Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Parsi food in pictures



Parsi food is both simple and healthy.
It is often said that there is a food for every occasion and an occasion for every food!


It has been enthusiastically adopted and adapted, creating a distinct cuisine that brings together Gujarati, Maharashtrian, Persian and even British flavors. Stews and khoresh with the ample use of dried fruits reflect our Persian roots, the extensive inclusion of seafood comes from living in key port cities like Bombay and Karachi and the extremely sweet tooth is only increased with the love of puddings and custards from the British.

This cuisine is a familial one, accessible by all home cooks – experienced or not. This cuisine is not particularly meant for fine dining restaurants; it is about home and hearth. 
My new cookbook The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is precisely to showcase that. It best portrays seasonal cooking, food sustainability and minimal wastage all of which is encouraged in our way of life. Perhaps the chapter Mamaiji nu Pinjroo (Grandmas Larder) which emphasises all of the above. 


It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words - with good reason no doubt. Let the feasting begin.

Kheema papayta na pattice served with tomato chilli lime jam
Bhaji jhinga -Spinach and prawn stew
Masoor ma gos - lentil and meat stew

Channa ni daar- Bengal gram lentil

Mava na cake
Chori papayta - Yardlongbeans



Topli na paneer - silky cottage cheese 

Copra na pancake - coconut filled crepes

Sali Boti - meat stew and matchstick potatoes


kheemo edu nay sali - groundmeat, fried egg and matchstick potatoes

Dahi ni kudhi - yogurt kudhi
Murghi papayto - chicken and potato


Available  worldwide on amazon.com 
Biryani

Bheeda ma gos - okra and lamb stew

Mango chutney



      Available  worldwide on amazon.com 

Caramel custard

Murumbo - white bottle gourd jam

Gajar mewa nu achar - Carrot and fruit chutney

Gharab nu achar - pickled fish roe
Sua pak - A melange of seeds and nuts



Berry Palau

Mango chutney and prawn balchao - pickled prawns

Bhakras - fried tea cakes

Ribbon rice

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Mushrooms on a Brioche





Mushrooms on a Brioche

This is my own version of a French recipe that I had in a deli recently and just loved. A Beautiful melange of freshly saute`ed wild mushrooms topped on a slice of toasted brioche - any kind of  bread with a bit of sweetness will work well. Sharp cheese like Gruyere and cheddar work best. Keep it well toasted. 



Just one serving of the brioche topped with the mushrooms

Serves 12 


Toast the brioche bread, x 12
Butter it well with salted delicious butter. 
Optionally slather with Dijon mustard
Generously top with sliced or shredded cheese, Gruyere and white sharp cheddar works best
Place all the twelve pieces of brioche next to one another in a large 13 x 9 shallow dish.

Grill until melted and bubbles.

In a skillet melt 2 tbsp of olive oil and 2 tbsp of butter, 
Add 1 kg of sliced mixed mushrooms, chantarelle, brown, cremini, shitake, portobello
2 springs of fresh thyme
salt to taste
1/4 cup of sherry or port
Bring to a boil, cover, lower and cook for 30 minutes. 
With the flame on high and removing the lid, allow it to boil, evaporating the liquid leaving a few tablespoons of liquid for the topping.
Pour all over the prepared brioche and serve immediately. 

Tips

You may prepare the mushrooms well ahead of time. Simply reheat them to a boil before pouring them on.

Brioche freezes well. Its simple to make as little or as much as required on the day off.

Fresh oregano, mixed dry herbs de provence all work well with the mushroom.



Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Amandine Tart


Amandine tart with custard

A delicious tea time treat which is simple enough to prepare with puff pastry bought from the frozen section of super markets and bakeries. Perfect for a crowd.

Did you know amandine is a fancy pastry that is almond-based? There are plenty of 'kinds'' too. It could be a tartlet, tart, individual or large, round or long, with puff or a shortcrust pastry typically flavoured with rum and garnished with sliced almonds. Brushing it with an apricot or peach jam to finish it off with a beautiful glaze.

This pastry is served with a dollop of sherry custard

The roll tucked under gives this pastry its finished look. Keep the sides free of custard to be able to tuck it in. This is the almond cream mixed with cream patisserie.
Makes 3 lb or 1.5 kg
Will be enough to fill about 3 to 4 pre-rolled sheets

Almond cream

8 oz butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
12 egg yolks
2 cups almond meal
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp Rum
1 tbsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt


Cream the butter, add the sugar, beat , cornflour almond meal, rum, vanilla and egg yolks. It will be thick enough to spoon.

Remove a pre-rolled sheet of puff pastry that is thawed overnight in the fridge that is chilled but soft enough to unroll.

