Aloo Palak Sabji - Basic Recipe with Minimum Ingredients

Sharing a super simple and super basic recipe today.  This is a result of:
1) us moving to another city in a corporate accommodation with a kitchen that was furnished with just the minimum necessities, and
2) us purchasing a small amount of grocery only for the 2 weeks I was there before I flew to Asia.

So all we bought was:

6 basic spices - cumin seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric powder, red chili powder, dry mango powder, and coriander powder
5 most used vegetables: tomato, spinach, potato, onion, and carrot
4 pantry items: sona masoori rice for dinner, flatted rice (poha) for breakfast, toor dal, and peanuts
3 pastes that I couldn't make on my own (because there was no grater, grinder, blender): garlic paste, green chili paste, and ginger paste
And of course the basic necessities: ghee, oil, sugar, salt, and milk.

And I pretty much did most of my cooking with just those items in the first week.  That's when I learned how to make use of the minimum number of ingredients to cook stir-fry dishes (I couldn't make a gravy dish because there was no grinder)...

Spusht | Aloo Palak ki Sabzi | Potatoes and Spinach Stir Fry
Aloo Palak Stir Fry

How to Cook Dal WITHOUT a Pressure Cooker?

When we moved out from Texas, we had everything packed and shipped (to reach to us 2 weeks later) and forgot to keep a pressure cooker with me.  Since Alok would only pick up the shipment from storage a month later, and since I already had 3 pressure cookers in the cartons, I did not want to purchase another one for the month.  That meant cooking our mixed vegetable dal without a pressure cooker every day.  It reminded me of a reader who once asked me how to cook chickpeas and red kidney beans without a pressure cooker because she forgot to bring one from India.

This post is for those who want to cook lentils, but don't have a pressure cooker, or destroyed one because of excess/less water (yes, I did last month :-/).

notes for my husband

1.5 years into my marriage, and I'm still trying to understand how Alok thinks and why he does what he does.  For one, leaving things here and there and not where they are supposed to be.  I keep telling him I may be a housewife but this is not the only thing I want to do all day!  It is easier to put things where they belong right away after using them.  And it is better to get into a habit of doing something or same thing every day.  Simple, right?

But with him?  Oh no.  He wouldn't listen.  So I got an idea.  I became a little more creative than my creative husband...

... because it never goes back into the toothpaste holder ...

... and I started putting notes on things and places all around the apartment.

time to clean the refrigerator

The cleanliness bug has bit me.  After pantry organization, it's now time for me to clean and organize the most important storage in the kitchen - the refrigerator.

I have decided to clean my refrigerator once a month.  It's a lot of work.  But think about how easily everything gets dumped in there - leftover food, half-cut vegetable or fruit, partly-used sauce bottles, etc etc etc.  So much food goes unnoticed and then in the trash. Sometimes I discover something after a month, rotten in the far corner of the bottom shelf.  Please tell me I'm not the only one?!  :-/

time to clean the pantry

I couldn't even click the "BEFORE" photo, the pantry was such a disaster.  Super, super lazy me - just don't get around doing something until I just can't take it anymore.  But finally I decided it was high time I cleaned the pantry.  Time to refill partly empty bottles, throw away unnecessary packets, make a list of items needed to be restocked, sort out everything, and use the space efficiently.

a new chapter

Last few weeks have been extremely busy.  Everything was packed and moved from our place.  The car was picked and shipped.  For two days we slept on sleeping bags and made newspaper our dining table.  Had our farewell get-together with some friends, and stayed up all night with some.  Recalled memories of Dallas, then bid adieu to Texas.  Left a lot behind to move a lot ahead.  To add a new chapter to our life.