Thursday, 22 November 2018

Parsi Gos ni Curry - Lamb curry

Lamb Curry - Parsi Gos ni Curry

There are as many curries as there are stars in this universe, but this one is also a traditional way our grandmothers and great grandmothers prepared it at least as long ago as since the 1850's. Traditionally we add two tomatoes cut in halves added in the last 10 minutes of cooking just to infuse and soften served on top of the curry, just something that reflects our Persian roots. 
It is one of those foods that we now find fiddly, its time consuming rather then difficult to prepare. There were no blenders at the time just the old fashioned masala no pathar (art of grinding spices,) lots of strong arms. One took pride in how fine the spices were ground, how tough and capable the person grinding it was! It was definitely a work out. 
In-spite of all the wonderful blenders we now have at our finger tips, this curry is meant to be granular and thick. While we serve it with rice, it can be eaten with warm crisp bread. Growing up we generally did just that if there were left overs. 
While toasting and refreshing each of the nut and spice before grinding, it can be tedious, the aromas are incredible. 
The end result has varying degrees to it, dependent on the number of short cuts one makes to get to the finished product. 

Lamb potato curry served with plain boiled rice and kuchumbar

Serves 6 persons

Step 1 

Dry roast 

1 fresh onion, peeled and cut in quarters
1 whole fresh coconut, grated
2 inch piece of ginger ( thumb size )
1 whole pod of garlic, peeled
12 whole dry red chillies
2 tsp whole cumin
2 tbsp corriander seeds
1 tbsp poppy seeds 
1 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp peanuts
3 tbsp gram
3 tbsp almonds

Step 2 

1 tbsp Oil
1 kg lamb in pieces bone in
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 green chillies
3 tomatoes = 1 cup puree of tomato
2 raw mangoes peeled and cut into pieces

4 peeled potatoes in pieces
1 cupful fried onions, (2 onions)
3 stalks curry leaves

 2 tbsp lemon juice or to taste 

Dry roast the first 12 ingredients and grind them. In a large pot heat the oil and fry the masala/spices. 
Add the lamb, salt, chillies, tomato puree and mangoes. Mix well. 
Add 3 cups of water bring it to a boil and cook for 45 minutes.
Add the potaotes, fried onions and curry leaves. Cook for another 45 minutes
Add the lemon juice, check for salt and serve with boiled rice. 


Add two whole slit tomatoes or cut in halves. Place the cut side down over the curry after mixing in the lemon juice. They are meant to be steamed just soft enough to easily cut into.
Taste for spice. If you need to turn up the heat add red chillie powder starting with 1/2 a tsp. 1 tsp tamarind paste can be used instead of mango or lemon juice. 
Crush the green chillies if you want it spicier and add 2 extra for a kick. 
Use 1 tbsp each of peanut butter, almond butter and gram flour to alternate getting fresh nuts. However you cannot roast any of these.
Use limbu if available. If not, lemons and limes are acceptable.

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

Photo Courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Dhal Curry-sri lankan cuisine.

Dhal Curry

Travelling the world is a passion I hope I never tire from. While many travel to see the place, my primary goal is to taste the place. On my recent trip to Sri Lanka I had the pleasure of tasting so many curries. What pleased me most was the fact that there was an endless choice, all labelled as curry. This particular curry was simple and unusual. I have decided to recreate it to the best of my ability through the palates eye and mind.

Dhal Curry, served with coconut sambol and pappodum

Serves 6-8  persons

2 cups mixed dar/ lentils
1/ 2 tsp turmeric
1 1/4 tsp salt
4 ups water
3 oz/ 50 gm butter

12 pieces kokum

For the Tarka
coconut cream like butter
2 shallots in rings  (onion)
3 fresh chillies, green and red
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
3 small stalks curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
a pinch of palm sugar
2 tsp whole green fennel
1 tsp red chillie powder
2 inches pandan leaf
1/2 cup coconut water

Add a tsp of grated fresh ginger 

In a pan cook the washed dar with the turmeric, salt, water and butter.
This should take an hour. Do not over cook or turn into a mush.
Add the kokum for the last 15 minutes. This allows the dry kokum to rejuvenate and burst with its flavours.
In a fry pan heat the coconut oil and add the onions, lightly saute and add in order so it cooks well and does not burn. Loosen it with the coconut water and pour over the cooked dar stirring it in.
The finished dish should be moist but not watery.
Serve either warm naan, sri lankan roti, paratha and pappadum.


