Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Mushroom and Potato Saalan

Mushroom and Potato Saalan with Green Pepper

Growing up it was rare to find mushrooms in our local market. Not many people enjoyed this strange vegetable which was relatively unknown in our country. With it being introduced to our speciality stores, and learning about its nutritional values, it started being added to our meals slowly. This is a mix of local flavours. A dish where East meets West. The result is quite delicious. Omitting the hot green chillies or reducing the quantity will leave it refreshing but not at all spicy. 

Cubed Mushrooms, potatoes and green pepper in a fragrant yogurt gravy. 

Serves 4 to 6

1 tbsp oil
500 gm mushrooms; cubed
250 gm potatoes, cubed
1 large green pepper, cubed
Optionally add  4 small hot green chillies; slit or chopped

1/4 cup coconut water
1 tsp salt
1 generous tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
10 curry patta leaves

1 cup yogurt
dash of salt
1 tbsp honey

Pick your favourite flavour to finish off the dish
1 tsp mustard seeds and a handful of fresh corriander
1 tbsp Pesto

In a pan heat the oil.  Add the potatoes and allow them to brown and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and green pepper. Also add the slit green chillies if you are including them. 
Sprinkle it with the salt, cumin, turmeric and curry patta. Give it a good toss and sprinkle the coconut water all over.

Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes until everything is cooked. Give it a good shake and remove it from the stove.

Toss in the honey and yogurt, with either the basil pesto or fresh finely chopped corriander a spoonful at a time. 
Return to the fire only to gently reheat. Serve with bread or naan to mop up the delicious gravy.


While this is an easy to put together dish and the idea is to use your pantry or fridge to make it up.
If you do not have coconut water, use broth or simply water. Use less liquid if you prefer a thicker gravy.
The green pepper of my choice is always the thick long one but you can use a capsicum, red, yellow or orange bell pepper.
I used cremini brown mushrooms as I enjoy the meaty flavours of this bold mushroom. Use your favourite.
If you don't have fresh curry leaves, use kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass or even mint. You find these available dry on supermarket shelves.
If the yogurt is  terribly sour add an extra dash of honey or brown sugar. 
Labneh or Keffir, greek yogurt, creme fraiche or sour cream may be substituted for the yogurt.

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

Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Creamcheese Vaniila Cake

Vanilla and Creamcheese Cake

Similar to a  ''pound cake'' in texture and density, this cake is very simple to make. However it does take time and cannot be done in a rush.

I prefer to use the bundt pan, but it has been made in a large deep round pan that can fit 12 cups of liquid. Start to bake it in a cold oven rather then a preheated one which is traditional for most baking; this cake needs several changes in the temperature as it moves along. It takes approximately 90 minutes to cook. 
While it is large enough to feed about 20 persons or even more, the left overs can be used in a trifle, Tiramisu, Tres leche pudding or added to bread and butter pudding.

Try serving this with a hard cheddar, ice cream and fresh fruit. It is most addictive when served warm and fresh.

Freshly baked in a bundt pan

Serves 20 or more persons

250 gm/ 8 oz unsalted butter
250 gm/ 8 oz creamcheese
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
4 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups sifted flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Beat for 5 minutes
The butter and creamcheese
Add and beat another 7 minutes
3 cups  of sugar
Add the eggs one at a time and allow to beat for a minute between adding each egg.
Tip in the Vanilla.

Lower the speed to slowest/stir
fold in the flour, baking powder and salt until just incorporated.

Spoon into a buttered, floured prepared 12 cup bundt pan.
Place in a cold oven starting at 95C/200F for 20 minutes. Increase to 120C/ 250F and bake another 20 minutes. Then turn it up to 135C/275F for just 10 minutes. Finally increase it to 160C/325F and continue baking for 40 minutes. 
Test with a skewer to ensure the cake is baked through. Do not overbake.


The butter, cream cheese and eggs should be at room temperature.
Use an electric beater to make it light and fluffy.
Once the flour is added do not over beat.

Use a cream cheese you enjoy eating at home and not one meant for baking or cooking.

Delicious recipes from The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine is available now.

Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Cheese Filling ~ Gouge`re

Cheese Filling for Gouge`re

Gouge`res are delightful savoury "eclairs" that can be devoured either on their own when freshly baked or eaten with a filling of whatever one most enjoys. Fresh cream as in Malai, delicious churned butter; with or without home made jam, it is all delicious. 

Here is just one of many options I share with you that I made up with my favourite jalapeno and cheese bread, kernels of corn and assorted cheese. I topped it with Tomato jam and voila. 

Cheese Gouge`res filled with a jalapeno corn and cheese filling served with tomato ginger jam

Filling for 36 prebaked Gouge`res

In a food processor whizz together
6 slices lightly toasted slices of bread; jalapeno and cheese
150 gm/ 6 oz dark cheddar cheese
150 gm / 6 oz jalapeno or harbenero cheese
Scraped kernels of 1 roasted corn on the cob

Remove on a board. Divide into 36 balls and stuff into each gougere.
Reheat for 5 minutes in a hot oven of 350F/165C and serve warm.
Best served topped with a jalapeno or harbenero jam or a tomato ginger chutney.


