Guess what? There's another great holiday coming up in one week.
Next Saturday is Ganesha's birthday.
The celebration actually lasts for 10 days and I believe it starts (this year) on September 11th (although it could be that's the day it ends...someone want to tell me for sure?)
The big tradition for this is that beautiful statues of Ganesha are created and on the last day, parades bring them to be immersed in water. People sometimes make their own statues and "return them to the earth" by leaving them in nearby bodies of water.
I think this would be a tremendously fun thing to do with kids and they can craft their own Ganesha statue.
I want to craft a Ganesha that I can leave in the lake near my home that will not be bad for the environment, so my boyfriend and I went looking for non-toxic and biodegradable clay. What he came up with was a clay that's basically bread, a mixture of flour and water. Here is the recipe.
The other thing that we are going to do for Ganesh Chaturthi is making Ganesha's favorite food, modak.
This is a dumpling made of rice flour and coconut. Here is a recipe, from the website http://jaishreeganesha.com
Ingredients Needed To Prepare Modak
1. Rice – 1½ cup 2. Salt – A pinch 3. Pure Ghee (Clarified Butter) – ½ teaspoon
1. Fresh Coconut Grated/Scraped – 1½ cup 2. Jaggery Grated – ¾ cup 3. Green Cardamom Powder – A pinch
How To Prepare Modak
Wash and drain the rice thoroughly. Spread it evenly on an absorbing cloth so that the rice gets thoroughly dried. After it dries, grind it to a fine powder in a mixer. To ensure the thoroughness of the grinding process, pass the powdered rice through a sieve. In a pan boil one and quarter cup of water, adding salt and ghee into it.
Slowly start adding the rice flour, constantly stirring it so that there are no lumps formed. After the entire mixture is added, remove the pan from heat and keep it covered for the next 10-15 minutes. Grease your palms with a little bit of oil. Knead the cooked rice mixture to soft dough. When done, cover it with a moist cloth.
Take a pan and cook the mixture of the scraped coconut and jaggery on medium heat until it turns into a light golden brown color. Make sure that it is not overcooked. Then add the cardamom powder, remove it from heat and allow it to cool a little. Then divide the coconut mixture and divide it equally into 10-12 equal portions. Grease your palm with oil. Now divide the dough of the rice flour into 10-12 equal portions into lemon sized balls. Then flatten the ball in your palm to form discs with a diameter of three inches. Press the edges of the disc further to reduce the thickness.
Next, place the semi cooled coconut and jaggery mixture in the centre of this disc and form 8-10 pleats with your fingers. Then gather them together in the shape of a bundle with its tip being conical. Seal the edges. To understand the shape better, take a look at the picture with this recipe.Steam these balls in a steamer for 10-15 minutes. Serve the hot modak with a bit of ghee.
Next week I'll put up pictures of my statue and how my modak turns out. Also next Saturday Chinmaya starts up again!