Friday, September 24, 2010

Joy of giving week – Sep 26 to Oct 2, 2010

Did you ever experience something like this:

You walk down the same road to work every day. There are some school-going kids that meet you on the way and they pass an occasional, timid smile. Mere acquaintances. That’s what you are. Then one day you have a few candies on you and on a whim you offer it to the kids. 
The smile that you get in return!!
Lights up your whole day!!!
And that is the beginning of your smile-friend-ship!!! :)


I know because I’ve done that myself. Yes, that was a long time ago and that was in another place (Goa), but I can still feel that moment of joy.

Here’s another chance for all of us to experience this joy, to participate in this magic all across the nation.

We are celebrating “Joy of Giving week” from Sep 26 to Oct 2, this year. This is an event organized by NGO Goonj, which is based out of Sarita Vihar, New Delhi.

a voice,an effort                        
Contact information –
J- 93 Sarita Vihar,
New Delhi - 110076.
Tel. - 2697 2351, 4140-1216
E- Mail :-
Website or Map:


The idea here is to recycle or reuse anything lying around in our homes or offices or schools to help out people who do not have enough. What a noble thing to do!

They are mainly focusing on the following items which people can donate, deliver to various Goonj offices and collection centers, which they will then spread out to people across India.

Here are the items they recommend:

Large quantities of surplus/waste cotton & hosiery cloth for making sanitary napkins & undergarments for initiative- 'Not Just a piece of cloth'

Old newspapers & magazines- to be used in packing of sanitary napkins & also for raising resources to make GOONJ.. self sufficient.

CLOTHES- Old / New but in wearable condition - Woolens/ Sarees / Salwar Suits/ Kurta-Pajamas /Trousers /Shirts / children clothes / Bed sheets / Blankets

FOOTWEAR - Of all size, in pairs (if possible, left and right tied together)

UTENSILS - Old/ New- Pans, Plates, Bowls, Glasses, Tawa, Spoons & Ladles, Cooker, Cups, Tongs etc

STATIONERY - Old/new school bags, lunch boxes, water bottles, Pen, pencil, sharpener, eraser, scale etc.

PAPER - Newspapers, magazines, one side used paper.

DRY RATION - Pulses, Spices, sugar, tealeaf, rice etc.

CASH DONATIONS - For Communication, Collection camps, storage, sorting, packing, travel, Transportation and local distribution expenses. Cash donations can be made at the collection centers or you can send an account payee Cheque / Draft in the name of GOONJ to J-93, Sarita Vihar, New Delhi- 76 (All donations are tax exempted u/s- 80 G of IT act.)

TIME DONATIONS- VOLUNTEERS, who can spare a few hours to be with Goonj for door to door campaigns, and who can help in sorting, packing etc.

SPACE DONATIONS - GOONJ.. needs many more collection centers to ensure easy accessibility for everyone who wishes to make a donation. So if you can spare a corner in your house/office please inform them. Also check with your friends/relatives if they would allow the use of a small place in their premises as collection center.

Here is how you can participate as an individual or as an institution:

goonj participate

Come, let us join hands to give. Let us give to receive “The Joy Of Giving”!

Add a task to your weekend TODO list to collect and sort out stuff that you would like to give. Find your nearest location of Goonj collection center and go drop your stuff.

And don’t forget to come back here and let us know your achievements on this task! :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Olya Khobryache Modak Recipe – Deep Fried Dumplings with Sweet Stuffing

It’s Ganesh Chaturthi today.
One of the most auspicious days where we welcome Lord Ganesh into our home with lots of pomp and show.
In Goa, Maharashtra and some other states on the west coast of India, this festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm.
Ganesh_Chaturthi 1
Ganesh is said to be the God of knowledge and wisdom. His very form is intended to inspire people and teach them ways to lead a happier life.
Ganesh Symbolism
Lord Ganesh is also famous for his love of modak – delicious little deep fried dumplings with sweet and juicy filling of coconut, jaggery and nuts.
ModakHere’s how you can make and enjoy these yourself!
For the filling:
- Grate one coconut and grind it coarsely. This should come out to be about 1 cup.
- Grate jaggery into small chunks. As for quantity, if the grated coconut comes out to be 1 cup, take about 3/4 cup of jaggery. This loosely works for most sweets including laddus. When you take 1 cup of the main ingredient, you can take about half or three fourth of the measure of sweetener. In our case we are using jaggery, you can substitute it with powdered sugar if you prefer that taste.
- Coarsely grind about half a cup of of assorted unsalted nuts. I used almonds, cashew, pistachios and some peanuts. Leave some rather large pieces intact for the lovely crunch.
- Take a handful of dry chana daal (Bengal gram daal)
- 2 tsps of white til (sesame)
- 2 tsp of khaskhas (poppy seeds)
- 1/2 tsp of ilaichi (cardamom) powder or you can use jaiphal (nutmeg) powder
- ghee about 1/2 tbsp
In a dry pan, roast chana daal, sesame and poppy seeds. Remove and keep aside. In the same pan, add some ghee. Once it melts, add coconut and jaggery. Keep stirring. Once jaggery melts, the color of coconut will change from white to golden brown. Now add roasted sesame, poppy seeds, nuts mixture, ilaichi powder and cook some more, stirring continuously.
Some households also add milk to this mixture. Have never tried that myself, though.
Take the cooked stuffing out of the pan and leave aside for cooling.

While it cools, knead your dough.
You’ll need
- Two cups wheat flour or maida (plain flour)
- 1/4 cup sooji (rawa / semolina)
- 1 tbsp ghee
- salt to taste and
- water as required
- Ghee or oil for deep drying
Knead together all ingredients making sure the dough is soft. Not too sticky, nor too dry.
Divide into lemon sized balls and roll each of them into a small sized chapati or poori.
chapati 1 
Now is a little tricky part. Take this poori on your palm and pinch the sides about 5 to 6 times. In the middle hollow add the stuffing you prepared above.
3 With a delicate hand, collect pinched edges and stick them together at the center.
4Take ghee or oil for deep frying into a pan and heat it. Once it is sufficiently hot, add prepared modaks, about 3-4 at a time and fry till they turn golden.
Never keep the modaks around before frying for a long time. The covering will start cracking if it gets dry. If you do need to leave aside for some reason, cover them with a clean damp cloth.
Offer these yummy golden smallies to Lord Ganesh and serve to all your family and friends with love.
Enjoy your Ganesh Chaturthi!
May Lord Ganesh bless you all!!