Sunday, 15 July 2018

Kheema per edu nay sali

Kheema Per Edu nay Sali

Kheemo Sali is a typical brunch meal in many Parsi families. Served with fried eggs and either crisp bread or fresh warm rotli, this is a favourite for many. Putting it together here I have served it individually unlike the norm of serving everything we cook family style. 

A bowl of kheema, sali topped with a fried egg. Delicious!

Serves 6

¾ kg/750gms/ 1/1/2 lbs minced meat of lamb,goat or beef
2 tbsp oil
3 medium onions finely chopped, fried to a golden brown
1 ½ tsp finely chopped ginger
1 ½ tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp chillie powder
1 ½ tsp ground cumin powder
2 finely chopped green chillies
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods
6 black pepper corns
6 cloves
2 medium sized tomatoes, pureed/crushed
1 ½ tbsp vinegar + 3 tbsp sugar 
A handful of freshly chopped corriander

Heat oil in a pan and fry onions till golden brown. Add in the ginger, garlic, chillies, cumin and turmeric. Add the minced meat and sauté 10 minutes. Now add 1 cup of water and cook till the mince is cooked.

If you like it the #ParsiFood way add the vinegar and sugar. ( do not pick just one or the other ) Add the corriander at this time if using. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes and serve topped with fried eggs and Sali.

6 eggs at room temperature, fried to your preference

A packet of Potato Straws ~ Sali, slightly warmed in the oven

Serve with warm rotlis.


If you do not have access to sali, add a potato that has been diced. You can also add half a cup of shelled peas. 

The consistency of the finished dish needs to be free of any gravy and yet very moist. The term used in Gujrati for this stage of cooking is Lachka jayvu/soft paste like.

For more Parsi Food and its origins click for my cookbook The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Kanda, Papayta, nu Dahi ma Gos.

Dahi Ma Gos, 
Kanda nay Papayta sathay

Potatoes, Onions and Meat cooked in Yogurt
Growing up this was a favourite dish my mother enjoyed. It is quite delicious when done right. 

Serves 6 persons

1 kg lamb, goat or mutton in pieces bone in
1 kg very small potatoes
1/2 kg very small pearl onions or shallots
3 medium onions, very finely chopped or ground
1 stick of cinnamon
6 cloves
12 black peppers
2 cardamom pods
2 tsp freshly pureed garlic
2 tsp freshly pureed ginger
1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 1/2 tsp chillie powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp oil
325 gr / 12 oz plain natural yogurt at room temperature

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the finely ground/ chopped onions. Add all the spices and saute` it for a minute. Add the meat and let it brown for a few minutes. 
Add about 4 cups of water, bring it to a boil, cover and lower the heat. Continue cooking for an hour or until the meat is very tender. The gravy should be thick and about 2 cupfuls. 
Prepare the potatoes and onions. Boil the potatoes, rinse out the water and peel them. Keep aside to shallow fry until a lovely golden brown. Repeat this with the onions or shallots, ( onions take only 5 minutes do not over cook )
Drain from the oil on kitchen paper. Lightly salt while warm.

Add the yogurt, potatoes and onions to the meat and gravy. Mix well and cook for about 15 minutes on a low simmer. 
Serve immediately with warm rotlis.


Always add a pinch of salt and sugar to the yogurt before adding.

The pieces of meat should equal. The time it takes to cook will be dependent on the size of the pieces.

You don't have to peel the potatoes if you do not wish to. Give them a rinse in boiling water and then pan fry them. Since they will not be cooked, add a tbsp of water once they are golden brown, cover the pan and lower the heat. This will 'steam' cook the potatoes until they are really soft. Give them 10 minutes to cook through.

Small shallots and red onions are often available in the frozen section of most super markets. This will save you time to peel the onions which can be tedious.

The yogurt will separate if added to boiling hot gravy. Let it cool down to tepid before adding. Bringing it back to heat before serving can curdle it, but leaving the pot open and keeping the heat low will avoid doing that.

