Why is modak Lord Ganeshs favourite | Recipes | Chef Sanjeev Kapoor

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Ganesh Chathurthi

The celebrations for the long awaited Ganesh Chaturthi are finally here. The day is filled with celebrations and lots of delicious food to welcome his sacred presence. And one thing that is known to be Lord Ganesh’s favourite is of course- Modaks. But do you know why?

So there are two tales in the mythological folklore that tell us about the significance of modaks with Lord Ganesh. According to one story, Godess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva and mother of Lord Ganesh and Lord Kartikeya visited Devlok. Along with her, she carried a divine modak with special powers that would make its consumer wise and knowledgeable in all art and writing. She presented Lord Ganesh and Lord Kartikeya with this modak, who upon hearing about its divine properties started to fight to get the chance to eat it, without wanting to share it. Goddess Parvati, confused with this conundrum came up with an idea.

She decided to make this a challenge of wit. She asked what does devotion and sincerity mean to them? The person who reveals the true meaning of devotion and sincerity will get the modak. So in order to decipher this mystery, Lord Kartikeya mounted his vahana and set off to faraway spiritual lands in search for the answer. Lord Ganesh on the other hand started revolving around Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. After completing his parikrama, Parvati asked him why he did this. To which, Lord Ganesh answered that the devotion and sincerity towards our parents is of utmost importance. It is the only one that matters. Devotion and spirituality at other spiritual places comes later.

Impressed with the witty and appropriate response, Goddess Parvati decided to give him the holy modak, which not only made him the wisest god, but also made modak his favourite sweet. 

However, another folklore states that one day, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati along with Lord Ganesha visited Anusuya – the wife of a holy sage, Atri. A famished Lord Shiva was made to sit beside Lord Ganesh for the meal. Anusuya, however stated that only once Lord Ganesh’s hunger is satiated, can she serve Lord Shiva. Lord Ganesha was being served platters full of delicious delicacies, while Lord Shiva sat with a rumbling stomach; but strangely, none were able to satisfy Lord Ganesh’s hunger. This went to such an extent that they almost ran out of food to serve.

Astonished by this, Anusuya served one final sweet to Ganesha. Once Ganesha ate this, he let out a huge burp, signifying that his hunger was finally satiated. What was even more surprising is that as soon as Ganesh burped, so did Lord Shiva and that too not once or twice – but 21 times in total! Unexpectedly, even Lord Shiva felt satiated and didn’t want to eat anymore.

Surprised by all this, Goddess Parvati asked Anusuya about the sweet that she served Ganesh. She then revealed that it was the mighty modak itself. Since then, modaks became a welcomed inclusion to Lord Ganesh’s offerings during the celebrations to satiate his appetite.

If you want to try making your very own modaks at home, while pleasing Ganesha and your guests, we’ve got a few interesting recipes that you could try out.

Mawa Modak

The one that is commonly seen in sweet stores across the nation, the modak uses mawa or khoya, along with liquid glucose and elaichi powder, and squeezed into the moulds to get the desired shape.

Ukdiche Modak

To the uninitiated these might look like dumplings or momos, but in fact these are the authentic modaks that is served to Ganesha in the Maharashtrian tradition. This modak is made using rice flour covering with coconut and jaggery, poppy seeds and elaichi filling on the inside which is then steamed to perfection.

Chocolate Mango Modak

This is an interesting spin to the traditional modak. Loaded with mango-infused chocolate and topped with golden varak, the Chocolate Mango Modak is not only a favourite for the kids, but it also brings a refreshing contrast to the regular authentic modaks

Have you heard of any other stories about why modaks are Lord Ganesh’s favourite?




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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.