Prepare the Cover as shown in the Jaggery Modak
recipe (Make the cover when the lentil filling is almost done. You don't want this cover to become cold.)
Clean and Soak the lentil for at least 1 hour.
Most of the water should have been absorbed and the lentils will look plumped up and soft :)
Place the drained (make sure you drain out all the water well) along with chillies and salt.
Pulse few times until it becomes coarsely ground. We don't want a smooth batter. Do not add water until absolutely necessary.
Now make small balls of the dough and place them in a steamer. Steam them for 10-15 minutes.
Let it cool for few minutes, enough to be able to handle it. Break the balls by crumbling them into coarse meal texture.
In a skillet, heat 1 tsp of oil (or ghee), add mustard seeds. When they start popping, add the curry leaves along with asafoetida. When the aroma starts wafting to your nostrils, add the lentil coarse meal to the mix, give it a good toss until it all comes together. Add cilantro and remove from heat. Now add the lemon juice when its warm (not hot).The lentil mixture is already cooked so you are not looking to cook this. Just add more flavor by way of adding the tempering ingredients.
While still hot, make it into small rounds. If you are not able to make into rounds, no problems. In this case you can place the crumbled filling into the cover quite well too. :)
Tip: The reason for it breaking could be cos the mixture has become cold or its too dry due to over cooking. But in this case since its not necessary to form the balls per se, you don't have to rectify it :) YAY! ;)
You can now make this into tear drop shape like I show in this Jaggery Modak recipe
by making a crater in the outer cover, placing the filling in the middle, closing it on the top and making a small beak. Steam them and serve. There is also another shape which I will be illustrating in this recipe. You can make the Jaggery (sweet) Modaks using this shape too by following this method.
For Making the semi circle shape
(like the one depicted in the final picture above)
Place a plastic sheet and grease it well. I used a large zip-lock bag. Place two bowls - one with oil/ghee another with warm water. You need to grease your fingers and hands along with the sheet occasionally.
Now place one small bowl of the cover on one end.
Bring the other end of the zip lock over the top of the ball (or another greased plastic sheet on top).
Using a flat plate, give it a good press.
It will flatten like a corn tortilla/Makki ki roti
. The thickness of this cover is little more than what we use for the sweet version.
Remove the top plastic, place the filling in the middle - a little amount, you will know with subsequent ones how much filling works for you best with the folding. Its not necessary to have a round shaped ball for the filling. Its OK if its crumbling too.
Bring one side of the cover over to the other end - like a semi circle.
Pinch the seams so that it covers the filling on all the sides. You can use it this way or
draw little patterns with your fingers or press down with a fork.
Repeat for all the dough this way and its ready to be steamed.
Another easier way to shaping these Modaks.
I happen to have a mould which I use to make turnovers/empanadas. I use that to make these too - I have illustrated how I use that to make these. Place the dough and press it down with a plate to make a circle just like I showed few steps earlier. Remove this dough circle from the sheet. Greasing well makes it easier to remove it.
Place this on the mould.
Drop little of the filling in the center.
Press the mold by bringing the ends together.
Remove the top of the mold - See those cute little patterns?
Remove it and repeat for the rest of the dough. I love these :) I have in multiple sizes and I can do it whatever size I desire.
Place them in a steamer and steam for 10-15 minutes
until it slightly changes color and becomes slightly translucent. Cool for few minutes before removing from the steamer.