Aloo Tikki With Tamarind Chutney

One of the things that Indians can’t do without is “chaat”. Chaat is usually a sweet, spicy and sour snack. There are many kinds of chaat- pani puri, papri chaat, aloo chaat, etc. Aloo tikki with imli ki chutney (or tamarind chutney) is a north Indian favorite when it comes to chaat. Here’s a simple recipe that you can be proud to serve in your home!

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Aloo Tikki Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup boiled potatoes

1/2 cup boiled green peas

1 tbsp chopped cilantro

1 tbsp jeera (cumin seeds)

1/2 tsp red chili powder

1 tsp lemon juice

salt to taste

oil for cooking

Method: 

1. Mash the potatoes.

2. Mash the green peas.

3. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.

4. Divide the mixture into 8 equal balls. Flatten the balls with your palms to make flat

tikkis.

5. Heat some oil on a non-stick pan on medium flame. Add the cumin seeds to the hot oil.

Place each tikki on the pan and cook till both sides are golden brown.

6. Place the tikkis on absorbent paper and serve hot with tamarind chutney.

Tamarind Chutney Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup tamarind paste

6 tbsp jaggery powder (or you can use 6 tbsp dark brown sugar+2 tsp molasses)

1 tsp roasted cumin seeds (jeera) powder

1/2 tsp black salt/ regular salt

1 tsp dried ginger powder

1 tsp garam masala (optional)

1 1/2 tsp chilli powder

Method:

1. Add 2 cups of water to the tamarind.

2. Bring to boil for 10 min.

3. Add roasted cumin powder, black salt/salt, dry ginger powder, red chili powder, garam

masala and jaggery/ sugar.

4. Boil for about 10 minutes.

Serve the tikkis hot. Pour about 1 tbsp chutney on each tikki and add some chopped onions and

cilantro as garnish.

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I Can’t, Yes I Can: Discovering Strength, Shifting Perceptions

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Indira Johnson, artist and non-violence educator, recently facilitated a project, I Can’t, Yes I Can with the artisans who work with MarketPlace. “The goal of the I Can’t, Yes I Can, Project was to get women to identify and take advantage of their strengths and the power inherent in these strengths while encouraging them to access the avenues of hope that are available to them”, explains Indira.

As our readers know, we have been dealing with the issue of domestic violence for five years now. Research has shown that gender inequality and the lack of value of women is the primary cause of domestic violence in India and it is often considered acceptable in society. From an early age girls are told what they can or cannot do as individuals.

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The 1st session addressed these issues symbolized by the words “I can’t” which they then wrote and drew on fabric, squares.  The women represented issues like “I can’t go anywhere alone”, “drive a car”, “there were different rules for me and my brother”.

The 2nd session focused on strengths and power. Some of them identified strengths like being hard working, efficient, team oriented, responsible, understanding, and helpful. The women wrote and drew images of their strengths on fabric squares. It came as a surprise to some of them that after struggling to draw at first, they really enjoyed it, and even listed it as one of their strengths.

In the 3rd session, the two groups came together to prepare their I Can fabric squares so they could be strung together in rows of flags. On Artisans’ Day, they took turns to explain and share the workshop process and their experience with the rest of the group. Then the whole group was invited to tear up the I Can’t fabric squares into strips, which they tied in between the I Can flags. This ritual tearing allowed the women to symbolically destroy the notions of what they cannot do.

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The strings of flags were triumphantly carried by the women from the celebration hall, through the streets of Golibar to the Marketplace office where they were they were installed in rows across one of the entry doors. They chanted “we are strong, we can do anything” as they marched and stopped traffic.

“The whole process gave the participating women an opportunity to reflect on the ways society and culture has placed restrictions around them and how their inherent strengths can slowly change their own and the perceptions of others. We learned that together we can test the old value and belief systems, and jointly work to collaborate in the transformation and re interpretation of the traditions and myths of our cultures”, sums up Indira.

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Artisans’ Day ’13

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As our readers might remember, MarketPlace celebrates Artisans’ Day twice a year. This year Artisans’ Day was held on March 16th at the Sita Sindhu Hall in Santa Cruz, Mumbai- not far from the MarketPlace office. Artisans from all the cooperatives participated in the event along with the children from Armaan Club. There were a couple of dance performances, including a solo performance by an artisan (a first!)- Bharti Gothal from Nirmaan. We encourage artisans to take on individual responsibilities as part of our mission to develop leadership for social change. Other than this, one group presented a song, others enacted plays about women’s issues and even the Armaan Club also took to the stage to perform.

