Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bridging the Gender Gap

“Too often women overestimate the risks and underestimate themselves. Only by doing the very things we’re afraid of can we come to realize how little reason we ever had to fear. The only way to build confidence and courage is by acting with it.”

A creature of habit - I got up this morning at 6.45 AM. I jump into the morning "school run" routine. I heat up the water for the morning chai, start the pressure cooker for a choley subzi , heat up my son's AM hot chocolate and start emptying the dishwasher. I am like a "robot on auto-pilot" packing my son's lunch box with snacks and drinks, waiting for the choley to get done so that I can pack it in his thermos. I am done with most of the activities around 7.30 AM and sit down with my cup of chai (after I have poured out a cup for my mother and K1) and my customary handful of peanuts to check on urgent emails that need a quick response. As I was in the middle of a work email, suddenly the pressure cooker whistles and I instruct K2 aka my general boy friday - my son to switch off the pressure cooker and my husband to get a bag of Annie's cookies from the garage. My mother suddenly comments - Come On you are doing nothing...just ordering them around - how do you get your exercise - BollyX? 
That was the proverbial matador waving a red cloth before the bull - of course! I lost it !!! But the reality is this is not just my mother's  (Note : I said mother not MIL) attitude...this is the attitude of most women my mother's generation from our part of the globe - the expectation that a woman/girl should seamlessly don multiple hats while the men can rest and relax (on the merit of the fact that they were born men !!!).  Seriously - if women can't be a support system for women (especially your own mother) who else will be?
Anyway enough said about my gender gap travails and lets talk about the above-mentioned Choley/Channa Masala that is honestly a life-saver in my meal plans because it's so simple.


What you Need?

Bhuna Masala - I make this by the truckload and freeze it ( I make enough to last me 1-2 months). I take a little bit of oil (about 1/2 tsp) and add jeera and turmeric - then I add grated ginger ( 1 huge knob) and garlic ( one entire one) and let it cook with 6 Red Onions till the onions brown, then I add 6 large tomatoes or 8 medium tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes, the more you cook the better the bhuna masala tastes. When it has cooled down a bit I grind the masala in my Blendetec and store in small mason jars in my freezer for use as and when needed. This makes my normal day to day cooking way uncomplicated. And if we are honest here, I am no cooking diva - just someone who loves eating and loves eating healthy. I used the Bhuna Masala from my freezer today.

Choley Masala - I use Roopak's Pindi Chana Masala - I swear by this one - but I am sure you have your favorite brand, go ahead and use that

Canned Organic Garbanzo Beans  (from Trader Joe's) - no preservatives in this only sea-salt. I wash and rinse the chickpeas out to control how much salt goes into the dish.

Ketchup,  Cilantro, Cinnamon Powder (optional)

In your Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot - first Saute the Bhuna Masala (no oil for me) but if you are so inclined with a bit of oil. Use one large table spoon of bhuna masala per can of choley. Then add the Chana Masala - everyone has their formula - I add a large teaspoon per can of Choley. I cook for a while and then add the choley. In the Instant Pot I cook the Choley for 5 minutes high pressure, NR. On the pressure cooker I cook it for 2 whistles, QR. Add salt to taste. I add some ketchup (don't ask me why, it kicks the taste up a notch) and then sprinkle cinnamon  to taste and Cilantro (if I have it).

I usually make 3 cans worth of choley and it lasts us two meals - honestly it tastes better the next day with just a side of toast. I am enjoying a quiet lunch at my desk of Channa Masala and a banana as I write this blog post

I will leave you with the thought that - the way I am countering this gender gap is I am bringing up a boy who appreciates working women, who empathizes with the efforts we put into keeping our work lives & personal lives running smoothly. More importantly I am bringing up a boy who can  COOK a killer Channa Masala.


  1. Lovely Meenakshi..I am perusing your blog and love your writing..its so simple and easy and from the heart and most of all, I can totally relate. Will be sure to check in often. I am going to make and freeze Bhuna Masala today!!

    1. It was really nice meeting you at GHC - sometimes things are meanto to happen :-)...Thanks for reading my blog!