It’s that time of the year again. The epicurean lord is coming back. Enjoying ‘bhog’ will be something most devotees will look forward to again. Laddoos, pedas, modaks, varan bhaat, shankar pare and puran poli will be a few things to master, if we want the fragrance of festivity to fill our homes. Some home chefs, vegan entrepreneurs, and cooking studios are offering classes to those who want to learn and imbibe the art of making the festival’s delicacies.
Culinary Craft, Powai, Mumbai
Started by mother, housewife and ‘mompreneur’ Sajida Khan, the Culinary Craft studio in Powai, Mumbai, will host a “Modak Special” class on August 30, from 2 pm to 5 pm. Priced at Rs.3500 person, the class will teach students how to make season specials such as old-fashioned ukadiche modaks, fried modaks, rawa, mawa and chocolate modaks. The emphasis during the class will be on “going back to tradition,” as Khan puts it.
“The modak-making class will be fun and festive. Nowadays there is so much stress on fusion food in the market. We wanted to stick to tradition and take people back to their roots.” One can play around with modak recipes, and Khan says nuts like sea-green pistachios can be added to mawa modaks to give them that extra dash of flavour. Hence one has a variety of recipes to choose from while offering ‘naivedya’ to the lord.
My Pure Path, Chembur, Mumbai
Founded by Mayavi Khandelwal, “the vegan kitchen” will hold the “Ganesh Chaturthi Special” class on August 30 this year, from 11 am to 2 pm. The early bird ticket prices are Rs.2200 (for registrations till August 27 evening). After that, ticket prices will be Rs.2500.
At the class, both sweet and savoury festival items will be demonstrated. The fare includes teekhi sev, kothimbir vadi, udupi style undulka, peanut modaks and Mathura pedas. No snacks will be fried; instead baking, poaching and steaming will be cooking techniques employed at the class.
In keeping with My Pure Path’s philosophy of being a company dedicated to whole food, plant based diets, where products use organic ingredients, are vegan and gluten free, this class too will add new dimensions to the festival this year.
By giving people recipes to choose from which are tasty yet healthy, appetising and gratifying, they teach participants the organic way. The class wants Ganesha foods to be non-oily and not make use of processed ingredients.
Urja Studio Café, Wakad, Pune
The Urja Studio Café was started by Rekha Singh to promote the arts in the city, to give people a space to relax and explore their creativity and to participate in workshops where people learn to paint, to make murals, giving their imaginative selves a push.
This year, to celebrate Ganeshotsav, the arts centre has invited home chef Anjali Karyakarte, where making modaks will be taught to apprentices. The class will be held on August 31 at the studio from 2 pm to 4.30 pm. The class will be priced at Rs.650. A melange of 7-8 ukadiche modaks which have been modified and given an ingenious streak will be made, with various stuffings like coconut, mango, mawa, mixed fruit, chocolate and gulkand.
The studio’s aim, like many other home chefs’ goals, is to “keep tradition alive and prevent traditional recipes from getting lost.” Says Singh, “My aim is to get people to engage in DIY arts and crafts. I want people to make things with their hands, do something creative, and spend more time with themselves, rather than go to a mall during their free time.”
Cooking Concepts, Dadar, Mumbai
Bimba Nayak, a home chef and sugar-crafter who specialises in several cuisines such as Arabic, Italian, Thai, Lebanese, Pakistani, Chinese and Mughlai will hold a “Ganpati Special” modak making workshop at her home in Dadar on August 29, from 11 am to 5 pm.
She will teach students (limited to 5 or 6 in number per class) the art of putting together the steamed rice flour dumplings. The class will be priced at Rs. 3000 person. Kinds of fillings will range from Konkani to kesar to doodhi halwa to mango and dry fruit. In all around 8 modak varieties will be taught to pupils.
Nayak believes that there is nothing one can’t learn. Nayak also supplies the sweet nosh to people who want to offer them to Ganesha at home. The trained chef, who worked for the royals in Kuwait, prides her original recipes. Her modak classes are also an undertaking by her to make sure that tradition never goes out of style.
Toddler’s Hub, Worli, Mumbai
On August 27, Toddler’s Hub has planned a Ganpati workshop where kids will be taught Ganpati craft, narrated stories about Ganesh and his life through a puppet show and shown the know-how of making chocolate modaks right from the mixing to the moulding of the ruched confectioneries.
The class will be priced at Rs. 600 and will take place from 5 pm to 7 pm. The modaks that the kids will learn will be a version of laddoo-modaks, without any steaming or frying, which the kids can then take home.
“I want to plan something like this for every festival so that the kids have something to do in their holidays. So many times kids are not allowed in the kitchen and this is an opportunity for them to do just that,” says Hena Mehta of Toddler’s Hub.