On the last weekend of every month, amma and I would make a trip to Subiksha, a supermarket in Chennai. Yes, that’s how it works in India. Most people buy groceries once a month. I am used to that tradition but here in the US, I shop when I run out of groceries as most products are sold in huge packets. Thoughts about spending that evening shopping and bringing huge bags of lentils, spices, soaps, horlicks and other necessaries for the house petrified me. As a kid, I used to hate that ritual. If I get lucky, it would also be a day for a color book or a painting box or a fancy ruler/pencil/eraser at the Murugan stationary store on the way. She wouldn’t buy anything for herself, she feels shopping just for the heck of it is a waste of time and money. She would always ask me about how people find time for window shopping. My mom is a simple women with practical dreams.
Subiksha supermarket was located at the left side, diagonally opposite to a wine shop. The roads were always busy as the famous Station road of West Mambalam was right behind it and further away was the more so famous Ranganathan street with a railway station separating both the streets. Most part of this lane sells vegetables and fruits – plump pumpkins, round oranges, juicy apples, crisp cucumbers, beautiful red tomatoes, piles of okra that would click when amma snaps its tail. That’s how she tests for freshness till date. If not in a good mood, the vendor would snap back, “Just touch the vegetables madam, don’t break them open”.
Station Road in West Mambalam is a narrow alley packed with thousands and thousands of people. Cows block the traffic, two-third of the road is occupied by the pavement shops, loud honks, scooter and bicycles on a bumper-to-bumper distance and pedestrians walking in the middle of the street, there is dust and heat everywhere. Amma wouldn’t stop at Subiksha alone, she will say we should walk till the end of Station road to buy fresh greens and vegetables. Even though I would fuss and make faces, amma wouldn’t budge.
Vedors sitting on a small stool would scream the prices and call out “Come madam! Fresh, fresh vegetables”. When I complain to walk till there, she would say that the ones sold near our house are few days old and are wilted. At the other end of the road is a sugarcane juice stall, amma would order two and say “No ice, no water, just the plain juice”. After sipping the delicious juice till the last drop, we would stop at the Music shop to check for any new arrivals and walk back home talking about Margazhi Music Festival coming that December. Chapati and dhal for dinner today, she will announce as appa and I would help her unpack the groceries.
Today is the last Sunday of the month. No grocery shopping to Subiksha. No Station Road to walk around. No sugarcane juice to sip but I have one thing that was common in both our homes. The dinner was soft rotis served with a delicious side dish. Today I am sharing an easy pressure cooker chicken recipe made with spinach.
Palak Murgh – Chicken cooked with Spinach
Recipe Source: My aunt
Cooking Level: Easy | Quick
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large red onions – chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic – minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger – minced
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder ( highly spicy)
- 2 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 large tomato – chopped
- 1 pound chicken – cleaned and cut into pieces
- 2 cups baby spinach (fresh or frozen) – chopped
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- Salt to taste
- 2 litre pressure cooker with whistle
- Heat oil in a 2 litre aluminum pressure cooker. Once the oil is hot, add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for 30 seconds. Then add the onions and sprinkle turmeric, red chili and coriander powder. Saute for a minute till the raw smell disappears. Then mix in the tomatoes and saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the chicken and mix well to combine. Add spinach and cook for 2 whistles. Don’t add any water and let it cook in its own water. Switch off the flame. Let the pressure come down. Sprinkle garam masala and salt to taste.