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India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont

Ganesh Chaturthi – or Vinayaka Chaturthi – is a ten-day festival, held to honor the Hindu god of intelligence, Ganesha. The day usually falls in the months of August or September, and is observed with prayer, public and private display of Ganesha idols, chanting of Vedic hymns, and fasting.

Modaks (in the Marathi language), or Modakams (in the Tamil language), are steamed or fried dumplings made from rice flour, wheat flour, or all-purpose flour, and stuffed with jaggery and grated coconut. They are said to be Lord Ganesh’s favorite sweet offered to him on the occasion of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.

I have used simple ingredients such as ricotta cheese, milk powder, condensed milk, cardamom powder, and saffron to create a new version of the original recipe. Learn to make these quick, easy, and tasty modakams by following the recipe below. In addition, I wanted to showcase my Ganesha collection that I have collected over the past two decades. This collection comprises of Ganesha figures made using different materials, namely, paper, clay, glass, stone, wood, betel nut etc. Enjoy!

Ricotta cheese modakams. (Photo courtesy of Jayashree Krishnan)


Ricotta cheese – 2 cups

Milk powder – 1 cup

Sweetened condensed milk – 1 cup

Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp

A few strands of Saffron


(A modakam mold can be used to easily shape the pieces.)

(Photo courtesy of Jayashree Krishnan)


  1. Transfer the Ricotta cheese into a nonstick pan and start to mix well on medium flame for 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add milk powder and mix well.
  3. Add sweetened condensed milk and saffron strands while continuing to mix well.
  4. Cook until mixture begins to lose moisture and becomes a bit thicker in consistency for 7-8 minutes.
  5. Add cardamom powder and mix well.
  6. Transfer the mixture into a separate bowl.
  7. Allow the mixture to cool for 10 – 15 minutes.
  8. Grease the modakam mold with a little ghee or butter.
  9. Keeping the modakam mold closed, stuff a small portion of the mixture from the bottom hole.
  10. Simply press the mixture with your finger towards the center of the mold so that it takes the shape of the mold.
  11. Then slowly open the mold, gently remove the modakams from it, and place it on a plate.
  12. Repeat the above steps using the remaining mixture to make the rest of the modakams.
  13. Serve the cheese modakams soon after, or store them in an airtight container and refrigerate them until serving.
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Jayashree Krishnan

Jayashree Krishnan is an educator and founder of the custom bakery “Jay’s Creations” based in Irving, Texas. She has written recipes on Indian desserts in a couple of magazines published in the United...