Kokum is a dry fruit and is tart, for best results it needs to be soaked in hot water for 15 minutes before adding. To avoid this step I like to add it to the boiling pot of lentils toward the end. 
The best substitutes to kokum are a tsp of tamarind  pulp or freshly squeezed juice of a lemon. The tamarind will make the colour darker and brown, while the  lemon juice will keep the bright golden yellow.
Palm sugar is often substituted with jaggery, coconut sugar, brown sugar or demerara.
The pandan leaf is hard to touch and you need just a few pieces to add. It has an aroma of raw rice and is easily found in South Asian stores.
If shallots are unavailable use small yellow or white onions. Shallots are generally sweeter while larger onions can be sharper.
This dhal curry is served with a sambol  made up of coconut or caramelised onion and a sweet and hot mango chutney.

Click For recipes from the Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine  

Photo Courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Eeda Pak

E is for Eeda Pak
Parsis have a deep love for their eedu (egg) and they have even managed to create a “Pak’’ of the same. With the recent turn around announcement of the revered egg being healthy once again, isn’t it perhaps the perfect time to revive the once loved Eeda Pak?
What was prepared as part of the Winter interlude, is now rarely ever spoken or heard off. Here is my grandmother’s recipe that my family looked forward to each year with much gusto. I recall eating Eeda Pak as a child and even helping to prepare it from time to time. I also know how very fond of it my mum is, but we have not kept up this tradition over the past years and perhaps it has been far too long.
I recall it being sweet but gingery, grainy yet moist, darkish but almost like a good caramel, and it has a distinct richness that is hard to describe.  I can also clearly remember the two 5x8x3 inch ‘’Pink” glass dishes, with a clear top that it was always kept in. (yes, you guessed, no other dish would do!). The excitement of filling it to the brim, while waiting eagerly for something to be left over to scrape and eat instantly from the large kulai no patio (the pot) it was prepared in. A smaller “pink” dish always kept aside to send off to a favourite cousin or aunt who may have requested her share.
The masses of egg whites left over was always sent off immediately to our dear family friend, a caterer who would then put these to good use. Food was never to be wasted. By far the most valuable lesson we have been taught.
Next came the sheer delight of breakfast time, when we would slather lots of cold Eeda Pak on hot toast and in the hope of enjoying it with a cup of tea, which I always had to bargain for as it was not for the very young, specially if it had almost no milk in it, a strong cuppa that I would longingly wish for.
I think, this request by Perzen to share the recipe from my family archives has made me want to revive this tradition in earnest. I may have to make several small “pink” bowls from this lot of Eeda Pak, but it may all be well worth it after all.

A wonderful rich and creamy Pak made with egg yolks.  #ParsiFood

Eeda Pak

Will make approximately 7lb/3 ½ kg.

1 lb/454 gm clarified butter or ghee
25 large egg yolks
25 tbsp sugar
2 cups of water
¼ lb/ 125 gm peeled almonds
¼ lb/125 gm peeled pistachios
½ lb/250 gm mixed seeds; pumpkin, melon, magaj, sunflower
6 tbsp singora powder/ dry water chestnut powder
8 tbsp ginger powder
2 tbsp  piprimur powder
1 tbsp cardamom and nutmeg powder
1 tbsp white pepper powder
1 tbsp vanilla essence
1 tsp saffron threads, crushed
In a pan heat the sugar and water. Ensuring all the sugar has melted, bring to a boil to make an aik taar no sero/ light syrup. Let it cool.
Dry roast the nuts and seeds. Grind them.
Now in a fry pan add a few tablespoons of the clarified butter and add all the ground nuts, seeds and singora powder, stir constantly and cook for a few minutes.
Beat the egg yolks in a bowl and mix it in the cooled syrup until properly incorporated. Add the fried nuts and seeds, including the butter used to cook it in, and add the rest of the butter. Cook on a low fire, stirring often to ensure it is all cooks until it comes together. It will turn to a caramel colour and takes 30 to 45 minutes. The Eeda pak will come together as a large ball. Add the ginger, piprimur, cardamom, nutmeg, white pepper, saffron powders and the vanilla. Mix it well and remove from the fire. Cool and store in glass bowls which can be covered and refrigerate.
Will make approximately 7lb/3 ½ kg.


Use fresh eggs, ensure there is no shell left in the yolks.
Aik tar no sero, is a typical way of preparing a sugar syrup for most Parsi Sweets. To check it is done, simply stir the syrup and hold over the pot to drip. When it ends there will be one last drop coming down in a fine thread. It is very important to check that every single crystal of sugar is melted on a low flame before it comes to a boil. Otherwise it will crystalise once it cools down, making the entire eeda pak crystalised. 

