Pitha is a type of cake or bread prepared in most parts of India and Bangladesh, especially eastern states of Orissa, West Bengal, Assam, Bihar and north eastern states. There are some few other names too in other states down in South. In Orissa, they are made round or oval in shape. However, here in Maharashtra, people give them a beautiful shape to offer to Lord Ganesha during Ganesh Chaturthi.
1. Modaka Ingredients:
In a pre-heated frying pan pour the finely grate coconut. Fry till brown. Add the sugar to it. Also add chopped cardamom, powdered black pepper and clove to it and fry for a minute.
Heat milk and add 125 gm sugar to it. Prepare thick dough by gradually adding the wheat flour to it. Keep on stirring while slowly adding the wheat flour. Make thick dough. Then put the dough on a tray and knead well. Make 15 to 20 balls from the dough. Then flatten each ball one by one. Put a bit of stuffing into it. Close the flattened balls and give them a round shape.
Pour ghee in a frying pan and fry the rounded balls till they turn brown. Modakas are ready to be served.
2. Manda Pitha in Syrup Ingredients:
To prepare the dough, in a medium sized bowl, add in the wheat flour, refined flour and salt. Add the hot oil to the flour and mix together all the ingredients. Then add in the water a little at a time and knead the dough till becomes firm and soft. Keep the dough covered aside for a while, to rest.
Meanwhile in a heavy bottomed pan; add in the coconut and sugar. Turn the heat to low and stir continuously until the sugar melts and caramelizes the coconut. Keep stirring on low heat until the mixture comes together with almost all the moisture evaporated. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool. Once cooled add in the cardamom powder and stir to combine well into the coconut mixture.
Divide the prepare dough into lemon sized portions. With oiled hands, flatten the dough portions with the palm of your hand. Place the small portion of coconut in the center. Bring the ends together and seal the filled dough. Proceed the same way with the remaining portions of the dough and filling. Heat oil for deep frying on medium heat; add in a few filled modak's at a time into the preheated oil and deep fry turning it continuously so that it is evenly cooked and has a deep golden brown colour. Once done, drain the excess oil and keep aside. Now heat a bowl of sugar and an equal amount of water, and let it simmer for a while until the sugar melts. Once the sugar melts in the water, dip the fried modak’s in the syrup one by one and place them in a plate.