Impact Volunteering

Do a good deed today: Cook a Meal for the Poor!

Team: Food for Thought

Motto: Surrender the ME for the WE

Participants: Nikita, Amar, Madhura

A Summary of My Experience

Cook a Meal for the Poor is truly an amazing opportunity. I have always seen my mother donate food to the poor from time to time, and it was something I always appreciated. But this time it was special, because I myself was able to prepare food with my mother’s help – other than the pride of feeding someone, I also felt immense joy at the fact that it was something I had really put effort into. Learning something new is always challenging and I did encounter difficulties, but I had my parents supporting and guiding me throughout. It also gave us a lot of bonding time as a family. This was genuinely such an enriching experience – one that I will cherish throughout my life, and ensure that I take it up more often.

Day 1: Poha & Nankatai Biscuits

I got up at 6.30 am, cooked Poha and made Tea for breakfast with the help of my mother. I made it a point to make my home help Sadhana Aunty sit at the table, and served her hot Poha and tea – a small gesture to thank her for everything she has been doing for us.

I also made Nankatai biscuits with my mother’s assistance and guidance. It was so much fun to make the dough and roll them into small round balls. It was my first baking experience and I was so delighted to see the biscuits puff up in the microwave. They turned out to be super yummy. I shared these with our two security guards Sameer & Shafeeq for their Iftar meal in the evening – the meal eaten by Muslims after sunset during Ramadan. 

Day 2: Vegetable Biryani

Today I discussed with my mother and then decided to make Veg Biryani – a meal I could offer to the security guard Mujaheed from the adjacent building. I also shared it with Sandeep, the man who does our laundry.

It was a lot of preparation work getting the vegetables, onions, tomatoes and other ingredients to chop. There was also the grinding of coriander leaves, garlic and ginger. I had to half cook the Basmati rice with saffron and peas separately. Then I fried all the ingredients, cooked them, and lastly mixed the rice. The biryani was garnished with caramelized onions and then heated on a slow flame for 10 minutes. The aroma really tantalized my taste buds and I was proud of myself for trying something new. Everyone was delighted that I had cooked a meal with the help of my very supportive mother. Frankly, it involved so much work and that’s when I truly realized the effort my mother puts in while cooking meals for us. I have decided to help her on weekends so that she gets a much deserved break from cooking and I too can learn to make delicious recipes from her.

Day 3: Vanilla Eggless Cupcakes 

Today I decided to make Vanilla Cupcakes and donate them to a charitable organization. There is a Restaurant called Govinda’s which runs a charity for Food Donation – they have placed a fridge outside their restaurant, where people who want to donate can place their food. Needy people are free to pick up food from the fridge at any time. We have done it a few times before, but today is special as I myself will cook, so there is a lot of pride in donating and making a difference to someone’s life. 

I started browsing YouTube for recipes and came across some interesting recipes. I picked this recipe from Kanak’s kitchen for eggless cupcakes.

It was really exciting to collect all the ingredients and make the cake dough – my mother continuously guided me and monitored to ensure that the ingredients and mix were perfect.

I was so happy to see the cupcakes puff up – my father and I were waiting in the kitchen near the microwave to see the progress.

I shared the cupcakes with Shafeeq (our security guard) and Sandeep (our laundry man).

Day 4: Idli, Dosa & Chutney

Today I decided to go the South Indian way, making Dosa, Idli and Chutney for breakfast. My mother helped me soak the Dal (1 cup) and parboiled rice (3 cups) with fenugreek seeds, and 1 cup of Poha soaked in water for grinding.

I soaked Dal and Idli rice for 8 hours, made batter and left it overnight for fermenting. In the morning, I added salt. My mother guided me on how to steam the Idlis. To be honest, making Dosa was really difficult at the beginning but after making 2 to 3 Dosas, I did get a hang of it.

I learned how to make green chutney with coconut, coriander leaves, green chillies, salt, sugar, tamarind, garlic and ginger. This was easy to make in the mixer. I insisted on doing it myself because by now I was getting interested in learning, and feeding someone was truly giving me a lot of happiness.

I served breakfast to Sadhana Aunty, our home help who is so hard working, and has been with us since the past 15 years. She was really happy and immensely proud of me. She thanked and blessed me.

I also gave it to our security guards Sameer and Shafeeq.

Day 5: Methi Parathas with Pumpkin Vegetable

Today, I decided to make Methi Parathas (made of fenugreek leaves) for Sadhana Aunty. My mother makes amazing Methi Parathas, so she guided me and helped me chop the Methi fine. Later I added yoghurt, coriander powder, red chilly powder, turmeric powder, salt, sugar and kneaded it with wheat flour. At the end, I added 2 to 3 teaspoons of oil to make the dough soft.

I left it for 30 minutes, then rolled and fried the parathas, and served them hot with pumpkin sabzi (vegetable) and pickle. Initially rolling the parathas was a challenge but after making two, I did get a little better.

I’m so glad I tried my hand at it, Sadhana Aunty loved it and blessed me.

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