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

Monday, 24 September 2018

Fresh Mango Macaroon Torte

Memories are made of anything you desire and this cake holds so many of my happiest of memories close to my heart. It seems an eternity to have put this up on my blog, and now it is that perfect opportunity. This is what I chose for my first tv appearance: for good luck, to be close and share an integral part of my aunt Villie, to thank her for all that she has showered me with, guided and shared over the past decades. This is her cake, her life, her creation that she has been generously and affectionately given to me. So continuing her legacy with eternal love and gratitude.  
I hope that many of you will love it, appreciate it, enjoy it and create your own special memories to share with your loved ones.

My gorgeous Aunt Villies delectable Macroon Torte with fresh Mangoes and whipped cream recreated for my TV appearance on Out and In with The Cook's Cook.

While the cream is simply spooned on to the cake, the diced mangoes are piled carefully
 in to the center wel

A touch of fresh mint adds colour to finish it off.

Makes a 9 inch/ 23 cm round cake.


3/4 cup raw almonds
3/4 cup or 10 cream cracker biscuits 
1 1/4 cup fine sugar
6 egg whites at room temperature
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup fine sugar

In a food processor using the pulse button roughly crush the almonds. Add the cream cracker biscuits and repeat using the pulse button until both are crushed. Do not turn it into a powder but leave it slightly grainy to help give the cake a crunch.

With an electric beater whip the egg whites and the baking powder until soft peaks start to form, add the vanilla. In a gentle stream add the sugar. 
Fold in the crumbled biscuit and almond mixture using a metal spoon or a silicone spatula.

Over turn into a prepared, 9 inch/ 23 cm spring form pan. 
Bake in a preheated oven of 350 F or 175 C for 25 minutes.


2 cups cream
2 oz/57 gm fine sugar
2 large firm ripe mangoes

Whip the cream to stiff peaks, add the sugar.
Peel and dice the mangoes,

Spoon the cream over the cake, leaving a small well in the center to help hold the mangoes and its juices within the cake.
Top with mangoes.
Optionally decorate it with fresh mint.


You may need an additional 5 minutes to the baking, depending on your oven. It should look slightly pink tinge when done and dry to the touch.
Do not turn it into a powder but leave it slightly grainy to help give the cake a crunch.

If the mangoes are not sweet naturally, add the juice of half a lime and a tablespoon of sugar. A dash of salt also helps to enhance the flavours and bring the fruit to life.

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

Photo Courtesy Natasha Stoppel

Readers Comments

25th October 2018
Goher M

Tried your Fresh Fruit Torte, which was an instant hit and enjoyed by all. 

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Shahi Pallau

Shahi Pallau

Rice and meat, served up Royally. Shahi stands for anything royal and this pallau is topped with fruit and nuts to make it just that. For those who just turned up their nose, it is optional to add these. It is just as delectable without.

It is a wonderful party dish and can be quite the pièce de ré·sis·tance to any lavish buffet.
The meat in its thick gravy can be prepared days ahead while the rice can be freshly prepared to assemble it on the day off.

Shahi Pallau  

Serves 8

 1 kg boneless lamb, goat, mutton or beef pieces in small equal pieces
1/2 kg fried onions
1 tsp freshly crushed garlic
1 tsp freshly crushed ginger
1 tsp salt
2 tsp red chillie powder
1 cup of fresh crushed tomatoes
2 cups of water
1 tsp garam masala 

2 cups rice
4 cups lamb/beef broth
1 1/2 tsp salt or to taste

1 cup natural plain yogurt mixed with a pinch each of sugar and salt; at room temperature

To finish off before serving pick all or any of the following

A handful of freshly chopped corriander leaves

1 tbsp oil or butter to pan fry the 
1/2 cup of raisins
1/2 cup of almonds

1 potato in small cubes, roasted or pan fried to a golden brown lightly salted
3 eggs boiled and in wedges lightly salted

In a pan brown the meat for a few minutes. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, salt, red chilli powder and mix it well.
Add the crushed tomatoes and bring it to a boil. Add 2 cups of water, bring it again to a boil, lower the heat. Cover the pan and cook for an hour. Or until the meat is cooked and soft. Lastly sprinkle it with garam masala, mix well. Simmer for 10 minutes before preparing to assemble.

In the meantime prepare the rice. Wash and cook the rice in broth. 

To assemble place the rice, top with the yogurt, top with the meat and thick gravy.
Sprinkle with corriander, almonds, kishmish, eggs and potatoes. 
Serve immediately.


Use the bones from the meat to make your own broth.
The yogurt can be layered or mixed into the rice while warm.
If your family like bone-in meat go ahead and put some in.
The potatoes and eggs are optional. 

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.