Monday, 20 February 2017

khajoor Ni Ghori ~ Dates in PastryCrust

Khajoor Ni Ghori
Date in PastryCrust

A teatime snack that is healthy and tasty, simply put together with dates. It is in a crust made up of rice flour and flavoured with rosewater. No sugar is added but its quite delectable with a hot steaming cup of tea made up perfectly and referred to as Parsi Choi !



Ingredients

1/2 cup semolina
1/4 cup rosewater
8 tbsp ghee
2 cups rice flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup tepid warm water 
500 gm/ 1.1 lb date paste
1/4 cup ground/powdered almond

Maan / Crust
Soak the semolina and rosewater for 4 to 24 hours, cover and keep aside

In an electric mixer with a dough hook mix the semolina and rosewater until smooth, add 1 tbsp at a time alternating with the mix dry ingredients of rice flour, salt and baking powder until it forms into a ball, adding the tepid warm water slowly in a stream while the mixer is on a slow speed.
Allow to become into a dough ball. 
Leave to rest covered for 30 minutes to an hour.
Remove the dough on a flat surface that has been dusted with rice flour. knead it into a long roll. Divide it into 8 pieces; roll each one into a ball.
Divide the date paste into 8 pieces as well. Roll each one into a ball and then roll each ball into the powdered almond.
Take one ball of dough into the palm of your hands flatten into a disc with a large thumb press in the center to place the ball of date into the dent. Cover the date ball, pulling the dough up from each side to cover completely. Now gently flatten the ball to turn into a disc. 
Repeat with the rest.
Line them on to a cookie sheet. Preheat the oven to 400 F/220 C and  bake for 10 minutes. Brush each one with ghee turning them over. Bake for another 10 minutes. Now reduce the heat to 300 F/150 C and cook for another 10 minutes.
Serve warm with a cup of steaming tea.

Tips
Wet the palms of your hands with rosewater before starting to assemble each of the crust and date ball.
The last 10 minutes of the cooking can be done on a stove top on a cast iron skillet if you desire. It gives it the authentic finish. Keep the skillet hot but lower the flame while cooking it, also keep moving it around so it does not burn.

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

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

Khariya ~ Trotters


Lamb Trotters
Goat Trotters

Khariya is a dish best eaten in winter months. It is generally made from lamb or goat. lamb being more fatty and meaty while goat trotters are skinnier and leaner. Many in the Western world prepare it with pig trotters as it used to be more accessible 50 years ago.

Being a long process and ending in large quantities, it is common to have this as a one dish party among many in my community. Each family has its own recipe and here I share mine. 



These lamb trotters are made with black eyed peas, served with an onion salad and fresh crusty bread.


Ingredients

12 lamb trotters
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
water to cover the trotters

1 kg/2.2 lb finely chopped fried onion
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp cumin powder
1 1/2 tsp red chillie powder
1 tsp turmeric powder

12-16 finely chopped green chillies
1 large bunch of finely chopped corriander about 1 cup
3 tbsp flour
1 kg/2.2 lb finely chopped fresh skinned tomatoes


In a deep pot bring to a boil the lamb trotters, salt and sugar. Cover the pot, lower the heat and allow to cook for 10 hours or until cooked.

In another large pot heat the oil  and add to it the ginger, garlic, cumin, red chillie powder, turmeric, dhana jeera powder, green chillies the corriander. Give it a good stir and add the flour. Allow to cook for 2 minutes and add the tomatoes. And finally the fried onions. Let it cook on a low fire until you can see little beads of oil all around the sides of the pan. (ghee~tayl per avay)

From the liquid of the trotters slowly add cup by cup stirring and blending it all in. Then add the trotters and bring to a boil. Keep boiling it until the right consistency is achieved. It should be a heavy gravy. If there is less liquid keep the flame low and keep simmering it covered for 30 minutes.

The trotters and spices must be cooked together for at least 30 minutes for the flavours to come through.

Options
In the spices add  1/2 tsp of dhana jeeru powder, which is a dark brown blend of spices also used in most lentils.
1 cup of black eyed peas, that have been boiled and cooked before adding them to the spices while you cook it. Since beans are also thickening agents you may omit the flour.
Best served with warm hard crusty bread and finely sliced onions mixed in a tamarind and jaggery mixture ~ gor amli ni kuchumbar and fresh lemon. 



Tips 
Cooking the trotters in a pressure cooker to save time is an option.
If you choose to use pig trotters, it is the same process and cooking time.
Follow the rest of the steps after as per the recipe above.

For more recipes from the Parsi Food repertoire read my new cookbook
The Art of Parsi Cooking;reviving an ancient cuisine.