For more Parsi Food recipes click on the cookbook The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Mushroom Pasta

Mushroom Pasta

A simple enough dish to enjoy as a family. Perfect for vegetarians. Choose a pasta that is your favourite, preferably one with a few ridges to catch the sauce.

Pasta, wild mushrroms, herbs, cheese and lambs lettuce.

1 kg melange of wild mushrooms
olive oil
2 finely chopped baby leeks ~ optional
handful of fresh herbs~ chives, basil, mint, parsley, 
splash of sherry
Hard cheese like parmesan, pecorino, gruyere, mature cheddar
300 gm pasta, boiled in salted water with a teaspoon of olive oil

In a pan heat 2 tbsp each of salted butter and olive oil. Tear the wild mushrooms and throw them in to saute. If adding finely chopped leeks or green onions add it in now. Let it just saute` until soft. Add a splash of sherry, throw in a handful of herbs.
Toss in the cooked pasta and sprinkle generously with hard cheese of your choice; like parmesan, cheddar, pecorino, guryere. Keep tossing and serve immediately with greens like lambs lettuce or watercress. 


It is important to choose the flavours you enjoy. Pasta is versatile. Use a fresh pasta if available. Any ridged pasta works best for this recipe like Penne and Rigatoni or even a Campanelle.  

Pick fresh herbs that are in season and  your favourite flavours. Start with less and add until you find it well balanced to suit your palate. 

Nutmeg has a sweeter tone then black pepper while white pepper gives heat to the plate. Mixed peppercorn is my personal favourite. Freshly grated pepper is delicious.

Baby leeks and green onions are wonderful in this pasta. 

Cheese is a crucial part of this dish. Grating it over the pot while the food is still warm is best. 
If you don't like Sherry add a splash of cream or milk.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Mushroom Pate`

Mushroom Pate`

A lovely choice for any party or a crowd. It is delightful as mushroom and cheese make a yummy combination. Serve it up with seaweed crackers, plain toast or even garlic bread. 
It is all divine.

A biscuit and mushroom pate` makes a delicious starter

The texture of the pate`
Even Mushrooms can look elegant!

Serves 15 to 20 persons   

4 tbsp unsalted butter
6 finely chopped green onions with the stalks
1 ½ lb of mixed mushrooms
chanterelle, shitaki, Portobello, brown, white cap,  washed trimmed and roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to season
1/3rd cup dry sherry
250gm/ 8 oz cream cheese; at room temperature
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley or corriander
1/2 cup toasted walnuts; chopped
1/4 cup toasted pecans; chopped
few drops Tabasco
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

In pan melt together the butter and green onions. Give it a stir and add the mushrooms
Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook until tender and all the liquid is gone, stirring it every few minutes. It may take about 15 minutes.

Now add the sherry and continue cooking till it is evaporated.

In another bowl mix together the cream cheese with the parsley or corriander, chopped nuts and season it with Tabasco and lemon juice.
Taking out a handful of mushrooms to decorate on top, combine the rest of the mushroom mixture into it and set in 3 serving molds to chill overnight.
Keep it covered.


Mixing the warm mushrooms into the cream cheese mixture makes it easier to stir it in. Just avoid it being hot or the cheese will melt and spoil the texture.
A couple of drops of tabasco and a tsp of lemon juice is enough to season.
Rum,port, gin or vodka are all good substitutes for sherry

Use your favourite herb if you prefer. Basil and chives both work well with mushrooms.

Leave 3 tbsps of cooked mushrooms aside to top the cup as it is a great way to plate and serve up the pate`.

For more wonderful recipes from the Parsi Food repertoire click on The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Bheeda ma Gos - Okra/Ladyfingers in a meat stew.

Bheeda Ma Gos

Okra and Lamb Stew

This recipe is a typical family weeknight meal in most Parsi homes. It has a balance of protein and vegetable. While many of us grew up eating this kind of food, some of us like the idea of vegetables being less overcooked then it used to be. Here I have grilled the okra with a tad of oil. I added them to the hot boiling gravy just for a few minutes before serving it up. They will keep their shape, texture and are not sticky. 