If the bread is plain add one jalapeno pepper roughly cut.
Any cheese with harbener or jalapeno will work well for this recipe
The consistency of this filling should be soft enough to form round balls easily. 
If you do not have fresh corn, use 150gm/6 oz frozen kernels that have been blanched and drained.
Salt if needed.

For Parsi Food recipes click for my cookbook The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

Almond and Murumba Cake

Almond and Murumba Cake
Almond and white pumpkin Cake

Preparing recipes in a test kitchen has lead me to create this recipe. A success story of a friend who has recently started her own business making marmelattas ( Italian for jam ) and caponatas called Le Bon Magot. It has won some awards, got great reviews and could be the little jar missing from your pantry.

This cake wonderfully moist with armatic yet delicate flavours of rose and cardamom. I love to add a locally produced Gin Rose that is rather unique but perfect for this cake.

Murumba Nu Cake ~ White Pumpkin Murumba Cake.

Prepare an 8x8 / 20cm square pan; grease and flour.
Preheat the oven to 350F/175C


6oz / 180 gm salted butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 cups sifted plain flour
¾ cup almonds, powdered or ground
2 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp Rose Gin, Gin or Rose Water
1 cup Le Bon Magot White Pumpkin and Almond Murumba jar

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time until the mixture is whipped and light.
Reduce the speed to slow or stir; add the dry and the wet ingredients alternating.
Starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Test with a skewer for doneness. It can take up to 10 minutes more. Serve with a cup of good strong tea or coffee.


Mise en place is a great way to bake, (keep each ingredient in place before starting).
Mix all the dry ingredients into a bowl.
Keep the eggs and butter at room temperature before you start.

Do not over bake as the cake will dry out. An 8 or 9 inch/ 20 or 22 cm round pan will also work well.

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

Photo Courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Cauliflower Cheesecups

Cauliflower Cheesecups

Healthy enough to eat and pretty enough to serve. Just a whizz in the food processor of raw cauliflower, some spicy cheese ( or not if you preferred ) and an egg to bind it together.  
Fill it with more cheese and a sharp chutney or jam and you have an elegant side. Perfectly paired with a good piece of meat; steak, roast, chicken or even duck. It is a winner all around.

Pretty cheesy cauli ~ flowers

1  medium to small head of cauliflower
1 cup grated harbenero or jalapeno cheese + 1/2 cup for filling
2 eggs

In a food processor using the pulse button cut the cauliflower and cheese to resemble small pebbles, With the food processor running add the two eggs just until mixed.

Grease well with butter two muffin pans.
Spoon the 24 spoonfuls into each pan as equally as possible.
With the back of a teaspoon press down the mixture to resemble a cup.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for 25 minutes until the corners are golden brown. Let it cool for a few minutes and loosen with the help of a butter knife or plastic spatula/knife
Plate and spoon in grated cheese and top with jalapeno, harbenero or tomato ginger jam.
Serve immediately.


The mixture must be textured but easily spoonable. Do not keep using the processor to ''smooth'' it out.
The teaspoon works rather well and its quick to push back into a flower like cup. Do not keep the bottom extra thick and it can stay wet and uncooked while the sides will cook quickly if much thinner. Yet the do have to keep the bottom thick enough to lift out. 

Make it with pizza fillings; adding saute`d wild mushrooms, caramelised onions and some more cheese would be delicious. 

For my cookbook The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine click here.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Bhaji Jhinga ~ Spinach & Prawns

Bhaji Jinga

Growing up we had vegetables prepared in many ways. Spinach which was not a favourite of most kids and am pretty certain that it is the same today, was definitely the most difficult to serve up for a meal. Here is one recipe our family use to prepare with familiar Parsi Food flavours and served it with Khichri rice and yogurt Kudhi and poppodums. Salad with this was generally made up of fresh radish and carrot. However I feel most confident that many of you will enjoy this recipe because of the story I am about to share with you. 

Many years ago I was invited by a small hotelier in Dorset in the UK to run a weekend cooking course and speak about Parsi Cooking. It was advertised through BBC GoodFood, and we had a wonderful group of very interesting well travelled attendees. While having to prepare and serve up at least 7 meals over the duration, one had to include the variety. My mother somehow convinced me to make this dish as a side and with much trepidation I went ahead and cooked it. On the last morning at the breakfast table, the discussion was about all the food we had enjoyed and I was surprised to hear when this dish was mentioned in the best positive manner. They had all found this dish quite unusual, most intriguing and very delicious. Naturally I was delighted but have never quite gotten over the fact that I still find it hard to believe!!

Spinach and Prawns

 Serves 6 to 8

Fry until golden brown
2 large onions finely cut 

add to this and sauté for a minute
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground garlic
3 –5 green chillies finely chopped
1 large onion finely cut
1 tsp cumin finely ground
1-2 tsp red chillie powder

add to this
3 medium tomatoes skinned and diced
2 large bunches fresh cleaned spincah greens
OR you may use two 10 oz pkts of frozen spinach
1 bunch of methi fenugreek (optional)
1 tbsp sugar

cover and cook on a low fire until almost done about 30 minutes. All the water should be evaporated.

