Sunday, 26 August 2018

Baba Ghanouj

Baba Ghanouj

A levantine recipe originating probably in what is present day Syria. Literally translated Baba Ghanouj is an homage to a much loved father. Old folklore tells an affectionate tale of a daughters adoration toward her aged baba~father as she would help him eat his food easily by mashing up the ingredients. In this case an eggplant mixed with a few pantry staples in their home. 

More commonly the word (lost in translation) is referred to as Baba Ghanoush.

There are many variations strongly dependent on the geographical area you are eating it in and yet delicious in all forms.  Served up with fresh warm pita bread it is perfect at any meal.

Baba Ghanouj served in eggplant shells, sprinkled with sumac and pomegranate seeds.

Makes 2 large bowls
Serves up to 15 persons as a dip

2 egg plant
1 tsp salt
2 cloves of garlic
lemon juice of one fresh lemon
2 tbsp tahini ( sesame paste )
1 tbsp parsley
2 tbsp olive oil

pinch of sumac or anar dana ( pomegranate powder )
pomegranate seeds to garnish

Optional ingredients
1 roasted red pepper, skinned and diced
2 tbsp chopped saute`d onion
a tbsp of yogurt
pinch of sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Split the eggplants in even halves. Brush the eggplants with olive oil and salt. Place them cut side down, on baking tray that has been lined with parchment paper.
Cook for 45 minutes to an hour until cooked through.
Allow it to cool.

In a food processor or with an immersion blender, mix together the scooped cooked eggplant,(take all the juices but leave the skin behind), garlic, lemon juice, salt and tahini. Pulse until pulped down. Taste and add any of the optional ingredients.
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sumac or anar dana powder.


Once the eggplant is roasted, you can grill it or bbq it for the smoky flavours if you so desire. Originally the eggplant was smoked.

While Sumac is the traditional powder, made from the tart sumac berry , anar dana is a great substitute. 
Aaam choor, which is an Indian spice made from tart mangoes is also a close replacement.

Sugar is generally added to caramelise the eggplant while roasting.

Roasted red peppers,onion  and yogurt are not in the original recipe but can be good fillers if you need to make a larger quantity and pair well.    

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

Photo courtesy
Niloufer Mavalvala

Friday, 24 August 2018

Peach and Sherry Ice cream

Peach and Sherry Ice cream.

Drunk fresh peaches served with this Peach and Sherry ice cream is simply delightful. Eating it with brandy snaps is my personal favourite  because it simply reminds me of my childhood.Growing up indulging in some of the best fruit in the world like mangoes, pomegranates and peaches we made lots of ice cream at home. The flavours of this ice cream are fresh; the sherry is pungent but not potent and adds to the sweet and creaminess of this ice cream. A cooking sherry does not work for this recipe. 

Peach and Sherry Ice cream served on a ice brandy drunk peach

Serves 30 people

3 kg peeled peaches (weight does not include the pits or skin) 

juice of 1 lemon
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup whole milk
4 egg yolk
2 cups whole cream
2 cans condensed milk
3/4 cup sherry

Step 1 
Wash and blanch the peaches in hot water for 10 minutes. The skin will start to peel away. Allow it to cool. Skin the peaches, remove the stone, and keep adding it to a large pot with all the juices from the peach, the lemon juice 1 cup of sugar, and the salt. Let the sugar dissolve on a very low flame, stirring all the time.  Once the sugar is dissolved, bring it to a boil, lower the heat and cook it for about 30 minutes until the peaches are cooked and soft enough to be pulverised.
Turn this into a pulp with the help of an immersion blender or a food processor or liquidiser.

Step 2
While the peaches are cooking make the custard with 1 cup hot scalded milk, take it off the stove and add 4 egg yolks that have been beaten and strained through a sieve.
Put it back on the stove and lower the heat to the lowest. Stirring constantly allow the mixture to simmer until it is just about to boil. You will feel the mixture become heavy but cannot be thick yet.
Add the cream, condensed milk and sherry to this custard.
Now add all the pulverised peach mixture into it.
Mix well.
Chill in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.
Churn in an ice cream machine.
Serve with drunk peaches or brandy snaps

Over ripe peaches will work well as they tend to be juicy and the skin often comes off without blanching.
If you use white peaches that have a strong pink hue on the stone, add the stone while cooking the peaches to get the beautiful natural colours. Discard the stones before pulping it down.This will add to the finished ice cream.
You may like to add a little less sherry to start off. Taste and add more if you prefer.
The egg yolks used here are large. If yours look small add a 5th one. Pour milk through the sieve used for the egg yolk to ensure all the yolk is being used up. 

For delicious Parsi Food recipes look for The Art of Parsi Cooking ; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Photo courtesy
Niloufer Mavalvala

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Potato and Mint Salad

Potato and Mint Salad

Salads as a meal on a warm summers day can be fun. Here is a simple potato salad, tossed in an aromatic herby butter served with either hummus or a homemade artichoke dip. Using fresh herbs in season and your favourite salted butter makes the best option.

Lightly smashed baby potatoes tossed in garlic butter and herbs of choice served up with bacon bits and an artichoke dip

Serves  8

1 kg baby new potatoes; boiled in salted water and drained
4 oz salted butter mixed in with 
4 fresh garlic finely chopped or crushed
4 tbsp mint/parsley
dash of salt  and freshly ground pepper

200 gm diced smoked meat

served with artichoke dip or hummus

Toss the well cooked potatoes (in the pan you used to boil them in) with the prepared butter. Using a fork is best so it gets slightly broken allowing the flavours to mingle well.
Serve it with some pan fried smoked meat like chicken or turkey bacon, sausages or bacon.
Hummus or artichoke dip goes well to complete.


For a vegetarian meal, use diced smoked cheese.

Padron and Shishito Peppers crackled with a touch of salt, taste delicious with this.

Using small new potatoes ensures the skin is very tender and one does not need to peel it.

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

Photo courtesy
Niloufer Mavalvala

Friday, 27 July 2018

Artichoke Dip

Artichoke Dip

Summer brings fresh vegetables that you can enjoy any day of the week. Here is a simple artichoke dip with fresh asparagus ( lightly steamed ). If you want to get adventurous, use this dip to coat fresh pasta, adding your 3 favourite ingredients like mushrooms, smoked meat and asparagus to make it into a meal.

Fresh summer Asparagus with an Artichoke dip.

Makes 4 cups

In a food processor add
2 cans of Artichokes, drained
a large handful of fresh parsley
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of freshly ground chillie pepper
a pinch of sugar
Fresh zest of the lemon and the juice of one lemon
1/2 cup of freshly grated pecorino, pravolone, parmesan, asiago or any favourite similar cheese

With the machine turned on, pour good virgin olive oil in a gentle stream until the mixture is a thick texture. ( Approximately 1 cup )

Optionally add in with a spoon
a chopped pickled walnut;it is delicious.


This dip is superb on the base of a pizza, served up with special cheese crackers, with an egg and a potato salad. It also pairs well with blistered  Shishito or Padron  Peppers.
It stays well in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Do not over power the dip with cheese. The taste of the artichoke needs to stand out. 
If you prefer to use the bottled variety, you may need to adjust the salt and lemon.

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

Photo courtesy
Niloufer Mavalvala

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.

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.

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