Life’s become one helluva of a roller coaster ride to say the least. Juggling work and home with a clingy baby is no plain sailing. It’s not like I don’t have enough things on my plate. In fact, I feel that my plate is so full and I might drop it anytime and never have the courage to pick it up again! I am trying to do everything in my power to walk on razor thin, tight rope of my life balancing work in one hand and home in another. It’s a delicate process which requires lots of courage, commitment, passion and support from loved ones, especially from one’s partner. Thank god, I am lucky enough to have one such man as my life partner.
I have started to work full time from this week. I have been emotionally preparing myself for this stage since weeks. Yet, leaving my baby at day care is much harder than I anticipated. From the moment I change lil one’s cloths to the moment I take him off from his car seat to drop him at crèche, all we see and hear is high pitched wailing and flood of tears. It is really, really difficult to see your baby cry and you feel responsible for all that wailing and crying. Everyday the guilt feeling sets in even before you get up from bed and it’s the same feeling you have whole day. What’s more? It’s the same old guilt feeling that keeps you awake for most of the night. This feeling is not very far from you and can easily drown you within a blink of an eye!
If that was not enough, the ever growing and never ending so called "good" suggestions from my "well wishers" about how to bring up a baby is just like an acid rain on peak summer day! I understand that "you" are good at bring up the baby in "right or appropriate" manner at the "right" environment. But as far as I am concerned, how can you say that you know my baby and understand him better than me? Do you live here with my baby? Do you know what he likes to eat and drink? Do you know what time he likes to take a nap? Do you know when he needs changing his diaper? Do you know when he wants a cuddle simply because he wants one? Do you know what makes him happy and what makes him sad? Do you know what he is scared of? No, you don’t! So please don’t even pretend that you know my baby better than me. And please don’t pass any judgment over how I am bringing up my baby. I’ll ask your suggestion when and, importantly, if I need it!!!
Dear readers, I’m sorry to bore you to death with my rants! I had to get it off my chest at one point or another. I find it really hard to believe that some people try to walk all over me and pretend they are good at everything. It is even more difficult to believe that the person I am talking about hardly knows me in real life! I don’t believe even for a second that I am less of a mother to my baby because I choose to be a working mother rather than SAHM. The guilt of leaving my baby at someone else’s care is nothing new and I am not the first or the only mother who has to go through it. There are millions of women out there who are sailing in the same boat as me. And I know many SAHMs who go through different kind of guilt trip. The argument over pros and cons of working mothers and stay at home mothers is more of media hype than what either of us actually cares about. Well, for one thing we would rather utilise all the time and energy on enjoying with our lil ones than arguing who is better. Nevertheless, there do exist some creatures who would happily spend time at criticizing others and passing their 'gyan' than just being content with their own life.
Did I get annoyed at such person? Yes. Did I get angry at that person’s remarks? Yes. Will I get annoyed with such 'gyan' in future? May be! Am I going to spend more time thinking about what that person said? No, not any more. Why? For one, I have run over time and I would rather spend this little time I have on doing some constructive work which gives me pleasure! Something like sharing recipes and talking about food at a moment. :)
What we have today is some delicious bowl of Palak Channa to lift any sad or suppressed soul! Since my lil one has started to enjoy more complex and little spicy food (read anything that daddy and mommy eat), I have been trying to incorporate more nutritious food sources. Spinach is rich in iron and vitamins and chickpeas are good source of antioxidants and fibres. Our lil sugar pea loves this curry mixed with plain rice and dollop of yogurt which helps to mellow the spiciness of the curry. Just the sight of my lil sugar pea relish this is enough to fill my heart with joy! And watching him dip his finger in a bowl and lick the remaining food is like cherry on top of my favourite cake! This is all a mother ever wants! A total bliss…
Palak Channa (Spinach and Chickpeas simmered in creamy Onion and Tomato gravy)
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Serves: 4-6 people
Shelf Life: 3 days when refrigerated and up to a month when frozen
Recipe Level: Intermediate
Spice Level: Medium to Hot
Serving Suggestion: With any Indian breads or flavoured rice
3 packed cups Spinach, chopped
3 cups White Kabuli Channa/Chickpeas, cooked or canned
2 large Tomatoes, pureed
1 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 tbsp Fresh Lime Juice (Adjust acc to taste)
1 tsp Sugar/Cane Sugar (Optional but recommended)
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
A pinch of Hing/Asafoetida
1 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste
½ tbsp Channa Masala/Garam Masala (Adjust acc to taste)
½ tsp Kitchen King Masala (Optional but recommended)
½ tbsp Kasuri Methi/Dried Fenugreek Leaves (Optional)
½ tsp Haldi/Turmeric Powder
For Onion Paste:
2 medium Onions, quartered
2-3 Kashmiri/Byadagi Chillies or any mild chillies (Optional)
½ tbsp Coriander Seeds
½ tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
2 tbsp Coriander Leaves along with stems, roughly chopped
1 inch Cinnamon Stick
Ground all the ingredients listed under onion paste to smooth paste without adding any water.
Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds and hing.
When cumin seeds start to sizzle and turn golden brown, mix in ground onion paste. Keep stirring on the medium flame for 2 minutes.
Add ginger-garlic paste and crushed kasuri methi leaves if using and mix well. Let it cook for another 3-5 minutes till the oil separates from the paste and the paste becomes quite dry. This is a very important stage as undercooked onion paste will turn the curry bitter.
Now add pureed tomatoes, channa masala or garam masala, kitchen king masala and turmeric powder and mix well. Let it cook for 4-5 minutes.
Add cooked chickpeas and chopped spinach along with sugar and salt to taste and let it cook for 7-10 minutes on medium flame.
Adjust the seasoning and turn off the gas. Mix in lime juice and keep it aside for 10 minutes for all the flavours to blend well.
Serve this delicious bowl of Palak Channa hot, garnished with chopped coriander leaves and lemon wedges, with any Indian flat bread or flavoured rice and enjoy.
Use around ¼ tsp tamarind paste in place of lime juice for sweetish sour flavour.
This curry develops more flavour over night and tastes better on next day. So make sure you have enough leftovers.