Place the sheet on a flat surface and with a pizza cutter cut in half, long side. 
Spoon the amandine over the pastry  roll the sides over on both the long ends, (picture below)
Sprinkle it with demerara sugar (or any other granular sugar( and slivers of almonds for decoration.

Bake for 22 minutes, in a preheated oven on 400 F or 220 C. Or until golden brown.

Optionally, serve with a creme patisserie.


Tips

To finish it off before baking, b
rush the pastry with an egg beaten with a tsp of water before baking it to give it a good glaze.
Or once it is baked brush it with a bit of apricot or peach jam to glaze.
 Once it has cooled down a tad, with a sieve dust the pastry with icing sugar (to make it look professional)  before serving.
Best eaten warm while freshly baked.

This almond cream can be frozen for up to 3 months. Divide it equally for each pastry to keep it simple to use.

Another option is to whisk in 2 tablespoon of thick chilled cream pattisserie into 250 gm/1/2 lb of almond cream before placing it on the pastry sheet to bake. It will make it creamier and lighter.

If you prefer to try something new, use unsalted peeled pistachios that are crushed instead of almond and make a pistachio cream. Cream patisserie is not recommended to be mixed in with pistachio cream as it will loose its colour and flavour if added to the mix.


Ready to bake you may roll it more closely if preferred
This pastry is just almond cream without the cream pattisserie




Creme Patisserie 
2 cups cream
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp sherry
In a pan mix the sugar flour salt and cream. Whisk to cook over a low flame. Bring to a boil for a minute or two.

In another bowl mix 2 egg yolks vanilla and sherry, mix it well. Now add 1 tbsp of the hot mixture to the egg and beat it well. This will temper the eggs so they don't curdle. Now through a sieve push the egg mix into the cream mix and keep mixing. Bring it back to the stove for a minute to allow the eggs to cook through. Keep stirring to keep it smooth. Put a piece of cling film over the custard so it does not form a skin over it.

The World of Parsi Cooking : Food Across Borders is now available on amazon.com

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.



Monday, 12 August 2019

Rugelach

Rugelach


A rugelach is an Eastern European pastry that are often crescent shaped pastry filled with a fruit and nut filling. Not overly sweet, the pastry is made with cream cheese. Baked and served warm with a cup of coffee they are versatile. They can also be rolled up as cigars and cut into spirals.  




Freshly baked rugelach.



Makes 80 pieces

The pastry

340 gm/12 oz cream cheese
340 gm/ 12 oz soft salted butter
4 1/2 cup sifted plain flour
3/4 tsp salt


With an electric mixer cream together the cream cheese and butter, until light and fluffy.
Add the plain flour and salt until just combined. Cover in cling film, flatten into a fat disc and chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Filling

1 cup cup dry cherries 
1 1/2 cup mixed nuts like walnuts, macadamia, pistachios ( lightly toasted )
6 oz cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp whole milk, cream OR half and half 
In a food processor crush the nuts and cherries until fine pieces. Add the rest of the ingredient and using the pulse button bring it all together. 

To Assemble
Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and make 250 gm discs, or 10 portions. roll each one into a 6 to 7 inch disc.
With a pizza cutter slice into 8 equal slices. Repeat on all 10 discs.Now place a teaspoon of the filling on the widest end of each of the triangle, cut on the disc. 
Roll each one like a cigar.
Place on a baking sheet. Repeat until all are complete.

Sprinkle with brown sugar.

Bake in a preheated oven of 350 degrees for 30 minutes until its nice and golden brown.
Serve warm.

TipsWhile this recipe can easily be divided, its simpler to make the whole lot and freeze them unbaked until needed. Freshly baked pastry tastes delicious.

Cranberries, raisins, kismis, dried berries are all good alternate to dry cherries. Pecans and pine nuts can also be added to the list of nuts. 

The World of Parsi Cooking : Food Across Borders is now available on amazon.com

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Clementine Orange Cheesecake

Clementine Orange Cheesecake.





Cheesecake topped with clementine


Prepare a 9 inch spring form pan with a parchment paper at the bottom.


Pastry

The pastry can be made by hand with your finger tips, by using two butter knives or simply in a food processor using the pulse button.

In a bowl cut together with two knives, until it resembles crumbs


1 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar
125gm/4oz salted butter
zest of one orange

Mix together in a small bowl and add to the dough


1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Knead together and leave it to rest. 


Cut into 3 equal pieces. Use 2/3 to cover the base of the pan, pressing it down with your finger tips. ( It is simpler to do this with your hands over a rolling pin.)


Bake in a preheated oven of 325F/160C for 8 to 10 minutes until a slight colour shows on the pastry.