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The kids of Armaan Club had done us proud on the football field this year and this was the perfect moment to acknowledge their achievements. The Armaan Club has been working very hard on the field, thanks to their training with the Magic Bus Foundation. It took a lot of hard work and regular practice but the girls’ team made it to the semi finals this year and the boys made it all the way to the finals. The kids received certificates and geometry boxes for their achievements.

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As a finale, a group of artisans who had participated in a workshop about overcoming cultural obstacles and standing up against violence towards women (“I Can’t, Yes I Can”) shared their experience with the audience. The artisans had depicted things they had been told they could not do on cotton squares. Everyone joined them in tearing up these pieces, while the ones representing their strengths were strung together like banners. The artisans carried these banners out of the hall and through the streets to the MarketPlace office, where they were attached to the front door. A positive finish to an exciting and meaningful day!

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Natural Home Remedies from India!

In an age when popping pills in the norm, a very large section of the Indian population still goes back to natural home remedies for minor ailments. Home remedies do not have any side effects and are useful while dealing with common colds, headaches, digestion issues and skin problems. Here’s a list of our favorite natural remedies:

Disclaimer: These remedies are widely used and have been found to be effective, but it is advisable to consult your physician at all times.

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Ginger for a sore throat:

Ginger is easily available everywhere and is used extensively in Indian homes to treat colds and coughs. Boil grated ginger with water and add a spoon of honey to it to soothe a sore throat.

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Lemon to boost immunity:

Vitamin C helps increase the body’s resistance and lemons are loaded with it. Drink lemon and honey in warm water twice a day to ward off colds. You could also use lime juice instead of lemon juice.

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Tulsi (Basil) Leaves for Acidity:

Boil a few leaves of tulsi in water and drink morning and evening for minor acidity.

Potatoes for Dark Circles:

Grate raw potato and soak a cotton ball in it. Place the cotton balls over closed eyes and leave on for ten minutes. Then wash off.

Coriander Juice for Indigestion:

Add two teaspoons of coriander juice to a glass of buttermilk and drink to get relief from indigestion. Puree some fresh coriander leaves in a blender and strain it to make juice.  

Yoghurt for Dandruff:

Keep yoghurt out for three days and massage your hair with it for half an hour before washing.

Eucalyptus for Sinus Problems:

Dilute a few drops of eucalyptus oil with warm water and apply it to the cheek bones.

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Turmeric for Skin Problems:

Apply a blend of turmeric, chick-pea flour (besan), almond oil, a little fresh cream and honey. This helps to clear up skin blemishes- leaving your skin glowing. Turmeric paste can also be applied to minor cuts to speed up the healing process. 

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Auto Wallahs- The Other Side of the Story!

“Rickshaw! Rickshaw!” – This word is probably uttered a record number of times every day in this city. And about fifty percent of the time people are left muttering abuses to the rickshaw drivers who can leave you stranded when you’re in the greatest hurry to get somewhere.

Millions of commuters in Mumbai depend on auto rickshaws in their daily lives to get around. But auto rickshaw drivers have earned a bad reputation for themselves in recent times- with the public accusing them of overcharging by rigging meters, refusing to ferry customers at whim and driving like maniacs with a complete disregard for traffic rules. The media has flashed reports of this general dissatisfaction with autowallahs at length but we have never heard the other side of the story. Here’s another perspective from the eyes of two of our artisans- Meeta and Sushila, whose husbands are autowallahs.

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Meeta Gupta, 36, Sahara Cooperative:

My husband has been driving an auto for 17 years now. He is at work from 10 am to 9 pm every day. People say all sorts of things about autowallahs but they don’t take into account that they might have genuine problems too.

Just the other day a cop asked my husband for directions but my husband didn’t know where the place was. The cop started kicking him and abusing him and my husband came home bruised and in pain. As if the humiliation of being kicked wasn’t enough, my husband had to stay silent about the incident because he cannot speak up against the police.

Sushila Gupta, 30, Nirmaan Cooperative.

My husband has been driving an auto for 15 years now. He works from 8 am to 5 pm every day. Like Meeta’s husband, my husband does not have a permit for the auto either because the government stopped issuing permits in 1997. So even though we paid almost 2 lakhs for the auto, we must pay Rs 90,000 to a man who has a permit every 3 years- in order for us to use his permit to drive. Gas costs Rs 125 per day and oil costs another Rs 25. On top of that we have to pay Rs 20 as night parking charges. On an average my husband earns between Rs 400-Rs 600 a day. After deducting the daily expenses we are left with around Rs 250- Rs 300 every day ($5- $6).

