Black Rice Modak ( Sijha Manda gets a Makeover )

IMP - Black Rice Modak  is an original recipe created by the blogger and has been published for the first time on oriyarasoi.com.



In Odisha, we have a very famous proverb which goes like 'bara masa teyra parba'. It means that the number of festivals that we celebrate outnumbers even the number of months in a year. And 'pithas' are a very important part of most Odia festivals. Traditionally made with rice, they are usually stuffed with a sweet coconut / chenna filling. A 'Pitha' is not very sweet like a dessert. Since most 'pithas' are usually served with a lentil curry or even warm milk, just a hint of sweetness is enough.

Sadly, semolina (suji) or maida/atta usually replacing rice in most 'pithas' these days. As people increasing view rice as a villain which causes weight gain, rice is being edged out from these traditional recipes. But while the 'pitha' made with semolina or refined flour may taste better, it can hardly be termed as an healthy choice. Switching to a better grade of rice seemed the most plausible decision. Being a food blogger, one is not only aware of current food trends but also the nutritional values of most ingredients. Hence, when I decided to keep it healthy as well as tasty, black rice turned out to be the top contender among all other ingredients.

Sijha Manda or Sukla Manda is one of the most popular 'pithas' from Odisha. It is an integral part of all the Lakshmi pujas. It can be described as a steamed rice dumpling with a sweetened stuffing. Hardly surprising that it was one of the first few recipes that came to my mind when I wanted to experiment with black rice as an ingredient in a traditional Odia dish. 

Read on for the recipe - 


















Preparation Time - 1 hour

Ingredients - 

  • 1 cup black rice
  • 2 tsp semolina
  • 2 tbsp almond meal ( powdered almonds )
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • jaggery as per taste ( 3-4 tbsp )
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 2 pinch cardamom
  • 2 pinch salt

Preparation - Wash and soak the rice for 1 hour.

Strain and spread out the rice grains on a flat surface. Let it dry in the sun for 2 hours or till surface moisture is no longer perceptible. 

Grind into a fine powder.

Cooking - Boil 2 cups of water in a pan. Add the jaggery, ghee, coconut and almond meal.

Once the jaggery is completely dissolved, add the powdered rice in small batches while stirring continuously. Take care to avoid the formation of lumps.

Cook on low flame for about 10 mins. Then add the semolina and cook for another 5 mins till everything forms a tight dough. Remove and keep aside to cool it down.

Once the temperature is bearable, rub a little ghee on your hands and knead the dough for 5 mins.

Divide the dough into 10-12 portions . Give a desired shape to each portion.

Steam the dumplings for 10-15 mins.

Serve warm.



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