Allow it to cool.
Using the rest of the  1/3 pastry, cover the sides of the pan. Using your thumb go around the edge to make it equal in height.

Filling


In the food processor blend until smooth

500 gm/ 1.1lb Paneer ~ home made ricotta
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cream
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp plain all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon and/or lime juice
3 tbsp orange juice
Optionally Zest of an orange


Once it is smooth pour into the prepared shell.

Place in a hot oven of 400F/200C and immediately reduce the heat to 275F/140C. Allow it to set for 40 minutes.Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake cool for an hour until it sets.Chill and serve.

The cake must jiggle in the center.  It will then set as it cools and that softness  is what the creaminess depends upon that tastes delicious.


Tips

Clementines work best for this cake. The skin is softer and less bitter. The juice of it is tangy and flavourful.

When ready to serve, evenly slice 2 clementines and grill them on a hot skillet for 2 minutes. Turning once. Top the cooled cake with the slices. The juices of the fruit will enhance the flavours of this cake.The texture of this cheese cake is dependent on two things. The smoothness of the filling. So make sure its silky and not at all grainy. This in turn is dependent on the cottage cheese you are using. For best results use freshly made paneer while its warm or bring it to room temperature before use.
Secondly the baking. Over baking makes the texture grainy. Allowing it to set on a lower temperature slowly ensures that the mixture does not curdle, or get too hot at any point. The "Jiggle in the Middle" is crucial when you finish. 

The cheese cake is delicious on its own but a  mixed berry compote makes it look prettier and tastes even better. Lemon curd topping for the lemon lover, and dark cherries topped all over can be absolutely amazing. Passion fruit curd is my very favourite. It is a strong taste and start with mixing lemon and passion fruit to avoid the pungent flavour which may be not to everyone's delight.


Do not freeze this cake as the texture is ruined.

This crust can be made in minutes when you use the food processor and the texture remains the same. Use the pulse button for best results.

Place the spring-form pan on a tray to avoid having to clean up  any "drip" from the pan.


The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is now available on amazon.com

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Lemon Loaf Cake

The lemon cake without the syrup



Moist Lemon Cake

Prepare a loaf pan with parchment. Butter and flour it.
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C

Ingredients at room temperature

1 cup yogurt
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs 
zest from two lemons
1 tsp vanilla essence



1½ cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4th tsp salt
1/2 cup cooking oil like safflo


For the syrup

3 oz sugar
3 oz fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp limoncello

Optionally
Icing sugar
lemon juice

The Lemon cake with the syrup



In a bowl mix together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla.


In another bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Using an electric hand beater mix the dry and wet ingredients. With the beater on a low speed add the dry ingredients into the wet ones. Add it a spoonful at a time. Once smooth add the oil in a gentle pour. With a spatula mix it all in properly.

Pour the batter into the prepared  pan and bake for 40 minutes. Place a tester in the center to make sure it is clean.
Cool for a few minutes and remove on a serving platter, brush and pour the syrup till all of it is absorbed.

For the syrup
On a low flame cook the sugar, lemon juice to dissolve completely
Once dissolved add the limoncello.
Allow it to boil for a minute before brushing it over the warm cake.

Optionally you can also dress it up by making icing with the juice of half a lemon mixed in with 3 tbsp icing sugar to drip over. Decorate with slices of lemon.

Tips

Do not over beat the cake. But it must be smooth and not lumpy.
While Limoncello is an option, fresh lemon is a must.

Do not use olive oil instead a light oil that has no taste or flavour is best.

Yogurt has to be full fat and not skim.

Flour must be sieved.

Oven must be pre heated.

Loaf pans are generally of one size generally 9" x 5" /23 cm x 13 cm being the largest and 8"x by 4"  21 cm x 11 cm being the smaller one. Either will work well. 


Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

The new cookbook The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is now available on amazon.com






Sunday, 27 January 2019

Plum Tart

Plum Tart
with an Almond Cream

It is wonderful to put a dessert together at the drop of a hat.
With an almond cream that can be made well ahead of time, this dessert takes 5 minutes to assemble and can be ready to eat in 35!!







Makes one 9 inch /23 cm tart

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lower to 400 degrees once you place the tart to bake.

3  firm plums
1 rolled out sheet of pastry
Slice the plums, toss with 1 tablespoon of sugar, keep aside.
In a pie pan place a rolled out sheet of puff pastry.
Sprinkle it with a teaspoon of brown sugar crystals.
Press down one part of the almond cream. It should be chilled but not frozen. Press it down with a back of the spoon, spreading it all over. 
Place the plums all over the top of the tart. Sprinkle with another teaspoon of brown sugar crystals.
Bake for 22 minutes, turn the oven off and allow it to rest in the warm oven for 10 minutes. Remove and serve immediately. 

