The following post was originally published to LoveLaughMirch.com and republished here with permission.
Rainbow Malai Modaks are creamy, soft, and made with just a few ingredients! Ganpati Bappa reminds me of everything sweet and adorable, so I wanted to make a mithai that represents just that. Ganesh Chaturthi is the Hindu festival celebrating the birth of Lord Ganesh. The festival is marked with the installation of Ganesh idols in homes or in public communities. On the last day, idols are taken to the sea to be immersed in water.
The base of Rainbow Malai Modaks are similar to my Kesar Pedas. To get different colors, I used a few drops of food coloring. You can use any color of your choice, there are lots of natural and organic options available as well. You can also leave them as is in their natural creamy, milky color. I used a Modak mould to shape these, but you can also shape them by hand, first into a ladoo and then pinch the top until pointy.
But why do we bring new idols home and say goodbye a few days later?
One of the reasons new idols are used for worship is that symbolically they represent the welcoming of Lord Ganesh. It’s believed that during this time the energy attracted by Ganesh idols is very strong and requires one to follow strict daily devotion, which can be difficult for many of us with busy lives and schedules. Therefore, a new idol of Lord Ganesh is brought home during Ganesh Chaturthi and Ganesh energy is invoked in it. When we immerse the idol in water, we are hoping that Ganesh drowns our sorrows and sadness. Traditionally mud/clay idols were preferred as just as Lord Ganesha was created naturally, he would go back, naturally.
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE RAINBOW MALAI MODAK
Milk Powder or Mawa Powder:You can find milk powder in the shelf-stable dairy aisle or at your local South Asian supermarket.
Condensed Milk: This helps gives the modaks their sweet, fudge-like taste. Because of this, you will notice that I haven’t used sugar in this recipe, as the condensed milk used is sweet enough.
Other Ingredients: Aside from the dried and condensed milk you’ll need whole milk, cardamom powder, food color and ghee (or butter).
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
¾ cup whole milk powder or mawa powder
¾ cup condensed milk
2 tablespoon ghee or butter
¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
2 tablespoon whole milk, warm
food coloring, a few drops of your favorite colors
In a heavy bottom pan on medium-low heat add the ghee or butter. When it melts, add the milk powder.
Mix well and bhunno/roast on low medium heat for 10 minutes. The mixture will resemble a sand type texture, watch it closely to ensure it does not burn.
Once it roasts, add the condensed milk and warm whole milk. Quickly mix the ingredients to ensure no lumps form and keep mixing with a spatula.
Cook for 15-18 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken. You can tell the mixture is ready to come off the heat once the modak dough doesn’t slide off the spatula.
Add the cardamom powder, mix and turn off the heat.
Divide the Modak dough in a few small bowls and add your favorite food coloring to them and mix until incorporated.
Have a plate ready and grease palms or Modak mould with ghee or butter.
While the mixture is hot but cool enough to handle (not burning), take a tiny bit of dough from each of the small bowls and use a Modak mould to shape.
Alternatively, take tiny bits of dough from each of the small bowls until you have a tablespoon full in your hands. Roll into a ball and then pull the top up until pointy.
Store in an airtight tin at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
It is officially that time of year—the holiday season. There’s nothing like Christmas and New Year’s in the West Indies. Between the pepperpot in Guyana and the palm trees decorated in lights in Trinidad, the home food, warm weather and laid-back ambiance makes us wish we could escape the cold and head back to the Caribbean. Most of us, however, cannot “take holiday” and find ourselves hungry for fresh dhal puri and doubles. But, thanks to these Indo-Caribbean food bloggers, we can bring the motherland to our kitchens.
From Diwali mithai specialties to curry chicken, Matthew is creating a name for himself as a young Guyanese food blogger. He makes a great effort to incorporate Hindu holidays and traditions on his Instagram account, in conjunction with the customary foods and sweets associated with these religious events. However, his expertise does not end there, with new and alternative recipes for classic dishes such as curry chicken and bhara, Matthew takes center stage sharing both traditional Guyanese dishes as well as specific religious dishes made for festivals. His most popular YouTube video, with 1.4 million views, features his grandmother and focuses on the best tips to make the softest Guyanese paratha roti. In addition, his YouTube account is home to many videos offering guidance to Indo Caribbean cooking. Find recipes at @mattews.guyanese.cooking
Natasha Laggan of Trini Cooking with Natasha is wildly popular throughout the Caribbean and the U.S. With humble beginnings, Natasha credits her love of food to her family’s business. She speaks of the nostalgia home food provides her as she reminisces memories of her grandmother’s cooking and helping her mother make sandwiches early in the morning. Featured by Forbes, Natasha grew her Facebook following quickly throughout the pandemic by posting old YouTube videos. Today, she has more than 1 million followers on Facebook and over 200K followers on YouTube. She uses her passion for cooking and Trinidadian culture to bring easy-to-follow recipes to viewers. Her following has now reached the West Indian diaspora globally as she has also become a brand ambassador to two well-known food companies. Follow the food expert @trinicookingwithnatasha.
With over 100K followers on YouTube, Ria is quite the expert when it comes to making roti. Her dhal puri, sada roti and paratha roti tutorials have over 1M views! However, her expertise does not stop there. Of the 180 YouTube tutorials, her recipes vary from curry to other Trinidadian favorites like macaroni pie and pigtail soup. Just scrolling through her YouTube page makes your mouth water. From doubles to classic Trinidad bakes like pound cake and sweet bread, she provides precision and anecdotal commentary while guiding you through the familiarity of home food. Check out Ria’s page at @cookingwithria.
Known as Chef Devan, Devan Rajkumar embraces his Guyanese Canadian heritage by creating recipes combining flavors of both the East and West Indies. His love of food has allowed him to expand his role to judge in a popular Canadian cooking show: Food Network Canada’s Fire Masters. His cooking often blends the flavors of multiple cultures but also creates the classic recipes of his motherland. With a multitude of interests, Chef Dev uses his social media platform to connect with followers by sharing various aspects of his life that go beyond cooking. His most recent YouTube video provides a trailer for an upcoming video “Tastes Guyana” which shows him exploring Guyana from the inside, specifically deep parts of the inner country. To learn more about Chef Devan follow @chefdevan.
Reshmi is the chef behind the growing blog, Taste of Trinbago. A Trinidadian native who now resides in Texas, she uses her love of food and Trinidadian culture to share hacks, tips and easy recipes with West Indians throughout the globe. She finds a way to simplify traditional West Indian meals, that we once watched our elders make with curiosity. From holiday specialties like black cake to Diwali delicacies, Reshmi has brought vegetarian and non-veg recipes to followers in an extremely accessible way. She even posts recipe cards on her IG highlights for followers who may need written instructions. Her IG profile is a mix of various West Indian foods while also sharing bits of her life and even her secrets to baby food. Follow her @tasteoftrinbago.
These are just five Indo Caribbean food bloggers sharing their secrets to easy cooking. The once very daunting recipes and food instructions our parents gave have been simplified by most of these bloggers through video, voice over and modernized recipes. We no longer have to estimate a “dash, pinch or tuk” of any masala. We are just days away from Christmas and this is the perfect time to find the best-suited recipe to make that paratha for Santa.