Offbeat sweets for Lord Ganesha
Tradition may demand that the Lord Ganesha be welcomed with a generous dose of sweetmeats, but who says the humdrum modak is the only way to go? Moeena Halim picks gourmet desserts that offer innovative options to replace the traditional rice flour shells stuffed with a coconut and jaggery concoction
A fusion treat
Ganeshji must be fed up of modaks. He needs a change,” says Chef Harsh Shodhan from the Gourmet Catering Co. Move over modak, the Gourmet Catering Co’s muffins are here. Shodhan, adding an Indian twist to the American dessert, is offering a host of Indian flavoured muffins including kesar-pista, roasted almond, salted peanuts and kesar-elaichi. These might sound more like kulfi flavours to you, and that’s just what Shodhan wants. “The idea is to offer Indian flavour, but dish up western desserts at the same time. Indian sweets are done to death and I wanted to offer something different. Most people would avoid offering chocolate to god, so I needed an alternative to that too. Muffins I felt are a great option; they’re not lathered with buttercream or frosting. I make them eggless, so they’re perfect for festivals.”
For: Rs 25 per piece
Served in a jar
If you’re looking for an indulgence fit for the Lord of letters and learning, Aseema Mamaji’s bottled story is just what you need. Mamaji’s month-old culinary venture Story in a Jar, which creates customised desserts according to personal tastes, introduces a special treat for the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi.
“We call this dessert in a jar the Lambodhara Mishtana. Lambodhara refers to Lord Ganesha’s pot belly, while Mishtana is something sweet offered to the god,” explains the young chef. The dessert has about four to five layers, starting with the basic ukadiche modak (the traditional steamed modak). “It will be made using the traditional ingredients, but it will be flattened in the jar, not served as a dumpling. We are also using rice pudding flavoured with hibiscus, the flower associated with Lord Ganesha, banana sheera and motichur laddoo. We will also add a layer of durva, a herb that has medicinal properties. The final embellishment will have a fondant kroncha (Ganesha’s vahana -- the mouse),” adds Mamaji. The carefully chosen ingredients offer stories about Ganesha, but whether you enjoy the tales or not, the indulgent dessert will certainly leave you with a sugar high.
For: Rs 1,100 per jar
Looks can be deceiving
Boutique catering service Eat Drink Design’s Chef Nilesh Patate has a line-up of innovative desserts up his sleeve for the upcoming festival. Known for its use of molecular gastronomy and an eye for design and detail, EDD dubs its festive desserts “global lookalikes.” Fusing traditional Indian flavours with exotic ingredients such as ricotta and raspberry, the chef also uses Indian inspirations to spruce up western goodies. But while their white chocolate mousse gets a dose of rose and cardamom, they’re also giving the traditional modak and gujiya a makeover. “The deep fried gujiyas, traditionally stuffed with khoya and coconut, get an all-new filling. We’re using strawberry, ricotta and coconut. We are also serving steamed chocolate modaks filled with molten chocolate which oozes out when you take a bite. It’s likely to remind you of a chocolate lava cake,” explains Patate. The idea of these deceptive desserts, adds Patate, is that take you down memory lane of eating the food from your childhood, but also offer a completely different texture and mouth-feel.
For: Rs 200 to Rs 1,000
Fond of fondue?
For foodies in the city, Out of the Blue unquestionably spells fondue. And in honour of the festive season, Chef Juliano Rodrigues has added an innovative new fondue on the Bandra restaurant’s menu. “The Modak Fondue is a deconstructed modak, which I am serving in a fondue pot. While I’m keeping the filling traditional -- combining coconut, jaggery and elaichi -- the modak will be served with kesar and milk chocolate,” says Rodrigues, who says he was inspired by a feeling of nostalgia for the modak he used to devour as a child. “I had a lot of Maharashtrian friends growing up, and I remember eating modak at the end of the aartis at their houses. It is those memories that have inspired this dessert,” he reveals.
For: Rs 350 plus taxes
Contact: 26003001 (Bandra)
Apart from their usual array of gourmet desserts, Country of Origin (COO) is offering Chocolate and Hazelnut Fudge Modaks for the festive season.
For: Rs 1,500 onwards
Contact: 23642221 (Napean Sea Road); 26244422 (Juhu)
Eat it all
Haagen-Dazs gives a luxurious twist to the Indian mithai with their box of sinful dark chocolates. The beautiful gift box, which is completely edible, incaludes chocolates inspired from the traditional gulab jamun and laddoo.
For: Rs 7,000
(High Street Phoenix); 26454345 (Bandra); 40222096 (Powai)
A healthy hamper
Godrej Nature’s Basket’s health-conscious hamper includes not only a range of imported chocolates, but also has protein biscuits, oatmeal, organic tea, and other weight watcher snacks.
For: Rs 500 per hamper
Available across outlets in the city
Royce’s Red Collection for the festive season includes the Japanese chocolate-makers trademark sinfully innovative treats such as Chocolate Wafers Hazel Cream, Potechi Crunch (crumbled potato chips with milk chocolate), Venezuela Bitter and Ghana Sweet Pure chocolate.
For: Rs 4,995