Tip

While it is delicious on its own, you can serve it with whipped cream, creme anglaise, vanilla bean ice cream or a custard if you prefer.

Like all puff pastry it tastes best when fresh and cannot be reheated.

Almond Cream  (makes enough for 3 tarts)

8 oz butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 cups almond meal 2 cups ground pistachios use unsalted ground ones
2 tbsp cornflour
9 egg yolks, beaten with a fork
1 tbsp Rum
1 tbsp Vanilla


Cream the butter well.
Add the sugar and beat until light.
Add the almond meal  and cornflour and mix it well.
Lower the speed, and add the beaten egg yolks with the rum and vanilla.

Divide into 3 equal parts and freeze unused.
                                                
Add sliced fresh figs if you prefer.





Photo Courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

The new cookbook The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is now available on amazon.com



Sunday, 13 January 2019

Mango Lassi

  • Mango Lassi
  • Lassi is a typical street food of the Subcontinent which would include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. While it generally refers to anything whipped up in yogurt and ice (thinned down with water or milk), it can be flavoured with any variation from salt and pepper, to  sugar, rose, mango, saffron, cardamom and other choices. It keeps one refreshed while the weather is humid and hot. It is also a simple way of keeping hydrated, nourished and healthy for the masses.

  • Mango Lassi made from fresh ripe sweet mangoes



    •  
    • Serves 4

    • 1/2 cup thick yogurt
    • Pinch of salt
    • Pinch of sugar
    • 2 cupfuls peeled cut mangoes
    • 1 cupful of ice

  • Blend all the ingredients with an immersion blender /food processor/ liquidiser. Add cold water or milk to think it down if preferred.
  • Served Chilled. 
  • Tips
  • A squeeze of  fresh lime or lemon juice helps bring out the flavour of the mangoes.
  • While it is unlikely, if the mangoes are not sweet add sugar, honey or agave to sweeten to your taste.
  • and
  • The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine. 
  • Photo courtesy Natasha Stoppel 

Friday, 11 January 2019

Sri Lankan Seafood Curry


Sri Lankan Seafood Curry

This curry reminded me of my favourite Dahi ni Kudhi (only with coconut milk instead.) The very subtle flavours magically come to life when the balance is impeccable. It has the wonderful Sri Lankan flavours enhanced with the Pandan leaf. Its a quick and simple curry perfect for any family meal.


Prawn  Curry with coconut sambol, rice, poppadum and mango chutney 



1 tbsp oil
4 small finely chopped shallots or 3/4 cup crushed fried onions
1 tsp mustard seed
24 curry leaves 
6 large cloves thinly sliced garlic
4 finely chopped green chillies
1 tsp turmeric
2 cans coconut milk
2 cups coconut water
12 whole dry kokums
2 whole green cardamom
4 inch sq pandan leaf
1 tsp crushed flakes of dry chillies
juice of 1 lime
salt
sugar

1 kg shelled prawns, medium size is best

optionally 1/2 tsp mustard powder 

In a wok or deep skillet heat the oil, add the shallots and lightly saute until translucent, soft and have a slight tinge of caramelisation. Add the mustard sees, curry leaves, garlic and green chillies and continue stirring for a minute or two and add the turmeric. Mixing constantly on a medium high flame, until the turmeric is well blended and there is a slight bubbling in the pan, to ensure the turmeric is cooked through. It will take up to 5 minutes at most.
Add the coconut milk one can at a time, mixing it all and continuing to add the coconut water. Bring it all to a rapid boil and add the rest of the ingredients. Reduce the heat to a gentle boil, leave the pan open and allow it to cook for 30 minutes until the liquid has halved, the curry is thicker, enough to coat the back of a spoon. 
Add the prawns at this time. Leaving the heat high and cooking the prawns for 5 minutes until just done. 
Cover the pan, turn of the heat. Wait for 3 minutes and serve with your favourite kind of rice.Choosing from any of these like plain boiled rice, ginger rice, lemon rice or coconut rice.

Tips

Substitute the shallots for 3/4 of a cup of crushed fried onion from your pantry.

Light coconut milk can be used and coconut water halved, this will cut the cooking time by 10 minutes.

Kokum is a dried fruit from the mangosteen family. It is dark red in colour and will be tart to the taste. It will be moist and tasty enough to eat once its cooked in the curry and re-hydrated.

This curry has a pleasant pale yellow colour. This may change and enhance if you decide to add the mustard powder to make the curry more pungent. 

Chillie powder is not a substitute for the chillie flakes. Its better to add whole dry red chillies or fresh red chillies rather then the powder.

For more curry recipes

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders
and
The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine. 

Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala