Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Coconut Rice



Coconut Rice

Flaky coconut rice that makes for the perfect combination with so many delicious recipes. Rogan josh, caldin, curries that can be Indian or Thai, light or creamy it all pairs well. Chicken, fish, prawns and meat taste perfect with this fragrant rice. A vegetarian option is also just as delectable. Easy to prepare, keep it sticky or flaky the choice is yours. 




Flaky coconut rice prepared in coconut water and flash frozen fresh coconut

Serves 8 persons

Ingredients

3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp grated coconut fresh or from a frozen packet
2 inch cinnamon stick
½ tsp turmeric
2 cups washed rice
1 ½ tsp salt
1 cup water
2 cups coconut milk

In a pan heat the oil and add the grated coconut, cinnamon and turmeric. Saute for a minute and add the rice, salt and all the liquids.
Boil until the top of the rice shows. Cover tightly, lower the heat and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes until the rice is tender and flaky. 


Tips
If you like the rice 'light' and not 'creamy' add 4 cups of coconut water instead of the milk and water. The milk makes it stickier but the flavours are bolder. 

A touch of coconut vinegar will add a touch of spunk to the coconut rice. A tablespoon would be enough in the quantity and should be added just before you cover the pot and reduce the heat so the acidity of the vinegar does not hamper the cooking of the rice.

Coconut oil is also a substitute to start off the rice with. It will add to the 'pungency' of the coconut flavour. My suggestion is a combination of coconut oil and coconut water to keep that fine balance.

Adding spices like 3 Kaffir Lime leaves,  6 curry leaves/patta, 3 cardomom pods, zest, of 1 lime, 8 cloves OR 1 tsp of mustard seeds are all some suggestions that compliment this dish. Pick your favourites and match it to the curry or stew you plan on serving with this rice.

Some suggestions to serve up with this rice are

Read more about Parsi Food and its origins and history in the cookbook

Saffron Rice

Saffron Rice

Fragrant and delicious, Saffron rice is a easy to pair with subtle and fresh curries and stews. Perfect with almond based curries, coconut curries and vegetable stews. Add as a layer to your ribbon rice if desired. Saffron rice makes a wonderful aromatic Kheema/Mince Palau. Serve it with a dahi ni Kudhee and a prawn Tarapori Patio. The choice is yours.



Saffron rice with a sliver of lemon and cardamom pods



Serves 6 to 8 persons

3 tbsp oil and butter
2 sticks of cinnamon bark
6 green cardamom pods
1/2 tsp sugar
2 cups rice
1 1/2 tsp salt
freshly grated zest of  a lemon 
3 1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp crushed saffron threads mixed in 1/2 cup warm water

In a pan melt the butter with the oil until just heated, add the cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods and the sugar to saute for a minute, until fragrant. 
Wash and add the rice, salt and lemon zest and finally the water. Allow it to come to a boil and then add the warm water infused with saffron. Give it a minute to come to a boil again and cook until you can see the top of the rice. Cover with a lid to seal, lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes until cooked through and its tender and flaky.

Tips
Not all rice is washed, nor in need of soaking.
I use Basmati rice, which I wash and rinse at least 10 times, or until the water runs clear;
and do not soak it.
Feel free to use whatever rice you are used to.

Spices in this ingredient list are fragrant and yet very subtle. Add or substitute your favourite ones. Perhaps adding a Kaffir Lime Leaf or two for when serving this with a Thai curry, while adding a curry leaf or two when serving it with an Indian curry.
Lemon grass, fresh mint, fresh dill are all some suggestions.



For more on Parsi Food, its history and origins read the cookbook 
The Art of Parsi Cooking;reviving an ancient cuisine



Prawn and Avocado Salad

Prawn and Avocado Salad

Salads can be served as meals too. They just need to be well balanced with more food groups and topped up on protein. Make it your own if you wish,


Some of the alternates are diced cucumbers, pomello or grapefruit, dates and figs. It is simply an artists canvas, ready to be painted with your palate of foods.









Serves 8 persons

ingredients


1 kg/2.2 lb of prawns
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp salted butter
salt
paprika
1 lime 
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup miracle whip or mayonnaise
zest of the 1 lime
handful of fresh chopped corriander leaves
juice of half a lemon 

2 cups choice of lettuce and greens

3 ripe avocadoes
1/2 cup pickled artichoke pieces
1 large roasted red peppers chopped

In a fry pan add a little olive oil and butter  to pan-fry the prawns in 3 batches, sprinkling it each time, lightly with salt, paprika and then finally lime juice. Remove it into a bowl. Once all the prawns are cooked, drizzle it with balsamic vinegar. Toss well.
Keep aside.

In a bowl mix the dressing
4-6 ozs Ketchup
4-6 ozs Miracle whip or mayonnise
Fresh lime zest from 1 lime
A generous handful of chopped fresh coriander
Lemon juice to taste

Mix the prawns into the dressing.

Now cut 3 ripe avocados into chunks, lightly salt and drizzle each one with the juice from the other half of the lemon.
Mix this very gently into the dressing mixture.

On a platter arrange the lettuce leaves
Cover with the prawn and avocado mixture, dress it with the artichokes and red peppers.
Sprinkle it lightly with paprika to finish.

Serve immediately.

Tryanother amazing salads and other foods from my Moroccan e-book 

Niloufer's Kitchen : Moroccan Cuisine



Lamb Rus Chawal

Lamb Rus Chawal


A family favourite of over a century, rus chawal is commonly referred to as a comfort food. Varying from serving it light and almost soup like (and is hence called soup chawal at times), to making it richer and thicker with a flavourful gravy called Rus, this recipe is sure to please. 
The meat makes up for 90% of the taste and substituting the bone-in lamb, goat or mutton for anything else is less than ideal. 
The slow cooking creates the rich gravy and turns the water into a thick broth. Best to give yourself a 2 hour window while cooking; Simmering it for as long as you can.



Bone-in lamb and potatoes, cooked to a rich thick gravy, served with caramelsed brown rice and kuchumbar

Serves 6 persons


Ingredients

3/4 kg pieces of meat bone in; lamb or goat
1 tbsp oil
1 1/2 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 heaped tsp cumin powder
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp red chillie powder
1 cup of crushed fried onions
2 whole green chillies slit
6-9 pieces cloves
1 long cinnamon stick
6-9 black peppercorns
1 cardamom pod a little bruised
2 crushed fresh tomatoes
4 cups water
6-8 pcs of potatoes


In a pan heat a tsp of oil and add the meat. Brown all over and add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, and salt. Give it a stir and add the fried onion, green chillies, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns and cardamom. Stir and allow to cook for a minute as this brings all the aromas back to life. Now add the tomatoes and water. Bring it to a boil, lower the heat, cover and cook for 45 minutes. Add the potatoes and check for level of water. If you need to add another cup, do it at this stage and add hot water so as to allow the cooking to continue. Cook for another 30 to 45 minutes. Check that the meat is cooked and very tender. 
Serve with Caramelised Brown Rice, kuchumbar ~ a salsa like salad, lemon wedges, pickled beetroot and a gajar mewa nu achar.



Tips

1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 large tbsp of finely chopped fresh corriander
1 tsp of fresh mint
3 sprigs curry leaves

And add any or all of the above ingredients for a twist.They are wonderful! 

Not everyone enjoys pieces of vegetable 'floating' in their Rus Chawal. If your family prefers a smooth gravy the ingredients in my Tips section is  not recommended.

Once it is all cooked, add a little tamarind paste or fresh lemon or lime juice. It needs the slight tangy flavour to enhance it.
Best served with a kuchumbar ( salsa like salad of finely chopped onions, tomatoes, cucumbers sprinkled with salt and a dash of vinegar ) and some pickled beetroot.


Omitting the red chillie powder and tomatoes, halving the onions, will turn it into a light ''soup chawal''.

Meat in this recipe relates to pieces of leg of lamb or leg of goat and not beef, nor chicken nor boneless meat. It is the bones that give the actual flavour. If one must substitute bone-in veal may be the best.

For more recipes and an introduction to the Parsi Food repertoire read



Friday, 17 February 2017

Tarapori Patio ~ Spicy Pickle

Tarapori Patio

Every recipe has a tale that unravels to make a good story, some more interesting than others.

This delightful Patio originates from a village near Mumbai in Gujarat, India called Tarapore. There used to be a Parsi Community in Tarapore but with so much migration at last count there are only a couple of them still living in this village.
My own family lived in nearby Surat in the late 1800's but by the 1950's most of them moved to Mumbai, Kolkata and Pune. My grandaunts and aunts all loved to cook and create traditional food which most of us growing up took for granted. How fortunate for me that they have saved so many wonderful recipes to share and relish. I guess growing up I never realised how priceless each one would be for so  many reasons and on many levels.
This particular recipe was often prepared with Dhun-Dar; (plain lentils and boiled rice often served on any happy occasion in most Parsi families). It is spicy for a reason; to be eaten as a pickle rather than indulged in as a main course.The gravy delicious enough to be mopped up with fresh crusty bread after! A treat for the whole family.  

