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PaalakDon’t we all love the yummy paalak paneer? It’s too good a food to resist and more often than not, guests scramble to get another dose of the yummy greeny gravy of grounded paalak with doses of pieces of paneer floating in it. It’s almost the same scenario irrespective if you’re a guest at a wedding or a restaurant or for that matter eating your favorite dish in your own home.

So what goes in the making of this sinful dish? Obviously the answer will be – paalak & paneer. Well that is elementary my dear Mumbaikar! But do you realize that in most cases, the green leafy paalak and the white yummy paneer are adulterated?

We Mumbaikars living in a highly populated, cosmopolitan and overcrowd city consider the Mumbai Railways as the lifeline of the city. Lakhs of commuters travel by the Mumbai locals daily to reach their destinations whether it’s to reach their workplace or back home. These local trains don’t real give the best of views of the surrounds as it races across the tracks. But ask those who travel on the thresholds of these trains. What they see are not just cultivating fields bordering the railway tracks at almost every inch of its way but also some open air toilets that are visible in these fields or on the periphery of it.

So what do these cultivating fields grow? Yes, your guess is good as mine… our favorite leafy green vegetable who we lovingly call Paalak. Such vegetables which our teachers have taught us to eat regularly for a healthy mind and body. Alas, that is not the case to be. What the teachers taught us can take a walk in the park. Because these vegetables are cultivated using gutter water that gushes out of our homes and passes through the rail tracks through nallahs or gutters. And if that’s not all, these gutter waters are even highly toxic and contain deadly chemicals that finds its way to these gutters from scores of small factories and small scale industries that dot Mumbai.

And still you’d think these green leafy vegetables would be good for our health?

And we were told Milk is good for health. It is as long as we have the right Milk and not an adulterated one. Milk is an important port of Paneer that makes up the other half of our favorite dish. Just like a husband compliments his wife and vice versa, so does a good Paneer compliment a good Paalak. But alas, not all Paneers are good like not husbands are. There is a possibility that your favorite Paneer might not even have an ounce of milk in it. What comprises of such paneers are fertilizers like urea and other hazardous chemicals which can be harmful for your health.

So a combination of Bad Paneer with Bad Paalak or a Good Paneer with Bad Paalak or Bad Paneer with Good Paalak is as harmful for your family as a Good Father with Bad Mother or Bad Mother with Good Father or Bad Father with Bad Mother.

The take is yours. Next time you buy either the raw Paalak or Paneer, make sure you have the healthiest of the choices. And next time you go for a wedding or visit a restaurant, don’t forget to ask your host if they have a healthy Paalak Paneer served. Maybe you might not be welcome at the place anymore but like the saying goes, ‘Forewarned is forearmed!’.

Well, it’s time for me to indulge in some tasty Paalak Paneer! Teachers please excuse me!

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