Thursday, 26 May 2016

Pui shaak er daatar jhal or Stems of the Malabar spinach cooked in mustard gravy



B has gone to office today and I am able to sit down with my second cuppa this mid morning.
I usually don't get to sit down and neither do I have a second cuppa on any mid mornings.
And B's presence in the house has nothing to do with it.
But there is indeed a good feel of snatching some free time , sitting down and take a deep breath. The very thought that I won't have to worry about completing cooking a full lunch ... read dal, roti, sabzi, etc. or cooking any lunch at all, relaxes me far more than a spa or a holiday would.
In case you are wondering, I do very well with a salad or some jhaal muri or just rice and a fish curry.

Hence I get to plan my day my way.
I contemplate on what to get my hands on ... my knitting, my crochet, or some left over sewing ... yes, I do have my fingers in different pies at the same time.
Or maybe I should cook ahead for some days and store.
Cooking ahead means a double bonus ... ready made meals in the fridge and also getting to click photos of them at leisure ... to make blog posts.
No pressure of hurrying.


However, blaming B for this will not be fair. He works from home.
So our home is our office too. I have to keep in mind his calls / meetings timings.
Most plans of our daily life revolve around his office times.
And working with people all around the world does not make it any easy.
Mornings are for the people in the far east ... their mornings start much earlier than ours.
Evenings that move on to late nights are for the people in the west ... whose mornings start when our evenings set in.
So keeping meal timings and plans is not easy.
Neither is it easy to plan our social life ... meeting friends or relatives, going out to relax, etc. ... all need to be planned.
And god help us if a crit sit arises.

Saturdays are spent on chores ... groceries, bills and other stuff.
Once upon a time we used to entertain a lot ... now I have cut that down completely to only a very few, closest of friends.
Sundays, we are so spent that we do not feel like going out anymore. The day is spent by cleaning and setting up the house for the next week.
And given Pune's traffic these days, we prefer to sit in our little balcony, taking turns to sit in our one little cane swing, and look out into the surrounding green patch and enjoy the lovely cold breeze.
At the most, we might go out for dinner.
And then Monday starts all too soon.
And the mad rush through the days start all over again.


Recently, I am in a mad rush to 'save for the rainy days'; literally.
I try to cook and click as much photographs as I can, in good natural light, to see me through the  coming dark, gloomy monsoon days.
What fun it would be to see bright photographs on my blog when it is actually dark and damp all around.
And I am in a hurry to complete the throw that I am crocheting right now ... will be ready just in time for the monsoon cold. Fingers crossed.
( I will update a photo here soon. )

Today's recipe is using the stems of all that beautiful Pui shaak that I had picked up in Bangalore.
A dear reader and a regular commenter and morale booster Ash had asked me how to use the stems or the data of the Pui or the Malabar spinach.
I had quickly made this one day to go with my lunch. But had completely forgotten to make a post.
So here goes the recipe.

You can make this with the stems of other leafy vegetables too. The Laal shaak  ( Amaranth leaves )er dnaata, Lau ( Bottle gourd ) er daata or even the good old Palong or Spinach will work well too.


Need :

Stems and some leaves of the Pui or Malabar spinach ( should be very fresh )
Mustard paste - 2 tbsp ( can use the Aam kasundi too ... 4 tbsp in that case )
Nigella seeds / Kalo jeere / Kalonji - ½ tsp
Fresh green chillies - 2, broken
Lemon - half ( don't use if using aam kasundi )
Salt - to taste
Cooking oil - 1 tbsp ( I use mustard oil )

How to :

Clean, wash and chop the pui leaves and stems.

Heat mustard oil in a kadahi.

Add the kalo jeere / kalonji and the green chillies.

Now add the Pui stems and leaves.

Stir and toss well.

Cover and cook for a while.
It will release a lot of water and cook by itself.

Remove cover, give a stir and add salt + mustard paste.

Cover and cook for some more time.

Remove cover, switch off the heat and squeeze the lemon juice all over it.

Serve hot.


As with any preparation with the mustard paste, this goes best with plain, hot rice.

Enjoy!!