I share my family recipe of 120 years with you in the hope that it lives on for another another century or two when it will be revived once more. 
It is simple to prepare, timeless and scrumptious. 



The Tarapori Patio with prawns and extra oil to preserve it.





Serves 4 to 6 persons

12 dry Red Chillies (approximately 3 tsp when powdered )
1 whole pod of garlic 
1 tsp finely ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 cup vinegar
optional 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger
6 tbsp oil
1 tsp jaggery
1lb /500 gm shelled and de-veined prawns

Grind together the red chillies to a fine powder., Now add the garlic, cumin, salt, turmeric and ginger topping it with vinegar to grind it to a paste. 
In a pan add the oil and the masala. Allow it to cook on a medium high flame until the aromas are fragrant and it comes to bubble and boil. Add the jaggery and allow it all to melt, stirring it well.
Add the prawns, mix well, cook until they are cooked through. 

Tips
While you can use any variety of dry red chillies, I prefer to use the dark red flat Kashmiri Chillies if available.
Sweet oil like grapeseed is generally better to use in any kind of preserve or patio
Allowing the masala to be added while the oil is tepid warm and not hot will allow it to cook slowly and not burn or dry up easily. Let the flame be medium and not too high.

Dry roasting the chillies and the cumin helps the aromas and the oils to be released before grinding.

If you wish to eat it all immediately and not pickle any of it reduce the oil to half to begin with. Add more if needed.

It is my personal preference not to add ginger to most prawn dishes. Feel free to try it out with it too.


For more to read on the history and origins of Parsi Food click
The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Spicy Eggplant Rings

Spicy Eggplant Rings

A simple preparation worthy of a dinner party presentation? 

The eggplant also called by the French name aubergine, or the Anglo-Indian word brinjal. A vegetable commonly found all over the world. It is worth noting that many ancient cuisines include this creamy vegetable in their tradtional foods. The Persian, Syrian, Arabic, Greek, Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese food all have a love for it. The Thai, Indian and Parsi Food are no exception either.
There are many types of eggplant, the most common being the bell shaped variety which can be large, medium and small. The long narrow Japanese variety is also common place in North America. While the shaded, beautifully plump round Sicilian aubergine with deep wedges is a variety that is often seedless and mostly sweet. And then there are the small oval egg shaped baby aubergine which are grown in a gorgeous creamy white colour and the traditional shades of purple.Have it roasted, fried or sauteed they are all delicious.





Sliced eggplant/aubergine spiced to perfection, topped with yogurt











2 large eggplants sliced in rings
1 tsp salt

2 tsp red chillie powder
1 tsp cumin powder
pinch of sugar
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup oil

Dressing
2 cup yogurt at room temperature
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
1 cup finely chopped fresh corriander

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C
Slice the eggplants/aubergines about 3/4th of an inch/ 2 cm thick. (See picture above) and lightly salt each one.
In a bowl Mix the spices red chillie powder, cumin, sugar and turmeric in oil.
On two large baking trays, lined with parchment paper lay out all the rings of the aubergine/eggplant 
generously brush each one with the mixture of oil and spices.
Place the trays in the preheated oven and allow it to cook for about 30 minutes.

While waiting prepare the yogurt mixture. 
Once the eggplant/auerbgine is cooked, place it on your serving dish, spoon the yogurt all over them and garnish with freshly chopped corriander.

Serve immediately.

Tips

Eggplants with lots of seed sacks can be slightly bitter. You should soak the rings in salty water and wash it off to remove the bitterness to some extent.
The salted water also helps from preventing the vegetable from discolouration.

The spices should be cooked through and not taste raw.

Do not try to toss the eggplant in the spice mixture, it will not be possible to get it consistent as eggplants tend to soak in oil extremely quickly and will leave the rest dry.

The yogurt should be fresh and not tangy or sour. 

Using fresh mint leaves on top instead of corriander leaves is an option.