Lamb stew with Okra

Serves 4 persons

1 tbsp oil
1kg pieces of lamb/mutton/goat bone in
2 tsp ginger
2 tsp garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chillie powder
1 cup finely chopped fried onions
4 cups water
500 gm fresh okra/ladyfinger; remove the tops and split in half

In a pan heat the oil and pan fry the meat until lightly browned. Add the garlic, ginger and salt and allow to mix well. Add 3 cups of water, bring it to a boil and cover the pot. Lower the flame to medium low and cook for an hour.
Now add the cumin, turmeric, chillie powder, give it a good stir and add the fried onions. Add the last cup of water and bringing it to a boil, cover the pot to simmer and allow it to cook for another 30 minutes. The gravy should be thick and plentiful.

Meanwhile prepare the okra/ladyfinger. Cut the tops off, slit it open and lightly oil, salt and add a pinch of sugar. Toss it well. In a preheated oven of 180C 360F place the vegetable on a tray lined with parchment paper and roast it for an hour.
Turn it half way if possible.
Throw them into the gravy of meat. Give it a good toss. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes and serve immediately with warm rotlis. 

For more Parsi Food click on The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Aleti Paleti - Chicken Liver and Gizzards

Aleti Paleti

Liver and gizzards are a love it or leave it option for most. While growing up my aunt Hilla would prepare this delicious dish and sneak in other innards too when she would be preparing it for herself, but was kind enough to leave us with the knowledge that we were eating just these two. Never without the delicious potatoes and boiled eggs to devour with it. 
It was always a brunch served to us on a Sunday afternoon, with other favourites like waffles after. 
It is a delicious part of the #ParsiFood flavours and for me personally brings back a flood of happy memories too. 

This picture has been shared by a facebook friend who won a contest for Aleti Paleti using this recipe. 
Serves 8 persons

1 kg  chicken liver
1/2 kg chicken gizzards (boiled, see tips) 

Marinate them in 
1 1/2 tsp garlic 
1 1/2 tsp ginger 
1 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp chilli powder

in a pan heat some oil and fry 6 finely chopped onions,  ( or 2 cups of already fried onions)
3/4 tsp turmeric, 
1 tsp cumin
4 crushed tomatoes  ( 2 cups of crushed tomatoes ) and cook well until the masala comes together. You will be able to see little droplets of oil on the side once it has been properly cooked. This is called tayl per avay.
Add 3 slit green chillies and  the marinated gizzards and liver. Mix well and cook for 7 minutes. Do not cover. Sprinkle with a hand full of fresh cut coriander.
Serve it with diced roasted potatoes and freshly boiled eggs and warm rotli on the side.


Boil the gizzards for 30 minutes in salted water. Cool and marinate. This ensures that they are soft and edible.

For more Parsi Food recipes refer to  The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Sali Boti

Sali Boti

While Dhansak will always remain synonymous to Parsi Food, Sali Boti is not too far behind. 
Popular in most cafes and restaurants that serve up Parsi Cuisine, the sali boti is served with fresh warm rotlis. While the boti refers to the small pieces of soft succulent mutton, lamb or goat meat, the sali is slim slivers of potatoes deeply fried to a crisp. Covering the meat completely with these crisp pieces of heaven is how it is best served. 

As in all recipes that have come down generations by word of mouth or learning in the kitchen, the variations are endless. Is it whole garam masalo or ground? Should we add a dash of tomato or none? Worcestershire Sauce can replace the khatu mithu, yet vinegar and jaggery is more authentic, does it really need the dash of turmeric or has it become a part of the 'health conscious' Parsi?

Do we add a bit of yogurt or cream and marinate? Well, the honest truth is far from known to anyone. It has now become a matter of choice and a personal preference of taste. All I do recommend is to use red onions over any other, that is if you are planning to fry it from scratch and not adding the store bought variety. The red onion seems to be favoured in many original authentic recipes, perhaps it is part of our Persian Heritage much like the use of dry fruit and nuts in our recipes.

