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. 


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 

Cream the butter, add the sugar, beat , cornflour almond meal rum vanilla and egg yolks.
8 oz butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 cups almond meal 2 cups ground pistachios use non slated ground ones
2 tbsp cornflour
6 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 until use.

Photo Courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

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.
  • For more Parsi Food recipes click on 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

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.


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

Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Sri Lankan Prawn Curry with Arrack

Sri Lankan Prawn Curry with Arrack 

There are as many curries as clouds in the sky or stars in the universe! The base of most is some form of coconut. Fresh or dry, milk or cream, sometimes even just coconut water. The coconut flour to thicken and leave an aroma, the coconut oil to enhance the pungent notes of coconut. And then there is the Arrack liquor. A spirit distilled from the sap of the coconut flower. This is local to Sri Lanka but Arracks are also available from other countires  that are made up of fennel (and very liquorice, anise like in flavour, some almost bitter to the taste). 

While this curry tastes fine without any liquor, adding a teaspoon of the flowery kind of coconut Arrack gives it a unique touch, if you get the gentlest note of burning in the throat while eating this with freshly grated ginger rice, you are spot on! It was definitely one of the meals I most enjoyed on my Sri Lankan holiday.

Serves 6

1 tsp oil

4 sliced or diced shallots (long baby onions)
1/2 a fresh ground coconut
2 green chillies
Few sprigs of curry leaves
1 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp green fennel powder
1 tsp sea salt
60 gm/2 oz cream coconut from a hard pack
1 cup water + more if needed
4 small pieces of green pandan leaf
1 tsp Arrack liquor
! tsp red chilli flakes
6 pieces of kokum 

400 gm/1 lb de-veined prawns, washed 

2 tbsp Cashew butter or 1/4 cup cashews ground
Pinch of ground fenugreek
1 cup of coconut water
Pinch of white pepper powder

In a pan heat a teaspoon of oil, add the shallots and saute` them till translucent, soft and pale. On medium heat add the coconut and stir for a minute or two. Add the curry leaves, garlic, cumin, fennel and garam masala powders, giving it a quick stir after each addition. Add the cream of coconut. Add the water, bring it to a boil, cook for 10 minutes on a simmer. Add the rest of the ingredients, adjust for thickness by adding plain or coconut water, bring it to a boil again and cover, cook for 20 minutes on a simmer. Add the prawns cook for 7 minutes and serve with ginger rice. Ginger Rice.


Many of these ingredients can be over powering. Best to start with smaller amounts of white pepper and fenugreek as well as the Arrack.

Gin which is made up of Juniper Berries is the best substitute for the Arrack Liquor. Limoncello the Italian lemon liquor made with vodka is also worth a try.

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 is rough. Its thick and heavily textured and not at all smooth. 

Substituting red chilli powder for the chilli flakes will change the colour of the curry.

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

Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

Ginger Rice

Ginger Rice

On my travels through Sri Lanka the food was an integral part of the trip. My friends and I were fortunate enough to try diverse varieties of curry and rice. The most unusual rice I had was fresh ginger rice. It  intrigued me  enough to recreate it which I share on my blog. It complemented a subtle white curry laced with their local Arrack liquor made up of coconut flower sap. 

Here I have recreated the ginger rice. It is meant to be pungent hence served with a light subtle curry. 

Serves 6

2 cups rice
2 tsp oil
1 flat tsp turmeric
2 tsp fresh ginger grated or pulped
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups coconut water

2 cups water
Handful of thinly sliced fried onions

Wash the rice until it runs clear. Heat the oil,  stir in the rice, turmeric, ginger and salt for a minute and then add the coconut water and plain water bringing it to a boil. Allow it to cook on a high flame until the water is evaporated and the rice is visible. Cover tightly, lower the heat to low and allow it to steam for 22 minutes. 
Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.
Garnish with fried onions or coconut.


Fresh ginger pulp gives this dish a wonderful aroma and flavour. However a teaspoon of ginger powder substituted can be used. 
Ginger powder looses its potency when stored for a long period of time. Smell it before adding. If it is not pungent to the nose add more then a teaspoon. Heating the ginger powder in warm oil before adding the rest will help the stale ginger powder come to life. 

Adding a stick of cinnamon, black peppers, cloves, green cardamoms is just an option to consider.

Adjust the ginger according to your palate. 

For more recipes from the Parsi food flavours click The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Pearl Onion-Chestnut-Orange-Brussel Sprout Melange.

Caramalised Onions and Chestnuts with Glazed Oranges & Brussel Sprouts

So many flavours, textures and colours that match perfectly. 
Made up for Christmas Day it is a wonderful choice for any meat at the festive table.
A versatile recipe, use your favourite liquor, it won't matter.

Festive and colourful, this flavourful recipe is a perfect combinations for any buffet table.

Serves 25 

100 gm diced bacon style meat (about 3 strips)
1/2 kg chestnuts, ready to eat
1/2 kg pearl onions, halved
1 tsp garlic puree
3 tbsp salted butter
2 tbsp chestnut flour
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup rum
3 tbsp maple syrup

25 brussel sprouts cut in half
100 gms diced chorizo or spicy sausage
2 oranges
1/4 cup sweet rum
1 tbsp brown sugar
dash of salt

In a skillet pan fry the bacon meat. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside. Continue frying with the pearl onion, cut side down, allowing them to caramelise. Do this in batches, to cook through. You may need to add a touch of oil as you continue. Remove and keep aside until all are done. Now add all the chestnuts into the skillet. Give it a light toss and remove.
In the same skillet melt the butter with the chestnut flour. Mix well to avoid lumps, add the chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Add the rum and the maple syrup. Boil until desired consistency. Add the bacon, onion and chestnuts into it. Taste and add salt pepper if needed.

For the orange and brussel sprouts.

Thinly slice one orange, add salt, sugar and sweet rum and marinate for as long as you can, preferably overnight.
Juice the second orange.

In a skillet pan fry the chorizo or sausage meat.
Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside.
In the same pan continue caramelising the brussel sprouts. Cooking it in batches is best. Keep the cut side down.
When all of them are done return them to the pan, Toss them well and add the chorizo, and orange juice plus the marinated orange juice from the sliced oranges. Salt and pepper. 

When ready to serve, warm the onion and chestnuts and pour it into the dish.
Warm the brussel sprouts and gently place all around on the bed of marinated oranges.
Serve warm.


Use the ready vacum packed chestnuts. It saves time and clean up.

While the sauce should coat the back of the spoon it cannot be too thick or hard to mix.
Add more chicken stock to thin down if needed.

You can use any bacon or sausage of your choice. Use bacon with the least fat. Omitting the meats may reduce the intensity of the flavour but it can still be delicious.

Do not over cook the brussel sprouts. They will wilt and become discoloured.

Using the red/purple coloured baby pearl onions is preferred.

For more cookbooks and ebooks click on The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

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. 


Traditionally tomatoes cut in half are added on a Parsi Gos ni Curry. These are placed on top of the curry at the very end. Just to steam and be soft enough to cut into.

Tamarind paste can be used instead of mangoes and lemon. 
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.