For more recipes and the history of origins of Parsi Food here is the link to my cookbook
The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Photo credit Samira Victor-Henry

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Chola ~Chickpeas. Potatoes, Onions and more

Chola


Chola is an Indian street food popular over centuries. Not to be confused with the Monarchs in India centuries ago who were also called Cholas; this food is prepared in many variations. 
A purely vegeterian dish, the base  is always of chickpeas (commonly referred to as chola or channa); they are mixed with finely chopped tomatoes, onions, green chillies and corriander leaves. It is not complete without adding condiments to make it tangy with a hint of sweet and a tad spicy. This is in the form of a tamarind and date chutney, perhaps a squeeze of lemon and a spice mix called Chaat Masala.
I love to add fresh mango and boiled potato cubes to add to the texture and flavour.

Here is my recipe I share, its best to taste as you go along to help you keep it best suited to your palate.



Preparing the chola,salt seller, date and tamarind chutney, chaat masala, red chillie powder, fresh lemon, the puris and yogurt



Serves 12 persons

To Toss Together

4 cup cooked chickpeas
2 small onions, finely chopped about 1 cup
a large handful of fresh corriander, finely chopped
6 to 12 sprigs  finely chopped fresh mint ~fudno~phudina
1 large tomato, finely cubed
2 small green raw mangoes, peeled and finely chopped
2 potatoes finely cubed 2 cups
4 finely chopped fresh green chillies
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red chillie powder

To Dress

1/4 cup chutney  made from tamarind and date
1 tsp red chillie powder
1 tsp chaat masala
Freshly squeezed lemon juice; 1/2 lemon to start with
4 tbsp yogurt
pinch of sugar
24 small crisp puris broken into pieces

In a large bowl toss together the chickpeas, onions, corriander,  mint, tomato, mangoes, potatoes and green chillies. Sprinkle the salt and red chillie powder all over.

When ready to serve, dress it with the chutney, the chaat masala, yogurt and sugar.
Mix well.
Lastly add the crisp puri in broken pieces. Alternately serve the chola on top of the puris individually.

Tips
Boil and peel the potato before cutting it. 
Buy ready cooked chickpeas in cans, but rinse them thoroughly before using them.
If you cannot find mangoes locally add a  tsp or two of dry mango powder called Amchur instead.
Mint always adds to the freshness but is not an integral part of the dish.
Before serving taste that the balance of spice, sweet and sour is perfectly balanced to your palate. 

For recipes, history and origins on Parsi Food my cookbook The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine is available.


Spiced Egg Sandwich

Spiced Egg Sandwich

Here is a distinctly different Egg Sandwich that is prepared often at home and always seems to be rather favoured. It is simple to make and further additions and substitutions will make it perfect for your own friends and family.

Sandwiches are such a favourite. It all started with John Montagu the 4th Earl of Sandwich ordering a piece of meat between two slices of bread; the result of this order was the dish being nicknamed  and the dish being referred to as Sandwich. This was in the 18th Century  and has continued since. 

Bread is the key to a good sandwich. Pick a fresh loaf or your favourite crusty bun.  It can all be delicious.



Fresh Cheese and Jalapeno bread filled with an egg salad.
The Egg filling, jalapeno and cheese bread, salt,pepper, peppadew peppers, eggs, mayo, relish, mustard, paprika and butter




Makes 10-12 sandwiches

1 loaf of fresh jalapeno and cheese bread; 24 slices
12 eggs, soft boiled to perfection
3 tbsp salted butter
3 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp pickled gherkin relish
3 tsp  dijon mustard
12 finely chopped small pickled red chillies like peppadew
12 large pinches of salt
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
A sprinkle of paprika

In a bowl while still warm, shell all the eggs and add the butter. Fork them down to smash them. Now add all the above ingredients  mayonnaise,relish, mustard, red chillies, salt, pepper and paprika to make a thick paste. Mix well.  Once it has completely cooled apply a generous amount of the mixture on to 12 slices of bread. Top each one with another slice of bread. Press down gently and cut into half.  Serve immediately.

Tips

You may substitute a few drops of tabasco for paprika and mustard powder for ready mustard if you prefer.
If you wish to store them for a while, wet some kitchen paper towel, squeeze all the water out and cover the sandwiches completely. This keeps them from drying out.
Do not refrigerate if eating within a few hours.
If you need to refrigerate, remove and bring to room temperature before serving.

The final paste is rather soft. 

A soft boiled egg considered 'perfect' for this recipe is made with room temperature eggs. Cover them with cold water until all the eggs are submerged. Put it on a medium high flame. Allow the water to come to a boil. From the very first bubble keep it cooking for exactly 3 minutes. Take the pot to the sink, remove the water and immediately run them under cold water. The perfect egg is not dry from the middle. It is not runny but you can see the soft moisture within the egg yolk.