Sali Boti 

Serves 6 persons

1 kg diced meat of choice; lamb, mutton or goat
1 tbsp oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp fresh garlic paste
2 tsp fresh ginger paste
1 1/2 tsp red chillie powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
2 tomatoes crushed
1 tsp garam masalo
750 gm fried onion; preferably using red onions
1 cup water or as needed
2 tbsp fruit vinegar
2 tbsp jaggery

Optionally: Fresh corriander leaves to garnish

Prepare the meat to be cut in equal pieces. In a pan heat the oil and brown the meat. Add all the spices and the tomato. Keep cooking and stirring for about 15 minutes until the gravy thickens releasing drops of oil on the side of the pan. This is called ''ghee tayl per avay'' and important to cook the spices and gravy. Now add the garam masalo and onion. Mix well and add the cup of water. Bring it to a boil, lower the heat, cover and cook on a simmer for 45 minutes to an hour or until the meat is very soft. The gravy should be thick and not at all runny. Lastly add the vinegar and jaggery. Cover and cook on a low simmer for a further 10 minutes until it has incorporated well. 
Serve this dish hot topped with 250 gm Sali. Warm Rotli or soft nan on the side is the ideal accompaniment.


I personally have always preferred the flavours of the bone  in any meat dish and use small diced meat with a few bone in thrown in. 

Use wafers, crisps if sali is unavailable in stores near you.
To make your own sali peel and sliver the potatoes, wash and pat dry. in a tea towel. Heat the oil and deep fry until golden brown and crisp.
Drain on a paper towel, sprinkle lightly with salt while hot and keep aside to use.

Alternately dice the potatoes very small, pan fry or roast in an oven, lightly sprinkle with salt. It will not be as crisp but still taste just as delicious.

For more Parsi recipes click on The Art of Parsi Cooking ; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Salad with a Maple Vinaigrette

Maple Vinaigrette Salad

Reminds me of a breakfast salad with all the smoked meat turkey/bacon egg  mushroom tomato combination! But it is hearty, refreshing and has a ton of flavour. Make it your own and add what you wish. 

Maple Vinaigrette
1 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp orange juice or a squeeze of lemon/lime
Shake or mix together before drizzling.

500 gms mixed salad leaf
4 eggs, hard boiled and sliced or diced
3 strips of smoked meat 
1 cup of mushrooms diced
1 tomato sliced 
6 olives, thickly sliced

Wash and dry the salad leaf.
Boil the eggs and prepare them, salt and pepper them. 
Pan fry the smoked meat and when it is almost done add the mushrooms and saute them. Add a touch of butter if you need more fat.
Prepare the tomatoes and olives.

Toss all of this together. Drizzle the maple syrup vinaigrette.
Toss lightly and serve.

You can add cucumber and also substitute tomatoes for fresh orange segments.
Add a handful of diced cheddar. Pick your favourite sort of olives and increase the amount as needed.

While this is such a versatile recipe the key ingredients that makes it special is the maple syrup and smoked meat. Bacon or Turkey Bacon works best.

For Parsi Food recipes click The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Navroze ~ Persian New Year

March 2018

Navroze or "New Day" in Farsi marks the first day of the Spring Equinox for the Northern Hemisphere, which falls on March 20th/21st each year. It reminds us that the cold is coming to an end and it's time to cleanse our homes that have remained closed over the wintry days, a new year to start afresh. The occasion is celebrated with friends, families, and neighbours, sharing what we are forunate enough to have with others

Navroze is a celebration of good health, happiness and prosperity, thought to be celebrated by over 190 million people worldwide, particularly by those from the Middle East and Central and South Asia.

The Haftseen table is a symbolic tribute to the seven creations of the universe; fire, water, air, earth, metal, the plant and animal kingdom. It thanks the universe for what we have and pray for continuity in the days to come. It is called Haftsheen or Haftseen, where 7 items start with the sound 'S' or 'Sh' are placed on the table alongside other symbols. 

Sumac - dried berry powder represents sunrise
Semanu - sweet semolina pudding 
Seb - apple representing health and beauty
Sabzi - greens or lentils representing life and rebirth
Seer - garlic representing health 
Senjed - olives representing love
Serkeh - vinegar representing age and patience

The table usually features candles, a mirror, coins, flowers, painted eggs, nuts and dry fruit, and gold fish in addition to the main 7 'S's.

