“Please can we have purple pulao?” squeaks my littler one – who is – you guessed it – on a purple streak right then!
For about six months, we’ve been wearing purple, drinking purple (grape juice is good but she’s willing to try even purple cabbage juice), drawing everything possible in purple, covering our books purple and even choosing restaurants based on whether the signboards outside are purple! There are two conspirators in this – K and her best friend Tara – so we’re even seeing double in purple!
It puzzles us mothers a bit – when we were that small, I doubt we knew a colour called purple – if we ever thought about it, it was a shade of violet! And belonged on the then-reviled-now-much-loved vegetable called a brinjal! So we humoured them, me going so far as to buy purple food colouring to make purple milk!
But and everyone has a breaking point – mine came with the request for purple pulao. NO WAY!
But, amma… it’s so beautiful... am sure you will love it too – says the artful wheedler! Sorry but I’m thirty years ahead of you in this game!
Mahomet knows when she’s beaten though and trails off, to find the next best thing to wheedle her mom out of!
We go through many phases like this – all capitalised in my memory thanks to the intensity with which K always pursued her passion of the day – the FLUORESCENT GREEN phase (you try finding a food that colour in India – back in the early ’90s!), the DOG phase (if you can’t have a another baby, at least have a dog! Or even a monkey!), the RAHUL DRAVID phase (he’ll take one look at me and beg me to marry him! Nothing loth on confidence, the kid!), the AMMAMMA phase ( for which she created an anthem – it went something like this…
I love you.
go to Australia
Thankfully, for the past few years, we’ve been on a reasonable diet – it’s a green one this time – she did try a few months ago to convince me we might all be better off on a gluten-free diet but I put my foot firmly down – eggs and bread are the most convenient breakfast and I refuse to eat idlis every day of my life, much as I love them! Luckily, she wasn’t quite sure of this one and decided that maybe, mother knows best, after, all!
So here we are, with this very green, very delish Rajasthani version of an old favourite…
- Paneer – 250 gm – cut into 1 cm cubes and soaked in warm, salted water for ten minutes. Drain and rinse.
- Spinach / palak – 2 large “cuts” – about 5 cups – clean, chop roughly.
- Ginger – 1″ piece
- Garlic – 1 flake
- Green chili – 1
- Onion – 1 small – sliced
- Tomato – 1 medium – chopped
- Cumin seeds/ jeera – 1 tsp
- Saunf/aniseed – 1/4 tsp
- Bay leaf – 1
- Cinnamon – 1/2 ” piece
- Cloves – 2
- Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
- Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp
- Ghee – 1 tsp
- Butter – 1 tsp
- Milk – 1/2 cup
Heat the ghee in a pan. Add all the whole spices and fry for a few seconds.
Add the onion, garlic and ginger and ginger and saute for a few minutes till the onions turn golden brown. Add the powders and the tomato.
Add the spinach and quarter cup of water.
Cover and cook for a few minutes till spinach is wilted.
Cool and puree.
Return to stove and bring to the boil.
Add salt and paneer pieces and cook for 3-4 minutes more. Add butter and switch off.
Add hot milk slowly in a strem, stiriing continuously.
Serve with puris, roti or rice.
And stay on the green kick – it’s easier for all concerned!