If it overcooks by mistake you may need to increase the amount of butter to soften it. If it is too soft you may need to decrease the amount of butter to keep it balanced. 

Read about the history and origin of Parsi Food in my cookbook The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Chicken na Rus Chawal

Chicken na Rus Chawal

Chicken, potatoes and caramelised brown rice.


Chicken Rus Chawal is a great comfort food. It is simple and quick to prepare and can easily be tweaked and twisted around to suit everyone's palate.
The little bit of tang of the tamarind or lemon juice added to it will complete this dish.



                 Chicken Rus, caramelised brown rice, kuchumbar; simply delectable.



Serves 4-6 persons


Ingredients

1 kg /2.2lb or 8 pieces skinless and bone in
1 tbsp oil
1 1/2 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 heaped tsp cumin powder
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp red chillie powder
1 cup of crushed fried onions
2 whole green chillies slit
6-9 pieces cloves
1 long cinnamon stick
6-9 black peppercorns
1 cardamom pod a little bruised
1 tsp tamarind paste
3 cups water
6-8 pcs of potatoes

optional
2 small fresh crushed tomatoes


In a pan heat a tsp of oil and add the chicken pieces. Brown all over and add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, and salt. Give it a stir and add the fried onion, green chillies, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns and cardamom. Stir and allow to cook for a minute as this brings all the aromas back to life. Now add the potatoes and water. Bring it to a boil, lower the heat, cover and cook for  30 - 45 minutes until the chicken and potatoes are cooked through. 
Serve with Caramelised Brown Rice, kuchumbar ~ a salsa like salad, lemon wedges, pickled beetroot and a gajar mewa nu achar.



Tips

I prefer not to add tomato in my chicken rus chawal. However try it out with to see the difference and choice of preference. 
Add the tomatoes  while adding the water and potatoes.

The chicken must be washed and patted dry before starting to avoid splattering which may prevent you burning and cleaning up.

If tamarind paste is unavailable substitute the juice from fresh lime or lemon. It definitely needs the slight tangy flavour to enhance it.

1 tsp of fresh mint
3 sprigs curry leaves
handful of freshly chopped corriander leaves

And add any or all of the above ingredients for a twist.They are wonderful! 
However not everyone enjoys pieces of vegetable floating in their Rus Chawal. If your family prefers a smooth gravy the last option is not recommended.


For more recipes and an introduction to the Parsi Food repertoire, its history and origin read my cookbook  The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Readers Comments
Pat Diane I have tried ras chawal before but not with the curry leaves...must say...the curry leaves give a beautiful twist to the dish...loved it!!!!

Photo courtesy Kainaaz Patell.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Channa ni Daar ~ Gram Lentils




Channa ni Daar ~ Gram Lentils

Lentils, Dar in Gujrati or Dal in Hindi and Urdu; it is also referred to as Kaathor in India. 
The Channa dar/dal  is also commonly called the Bengal gram. 

This particular lentil has a sweet and nutty flavour. Split off a whole gram, these can be harder than most and takes slightly longer to cook. It is highly nutritious and is often a protein substitute for vegetarians.
This particular recipe is vegetarian but there is another with meat on my blog if you prefer. Channa ni Daar ma Gos/Bengal Gram Lentil with meat.







Chaana ni Daar served with lemon and green spring onions


Serves 6 to 8 persons

3 cups gram lentil
1 tbsp oil
1 1/2 tsp red chillie powder
1’ piece of ginger
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
½ tsp turmeric
2 green chillies finely cut
6 leaves of fresh mint finely cut
1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
2 cups crushed onions, already browned

1 tsp tamarind paste


Heat oil, add all the spices and the washed lentils, fry 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, onions and mint.  Add 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cover. Cook for 1 hour 30 minutes. The lentils should be soft but still remain whole. Add 1 tsp of tamarind paste. Simmer for another 30 minutes. 

Tips

Use a fresh green mango or two, washed peeled and chopped instead of the tamarind paste. If you do not have access to either you can add the juice of 2 fresh lemons. 
Adding a handful of freshly chopped corriander leaves can also add to the flavour.
Serve with a wedge of lemon or lime, some finely sliced onion and tomato and perhaps a cucumber and beetroot to compliment this dish. 
Generally crisp bread is served on the side, but fresh warm chapatis are a good option.

The New Cookbook  The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine is now available


For more Parsi recipes click 
Niloufer's Kitchen: Quick and Easy
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HBSBLI4