Firstly, we make the filling of the modak. Take the fresh dessicated coconut, jaggery and water in a thick bottomed vessel. Put it on medium heat and stir continuously till the jaggery begins to dissolve.
Alternately, you can melt the jaggery in microwave for in bursts of 30 seconds and then add it to the fresh coconut, it will come together faster.
Roast it for a couple of minutes, till the mixture becomes slightly dry.
Add cardamom powder and mix it well.
Take the mixture off heat and spread it on a plate and let it cool down completely while you make the covering.
To make the covering, sift the rice flour and 1 tablespoon all purpose flour with the smallest sieve twice so that it is very smooth. The all purpose flour is used to make the rice flour more sticky.
In a thick bottomed vessel, take the water and add butter and salt to it. Let it come to a boil.
Once water starts to boil, add the flour mixture all at once. Take it off heat and mix it together with a spoon.
Then put the mixture back on heat and sprinkle 2 tablespoons water. Cover and let it steam for 1 minute over low heat.
Take it off heat and let it stay in a corner covered for 10 minutes, It will get softened.
Once it has considerably cooled down, pulse it in a food processor for a minute, take it out and knead with hands to bring it together to form a smooth dough.
Prepare the steamer. Fill a large vessel with water covering the bottom of the steamer. Place steamer on top and keep it ready. We place the modaks on a banana leaf for steaming, but you can use a plain tea towel instead.
Make 12 equal balls of the dough.
With a little water, flatten each ball into a thin disk with your hands or in a non-electric roti maker, about 4 inches in diameter. Then take it into the palm of your hand. Stuff it with some mixture leaving ½ inch on all sides. Start pinching the corners into petals with the use of your index finger and thumb and middle finger on each side. Make several such petals all around the edge of the disk.
Then start getting all the petals together by pressing it closer with your fingers. Seal the top and keep it covered with a damp towel till a few are ready to be steamed.
Immerse each modak in water before placing it in the steamer filled with boiling water. Steam for 15-20 minutes.
Serve hot with a dollop of ghee (clarified butter).