Readers Comments

Parizad Sethna Followed your recipe & it turned out delicious. Thanks👍

Friday, 20 January 2017

Dak~Chicken Bulgogi

Dak Bulgogi
Chicken Bulgogi

"Fire meat" is what Bulgogi literally translated means, a word from the dialect of Korean called Pony'ng. When one speaks of Bulgogi, it does imply to be prepared with beef, unless specified to be any other kind.
Small pieces of  beef, chicken or dwaeji~pork, are often used to perpare bulgogi which is served up with sticky rice or rice noodles and enjoyed with chop sticks. Often a cucumber salad is offered with it. 
Originally created for royalty this is referred to as a rich mans food. With the culinary world closer and familiar than ever before, bulgogi is now available all over the world in varied versions. Here is one you can prepare in your own kitchen. 

Dak Bulgogi on sticky rice garnished with sesame seeds and green onions


Marinade:
Grate finely
1 large peeled pear 
4 cloves of fresh garlic
3 tbsp fresh, peeled ginger root
1/2 cup soya sauce
4 tsp crush chilli flakes
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp corn syrup, maple syrup or honey
4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
6 tbsp sesame oil 

Marinate in the above marinade for a minimium of 2 hours or up to overnight
2.2 lb 1 kg chicken thighs in small pieces

You will also need

oil to pan fry
For the garnish
4 green onions, sliced 
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

In a hot skillet add a tbsp of oil, heat for a minute and add the pieces of chicken to sizzle and cook. Turn it once or twice. Keep adding the marinade as needed. Lower the heat and allow it to cook through. There should be little sticky gravy left at the end of the cooking.
Pour all of it over the bowl of rice or rice noodles.
Garnish it with green onions and the toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Tips
Serve this with a bowl of plain or sticky boiled, jasmine or basmati or sushi white rice. 
A bowl of rice noodles is another alternate.
Also serve thinly sliced cucumber, salt, tossed in rice wine vinegar with red radish or seaweed nori pieces.
If using beef, slice the flank steak against the grain in bite size pieces. If using short ribs keep them small enough to pick with chop sticks. You can consider using duck as well. Generally duck breast is a better choice to cook with.

There is no salt in this recipe because of the soya, (especially if one is not using the light variety) and sesame oil but you may adjust it according to your palate. Generally chicken needs some, while beef can do without.

The corn syrup, maple syrup or honey makes the gravy sticky. If you wish to reduce the sweetness cut  down the sugar not the syrup.


For more recipes from Niloufer's Kitchen click to purchase my new cookbook on Parsi Cuisine.



Photo courtesy Shamineh M.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Savoury and Sweet Pudding


Sweet and Savoury Pudding

It does sound a tad confusing, but this pudding is really a wonderful combination of textures and flavours. Not too sweet, it has the consistency of a bread pudding with the bites of the savoury turkey, smoked duck breast that is thinly sliced or any other favourite meat bacon to enhance the experience. Thinly sliced cooked sausages may work just as well. 
It is a pudding, do not allow it to overcook or bake on a high heat. You simply need to gently set it. 




Gently baked Savoury and Sweet Pudding

Prepare the bowl with the brioche rolls

Squeeze all the meat filled brioche buns as tightly as possible.























A deep baking dish that will fit all the rolls.


Ingredients

8-10 brioche rolls
350 gm/12oz smoked meat rashers like turkey bacon
3 eggs
2 cups half and half
2 cups whole fat milk
1/2 cup maple syrup or golden syrup
1/4 tsp salt flakes
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly scraped nutmeg
1 tsp demerara sugar

Snip the turkey bacon into large pieces. Pan fry them until cooked through. 

Take each of the brioche rolls, slit open and put the meat into it. Stuff each on into the dish.
In a bowl mix the creamy milks, syrup. eggs, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into the baking dish over the prepared brioche.
Press it down with a fork to submerge the bread into the liquid. 
Allow it to stand for 2 hours.
Sprinkle with the demerara sugar.
Bake in a preheated oven at 300 F/140 C for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow to set for another 30 minutes. 

Serve warm.


Tips

It is best not to reheat this pudding.


Allow it to stand at room temperature and not in the fridge as it will cook evenly and set gently.

Do not try to speed the process by raising the oven temperature. It must not boil.
You can use 1 cup of  full cream/whipping cream and 3 cups of whole milk if half and half is not available.

The demerara sugar will give a golden brown crunch on the top.


Smoked duck breast, salami, proscuitto, smoked montreal beef, smoked hunters beef and any other flavourful meat, which is preferably smoked and sliced will work for this pudding.


An addition of  a handful of nuts for the crunch may work well too.




For more recipes click Niloufer's Kitchen : Winter

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