Friday, March 19, 2010

Sweet Dessert Dumplings..Gluten Free!!!

 Almost everybody loves desserts, however not  everybody loves what desserts do to them. I'm not talking here about the amazing expanding waistline, larger pants size problem. I talking about gluten intolerance.  There are a lot of desserts that involve wheat flour and there's the rub. It's the gluten in the wheat that makes desserts off limits for so many. Fortunately there are a lot of products out there for those who have to steer clear of wheat and even more do-it-yourself recipes out there for people who love dessert, even when dessert doesn't love them.
   When I posted a recipe for dhoklas, the delicious fermented Gujarati bread made from chickpea flour, I was surprised at how many people I heard from who were interested in yet another gluten free dish. How great would it be if I could find some gluten free desserts? Turns out there are quite a few in the Indian kitchen.
  Modaks are a traditional sweet served all over Western and South India for the festival  of Lord Ganesha.

 These delicious, coconut stuffed sweets are sometimes made using wheat flour. Sometimes the dumplings are deep fried, sometimes they are steamed. In the south of India however, the dumplings are steamed and made of rice flour. Gluten free rice flour!
  These little treats  first came to my attention when I ran across them at the blog Niyas'World. They looked so tempting I just had to have some. I did my research and studied every modak recipe I could find. Most of them were pretty similar.I had all the fixings at home and since I was curious to explore more gluten free recipes, I thought why not give them a try? So I did.
  And here's how I did it.
The Stuffing
    1 cup of grated dried unsweetened coconut
   1/2 cup of jaggery or brown sugar
    2 tsp of ghee or melted butter
     1/4 cup of milk
   1/4 cup of chopped pistachios
   1/4 cup of golden raisins
     1 tsp of ground cardamom
       In a heavy pan heat the jaggery or sugar. When it begins to melt, add in the grated coconut and melted butter and everything else. Stir it together. It will become thick. Take it off the heat and let it cool. That's the filling for the dumplings.
  The Dough
     1 cup of rice flour
      4 tsp of ghee or melted butter
    1 cup of water
    A pinch of salt
         Putting It All Together
   Bring the water to a boil
  When it boils add the melted butter

   Mix in the rice flour and the pinch of salt.

It will quickly congeal into a thick doughy mass.

Take it off the stove and grease  your hands lightly.  I sprayed mine with Pam  spray (no smart remarks please) the dough will be very hot, so be careful.
Knead it briefly, the greasing of the palms will help.
Roll pieces of the dough into balls and then flatten them as though making small chapattis.

  Place a small scoop of the stuffing in the center of the  flat flour disc

Shape it into a garlic clove shaped dumpling and place the dumplings into a steamer that has been lightly greased.

Steam the dumplings for 20 minutes.
Serve them with a bit of ghee or melted butter.

Mmmmmmmmmmm good!
  These Modaks are said to be the favorite food of Lord Ganesha, also known as the Remover of Obstacles and therefore always served at his Festival.  If gluten is an obstacle keeping you from enjoying desserts, this might be one for you.


  1. What an interesting dessert. I love the taste of cardamom, much less coconut and pistachios. Wonderful little pouches!

  2. Ah coconut - I think I am as addicted to coconut as much as you, I just made some coconut dessert too today. Those dumplings remind me of the Asian dumpling with rice flour. I didn't know there was a sweet Indian version of it. Do you eat them warm or cold? They do look so cute and I am sure delightful!

  3. lovely.. kathy.. u have presented it well..
    we also call it kozhakattai in south india and it id offered for lord ganesha

  4. Mmmm! Delicious... Now you've got me craving sweets. I don't even know if that's a good or bad thing these days..!

  5. These look delicious and that combination of coconut and cardamom has my mouth watering.

  6. I have to try these now! I have been searching for a gf dumpling recipe for so long! thank you. Do you think this might work with a meat filling?
    can't wait to try these.



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