There are a lot of health hazards that an autowallah must face- apart from the complications that arise with being in the heat and dust all day, my husband suffers from constant back aches and leg pain. Staying in one position for hours takes a toll on him. I try to do what I can to help him out financially with what I earn at MarketPlace but I feel bad that his job is so physically taxing. 

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People @SHARE and MarketPlace, India

This week let’s meet some of the competent, happy people who work at SHARE and MarketPlace in Mumbai.

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We begin our introductions with Delphine Fernandes who has worked with us since 1996. Delphine, better known as ‘Del’, is the Office Manager and handles all administrative responsibilities.   Del lives with her husband and 19 year old son. You can always rely on her to get anything done and she has solved some very complicated situations with her soft spoken and persuasive manner. 

 

 

 

ImageSheethal John is the Assistant Director at MP. We asked Sheethal why she loves working for MP and here’s what she said, “The greatest part about this job is that I get to be part of a process of empowering women in the areas of finance and social development. It is wonderful to see women improving their skills and talents and utilizing them to generate income for their families. “ Sheethal lives with her husband, who runs a Human Resources company.  Sheethal has also played basketball and throw ball at a national level!

 

 

 

ImageBhakti Kabre is the Program Coordinator at MarketPlace since 2010. Her understanding of the women has helped introduce several social development programs for them. Bhakti helps us identify new artisans, coordinates with producer groups and helps with group building and problem solving activities. Bhakti has been overseeing the activities of the Armaan Club for the kids of the artisans. “I really enjoyed the eco Ganesha workshop we did with the kids. And the recent Ration Rights workshop for the women was an important program for them.” Bhakti lives with her parents and twin sister Bhairavi who works at Kotak Education Foundation.

 

ImageKala Darji, works in the Design & Production department. Kala is a graduate in Home Science with a major in Textiles & Clothing. Her major responsibilities include getting new samples ready and documenting style specifications and costing. Kala is in charge of the design workshop and checks samples, trains new trainees and trains women on quality checking. Kala worked on the recycled “chindi” collection recently that will be launched late October.

 

 

 

ImageHasina Saifi has been with MP for 25 years as Office Assistant. Hasina says, “I love working at MarketPlace because there is no discrimination on the basis of religion.” Hasina studied in an Urdu medium school as a child but she started learning English when she joined MP. “I got some books home and learnt how to use the computer. I now maintain accounts, keep track of artisans’ work hours, wages during the design workshop, scan documents and get bills paid.” Hasina’s husband walked away from the family years back and married another woman. To this day he has not given her a divorce.  Hasina raised her son and daughter single handedly.

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Ganesh Chaturthi

Lord Ganesha, the son of Parvati and Lord Shiva, is the most well loved and widely worshipped deity among Hindus. Ganesha, also known as Ganpati, has been represented with the head of an elephant in Indian art for as long as anyone can remember, and there are many explanations for how he got his elephant head.

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Photo Credit: The Hindu

Lord Ganesha symbolizes strength, wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. Every year Hindus celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi in the month of August or September on the occasion of Ganesha’s birthday. The festival lasts for 10 days and large pandals (temporary structures) are erected all over the city where beautiful handcrafted statues of Ganesha are housed for the duration of the festival. People visit these pandals and there is a great deal of food, music, new dresses and socialising. The traffic goes crazy during the festival but people still manage to go to work in the day and join the celebrations at night.

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Idols being transported to the pandals. Photo Credit: The Hindu Business Line

According to mythology, the Lord Ganesha loved eating modaks- and this remains the most popular dish of the festival. Modaks are basically rice flour dumplings filled with coconut, jaggery and condiments.

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Modaks filled with coconut and jaggery. Photo Credit: Soogran.com

The only downside to the festival is the environmental impact of the visarjan. The visarjan refers to the immersion of the statues in the lakes, rivers and in the sea on the last day of the festival. Small vans and large trucks carry the idols towards the visarjan venues while people dance behind them, singing and playing drums.

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Devotees on the way to the immersion of the famous Lalbaugcha Raja idol in Mumbai. Photo Credit: Dinodia.com

But more and more people are switching to eco-friendly materials now. In fact, just a few days back the Armaan Club kids at MarketPlace got a lesson in making eco-friendly Ganesha idols.

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Here’s wishing everyone a fun-filled Ganesh Chaturthi!

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