’ hunger too. An interesting part of this feasting was that after eating the modak, both Lord Ganesha and Lord Shiva burped 21 times. Because of this popular belief that a Modak alone could satisfy their hunger, it has become a ritual to offer 21 modaks to Lord Ganesha at the time of worship.

ORIGIN OF MODAK

Modak is a sweet, similar in shape and size to the stuffed dumplings we all are familiar with today. They are thought to have originated in Maharashtra and are called by different names in different regions of India, for example –

  1. Modak is the word used in Marathi
  2. It is popularly known as modakam or kudumu in Telugu
  3. Kadubu in Kannada
  4. Kozhukatta in Malayalam
  5. Kozhukattai in Tamil

HOW IS MODAK PREPARED?

Traditionally, Modaks are prepared with rice or wheat flour in different sizes as per different beliefs and traditions. They are stuffed with a mouth-watering filling of grated coconut, jaggery, dry fruits, cardamom, raisins, and sweet light species. These can either be steamed or fried. The steamed modak is called Udakiche Modak and is served in Ganesh Puja with a bowlful of ghee.

MODAK – EVOLUTION FROM TRADITIONAL TO MODERN-DAY TWIST!

Everything around is getting a makeover and Modaks aren’t left behind. Today, sweet shops are brimming with Modaks made of a variety of ingredients. You may find varieties of Modaks such as -

  1. The never heard combination of Spicy and Salty Modaks
  2. In contemporary flavors like Rose Kaju Modak, Strawberry Kaju Modak, Kaju Chocolate Modak, Kesar Chocolate Modak, and Raspberry

While the innovative twist to this traditional delicacy is a rage, traditional steamed modaks are also thriving!

But overall, sweet shops have limited the supply of the traditional Modak and have donned their thinking hats to come up new & mouth-watering versions of Modak.

As the devotees are all pumped to bring Bappa home. We can’t wait to see the proceedings accompanied by the chants of Ganpati Bappa Morya!, echoing through the streets, accompanied by dance and distribution of Modaks.