My son has curly hair. I mean he has REAL curly hair. Me, Raj nor Diya has curly hair, it’s just him. Well, my maternal side ancestors had curly hair, who I haven’t seen nor met till now. My brother does have wavy hair, but not “curly”! So the day this naughty little angel was born and I first held him in my hand, my eyes went straight on his hair and in all the pain I had, I first asked Raj, “curly hair?”.He barely heard me first, I had to gather up my strength and say the words again. He laughed first, and then said, “I was wondering too!”
As he grew up, his hair was getting curlier by the day. We follow this religious custom of not cutting the baby hair even a bit until we offer the hair to a Hindu Lord called Venkateshwara. Hindus follow a ritual of offering the new born baby hair to the Lord (in the temple we shave the babies hair after taking the Lords name). This is usually done when baby turns 11 month old. Some even do it in the 7th month. The practice is we give away the hair in the odd months of the baby age. And until that is done, we do not cut the baby’s hair at all (neither at home, nor in a parlor). Yeah, talk about religious customs, some are of them are just hard to understand. I am not a religious person, and I do not go on the track of following all the customs with hard and fast rule, some of which don’t make sense to me. But I do certain things for the sake of my family, for the sake of Raj’s family. Parents from both sides wanted us to offer the baby’s first hair to the Lord and that too in the temple, so we made up our mind to do it for the family sake, just once for both the baby’s.
So after son’s hair was shaved off, a lot of people said to me, he will get back normal straight hair, just watch. A lot of people have seen hair structure change after they got their head shaved, that’s what people (everybody I know) told me. So with fingers crossed I eagerly waited for the hair to grow. Looking at the hair springing up from the follicle, and I started to frown. It looked like it was growing back into curly hair.
Friends, family told me to stop winning. His hair was adorable and he looks damn cute with or without them. But I don’t know what caught on my head; I took him to a parlor this time to shave his head again after the hair grew back. After second time, it came back curly. I took him again and shaved his head, and this time too no miracle happened. I did it for the 4th time again. Nothing! And then I gave up. I told myself to stop torturing him. Friends and family was ready to kick me in my butt hard if I did it one more time. I made peace and told them I wont shave his head again.
2 days back, I had to take my son to the parlor for his summer hair cut which was due for past 1 week. I made him sit on the high chair, the parlor guy covered him with a Mickey Mouse printed cloth, secured the velcro joints well to ensure no hair falls on his body, then asked me, “maam, summer cut?” I don’t know what made me say those words; I had really not planned in my mind. But those words just fell out of my mouth. I told him, “No, shave his head with a razor!” Oh boy! I did it, no idea why, I repeated that. And the count is gone up to 5!! Yes till now I got my son’s hair shaved 5 times!! I went back home hubby and daughter laughed though, they said, “awww he is looking so cute!” And daughter could not take off her hands from her brother’s soft head for 2 days. I told my friends to kick my butt when they meet me!
The day I got my son’s head shaved, we got back home late. It was close to lunch time and I had to quickly make something for lunch. The dal was pressure cooked and ready. I got back home with 2 fresh bunches of palak leaves(spinach) from the local farmer who was selling it on the road side near the parlor. The fresh spinach caught my eyes and I had to buy it. Once I returned home, I did not want to throw them in the fridge, I wanted to use it fresh. Nothing can beat the taste of fresh spinach. I decided to make dal palak dhaba style to do justice to the fresh produce. The dal palak turned out super delicious, we licked out plates off, literally.
This is how I made my dal palak dhaba style-
1 cup toor dal(or use yellow moong dal)
1 cup palak leaves/spinach(tightly packed)
1 large onion
1 large tomato
3 green chilies
1 tablespoon ginger pieces
1 tablespoon garlic pieces + 1 teaspoon extra
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon ghee
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
2 dried red chilies
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder
Salt to taste
1 pinch asafetida
- Rinse dal 2 to 3 times. Soak dal in enough water for about 20 minutes. Pressure cook the soaked dal in enough water with ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder for about 2 to 3 whistles.
- Pick palak leaves(spinach) and rinse it under water to remove all the dirt from the leaves. Chop it fine as possible, keep aside.
- In a wok add 1 tablespoon ghee plus ½ tablespoon oil. Add cumin seeds and will till it turns slightly brown. Add finely chopped garlic and ginger pieces. Saute till the raw smell of ginger garlic goes off.
- Next add finely chopped onions and green chilies, cook until onions start to turn brown.
- Add finely chopped tomatoes and cook till tomatoes turns soft and release the juices.
- Add finely chopped spinach leaves. Cook till spinach is completely cooked.
- Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt to taste and mix well. Saute for a minute.
- Add cooked dal and mix well. Cover and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn off flame.
- In another small pan heat remaining ½ tablespoon oil. Add mustard seeds wait till it splutters. Add cumin seeds and wait till it starts to turn brown. Add thin sliced garlic and sauté till garlic turns golden brown. Add asafetida and dried red chilies, let it cook for 20 seconds and turn off flame. Add this tempering to the dal.
- Serve hot with steamed rice with a dollop of ghee on top. Pure bliss!