These delicious Kesar Pista Mawa Modaks are so soft that they just melt-in-your-mouth. Their soft yellow colour with reddish tints of saffron strands and some light green colour from slivered pistachios peeping through along with tempting aroma of cardamom powder and saffron make these Modaks irresistible. And they look so pretty that you can't stop yourself from taking a picture of them.
Here is a quick video of How to make Kesar Pista Mawa Modak:
Exactly like ones in temples or sweet shops
These mawa modaks will remind you of having prasad in temple or eating some mawa sweet as they taste totally like the ones you get in temples or sweet shops. After you have had one, you won't be able to stop yourself from having the next one!
As I have been living away from India for many years, buying fresh, ready-made mawa/khoya from stores is not always easy. And while making Indian sweets, mawa is one of the main ingredients in many. Adding mawa takes sweets to a whole new level. So, as mawa/khoya is not readily available, I often make it at home, with milk powder. It speeds up the process and reduces the effort of making mawa, as you don't need to keep boiling and stirring the milk for long till it reduces.
Making homemade khoya / khawa in this manner is a good option if it is not easy to find in stores near you or if you are not sure of its freshness. But remember, when you make mawa from milk powder at home always use full cream whole milk powder.
Room temperature milk
Remember to use room temperature milk. If you use cold milk from refrigerator, milk powder might not dissolve well. And if you use hot milk, it can sometimes causes lumps to form.
Low Heat and Constant Stirring
Always use a non-stick pan for making mawa as it is quite sticky initially. Mawa / Khawa shouldn't have lumps in it, so always heat the milk and milk powder mixture on low setting and keep stirring constantly till its done or else it might form lumps, burn and stick to the pan.
Cook till mawa starts leaving the sides of the pan and starts holding shape. At this stage immediately remove it in a bowl as leaving it in a hot pan will mean it will keep cooking and loosing moisture further and will become hard and crumbly.
Adding sugar at right time
Before moving to the next step of making modaks make sure khoya is cool to touch. Adding sugar earlier when it is hot will make your khoya very loose and runny.
Another method is to add sugar to mawa in the pan itself when it is semi-solid, then cook this mixture till mawa leaves the sides of pan and then remove it off the heat and make modaks. I have tried this method, and though with this method modak holds its shape better, it results in chewy and sticky modaks which are not as soft. So I prefer to add sugar after mawa is cool to touch.
Refrigeration is important
Though mawa changes it texture after adding sugar, keeping it covered in refrigerator for 3 hours before shaping the modaks gives it the right soft dough consistency making it easier to shape modaks.
If after refrigerating for 3 hours you still feel that mawa is not having a soft dough consistency, its still sticky and you are finding it hard to shape modaks, you can refrigerate it for another 1 or 2 hours and try again after it hardens and is easier to handle.
Believe me, doing this one extra step of refrigerating mawa till it reaches right consistency after adding sugar, will result in super soft, melt-in-the-mouth modaks; instead of adding sugar in the pan to hot mawa and cooking further to speed things up!
Pistachios liven up texture and colour
Stuffing modaks with slivered pistachios will add a slight crunchy texture to the soft outer covering. Also, while stuffing modaks, some slivered pistachios will invariably get stuck to the outer mawa covering. These will add some soft green colour to modaks making them look more beautiful.
Its easy to shape these modaks. You need to just press the ball from top from all sides to give a conical shape. Then with the help of fork or toothpick make 10 equidistant vertical lines on each modak. After this, the final step is to press modak gently from top, which will widen the vertical lines and give it the typical broad base modak look, even without a mould.
Finishing touches with Saffron
Now to finish it all off, place a saffron strand which is soaked in milk to each modak. The sharp red colour of a saffron strand on light yellow modak will take its looks to another level, making it look even prettier! Try this for yourself and see the difference it makes.
After you have made all modaks, keep them in refrigerator for another hour. Remember, while you are stuffing and shaping the modaks, mawa has turned bit soft and sticky, so refrigerating it for a while will harden it a bit, making it easier to handle while serving.
You can store these modaks in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for about a week.
Try this recipe out for yourself to see how delicious these modaks are and let me know in comments how it went for you.
Check out other OvalShelf's festive recipes to see how easy it is to make festive food. Why not try Fried Modaks as prasad for next Ganesh festival. Or Kesar Pista Shrikhand if you fancy a treat. If you are stuck for ideas for next party, check out these easy desserts.
Recipe Card for Kesar Pista Mawa Modak
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