Originating in the Persian Empire centuries ago when King Jamshed the Great declared this day as Jamshedi Navroze, the table continues to be a tradition in modern-day Iran, and other Middle Eastern and Central and South Asian countries, and of course amongst their diaspora around the world. 

The table and its offerings are a celebration of life. A thanksgiving for the abundant creations of nature and the universe, and a reflection on and appreciation of the beauty of all things around us.

The Western world in its own small way of recognition has declared this date as Poetry Day and United Nations Day. Some refer to it as International Day of Happiness.

I am guessing this date its not quite the same for the people in the Southern Hemsiphere, where its the Autumnal Equinox. But, hey you can't possibly have it all. There is always an exception to every rule.

My HaftSheen Table with the sharab/wine was for entertainment, siir which is garlic, sikka  which is the coin represents wealth, saeb the apple, sonbol the hyacinth plant life, rosewater, While the mirror reflects creation and remembering to look at one self and smile while making a wish for the upcoming year. The prayer book and candles placed for each member of the family.
Milk was placed for nourishment while a box or a shemshad represented wealth. A goldfish /Pisces placed in a bowl of water represented the end of  our astrological year . In ancient Persia people also floated an orange in a bolw to represence the earth as part of the universe.


It has been centuries since the Advent of Spring was marked universally.
After all its a celebration where we are thankful for all "life'' ; animal, plant and ourselves. It respects the elements of our planet; air, wind, water, fire and metal. Come join in by preparing a feast for the family or simply sharing a meal with your neighbour. A gesture of kindness and some zest for living has never hurt anyone. Be blessed. 🙏

A program called 'sharing and caring' has been set up to create an awareness of our heritage and traditions.  Preparing home made sweets to share with neighbours.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Mushrooms in Puff Pastry

Mushrooms in a Puff Pastry

While its simple to make the mushroom filling, serving anything in a puff pastry can be rather elegant. If rolled out pastry is not available to you, its simple to roll it out from a block. Make sure its old to touch, that the room is not too hot when you are working, and use a little flour both on the surface and the rolling pin. Roll it out on the parchment paper so you can lift it up and place on the tray without a chance to break it. Alternately  use vol au vents, party shells, filo cups etc.

This will make a filling for two rolls and can serve upto 16 persons with a full menu

1kg sliced mixed mushrooms
2 oz butter salted
2 oz oilve oil 
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
Add to it 1/4 cup of Port
pinch of salt
2 sauteed leeks
300 gms of cream cheese, preferably garlic and herbed flavour.

2 sheets ready to use puff pastry
An egg, egg yolk, cream or milk for the ''wash''

Melt  and heat the butter and olive oil. Add the chopped leeks. Saute until soft and add the mixed mushrooms, the thyme, port and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook well  for about 20 minutes. Give it a stir, remove the cover and  allow all the liquid to evaporate. Cool completely.
Add the cream cheese and mix it in with a spoon. Divide it in half and fill the rolled out puff pastry sheets.
Fold in the sides, bring the bottom to fold up and bring down the top to fold over the bottom. Turn it over, on a baking sheet on a butter paper; ensuring the seam is down.
Apply an eggwash, or milk/cream wash.
Make two slits on each roll. 

Bake on 400F preheated for 30 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
Serve immediately.

If your cream cheese is plain, add two tsps of fresh herbs that are finely chopped and one crushed clove of garlic. 
Slicing the cooked pastry with a pizza cutter is the simplest.
Keep the creamcheese at room temperature to help it mix easily.
If the mushroom mixture is not fairly stiff refrigerate it for 30 minutes. The mixture will melt and ooze out if it is runny or too thin.
Always thaw puff pastry in the refrigerator overnight.
It should be cold to touch when you are working with the pastry.
Ready to use rolled out pastry is available in many stores.

For Parsi Food and recipes click on The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Photo Courtesy Mehreen B