Add to this 1 lb/1/2 kg of cleaned fresh prawns.
Cover and cook 7 minutes and serve hot with khichri and dahi ni kudhi.


A peeled thinly sliced green/raw mango tastes delicious if available. Add with all other ingredients allowing it to cook and soften to release its flavour.
Use any kind of spinach locally grown.
Adding a handful of corriander leaves to this is an option.
I have also added a small handful of fresh mint at times. 

While  traditionally it is served with khichri rice and yogurt kudhee it can be enjoyed with fresh rotli/chapati/flat bread. You can change it up a bit with saffron rice or coconut rice if you preferred. 

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

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Cheese and Corn Chowder

Cheese and Corn Chowder

Chowders are generally thick soup that have been prepared with a roux and thinned down with stock, broth, milk or cream.  Corn often being a common ingredient. Often seafood, preferably the shelled variety is added to a chowder. Served with salted crackers or bread rolls and butter it is a meal in itself.

Having had a delicious cheese soup with corn the other day, I decided to come home and make my own. Here I share my version of a chowder; it is a cheese base that has been lightened with chicken broth and thinned down with whole milk. 
It is smooth and silky and the roasted corn kernels give it that extra pop of sweetness balancing out the hint of heat from the red pepper and mustard added to the soup.

Its perfect to use up left over cheese and corn if you wish.

Serves 6 to 8 persons

1 tbsp mustard powder
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Either or12 pickled peppewdew peppers/ 1 tsp paprika/  2 fresh red chillie finely chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
454 gm/ 1 lb cheese

kernels of 3 roasted corn cobs or 1 can/tin corn kernels

In a large stock pot melt 2 tbsps salted butter, add the 2 tbsp flour 1 tsp salt and  mustard to make a roux. Add 4 cups of chicken stock and mix well until it is all smooth. Add one cup of diced onions, preferably sauteed lightly, 2 cloves of garlic. Add your choice of heat; pickled peppedew peppers, fresh red chillies or a tsp of paprika.
Allow it to simmer for atleast an hour. With an immersion blender smooth the liquid. 
Optional If you wish to strain it through a seive for a silky finish do it now.

Once it is all seived and  ready to continue, on a low flame start adding your cheese. Allow it to melt slowly and then add the milk and cream, Gently stir until it comes to a tepid warmth.
Add corn kernels of 3 fresh cobs that have been roasted. Alternately dry roast a can/tin of corn that has been drained well. 
Allow to simmer for 15 minutes just before serving.

Add more milk or cream to thin the chowder to desired consistency.
Taste for salt.
Serve warm with a corn muffin or corn bread with butter.

A roasted corn on the cob


The smoothness and the colour of the chowder will depend on the cheese you add to this dish. Try to use a variety non-grainy cheese like velveeta with a dash of strong cheese like gruyere or comte` to keep it creamy and cheesy. Dark cheddar and jalapeno cheese adds to the colour and flavour of this chowder. 

Using half and half instead of a combination of milk and cream is also an option.

Using only whole milk is another option

Add more milk or cream to thin the chowder to desired consistency.

For recipes from the Parsi Food repertoire click The Art of Parsi Cooking;reviving an ancient cuisine.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Topli na Paneer

Topli na Paneer
Silky cottage cheese

There is no literal transaltion for this phrase but best described as cottage cheese that is made in a basket called a topli. It is small enough for individual bites, soft enough to fall apart and has the impressions of little rings left behind from the wicker basket ~ topli.
Parsis love it enough to serve it in their wedding and navjote feast. This is a Mumbai speciality and not many of us who grew up in Karachi or away from India had even tried it. With social media becoming the tool to make us all of one world it has suddenly become the topic of the day.

After reading it up, asking a few of my elders and experimenting I have managed to get it right; (I think)!! I do not have access to the toplis, and so no impressions on mine, but it is delicious and most authentic as my taste testers from Mumbai and others have vouched.

Keep it simple, be precise and you cannot go wrong.

Topli nu paneer as an appetiser; served up with fig, fig jam jam, peppadews, honey comb and caramalised nuts and crackers.

1 litre whole milk organic
10 drops of veg rennet or alternate 
1/4 tsp salt

Bring the milk to a tepid warm. 
If you can keep your finger in the milk counting up to 10, its perfect.
Anything warmer and it will turn into grainy cottage cheese.
Add the rennet and salt. Give it 10 slow turns with a metal spoon.
Cover with a cloth.
Leave from minimum 3 hours to over night.
Place a thin cheese cloth or thin muslin over a seive.
Remove the chunks of the paneer on to the cloth and twist the top. Allow the liquid to drain for an hour or two. It will be ready to eat, soft and tender. 


While a stainless steel pot works best; do not use a non-stick pot.

Milk being the key ingredient will dictate how quickly and well it forms. I have used an Organic Water Buffolo grassfed milk from a glass bottle that shows it is 8% milk; available from natural food supermarkets.
The longer you keep it the harder it will become. 
If you need to leave it for a day or two, keep it in the cloth, in a tightly covered dish in the refrigerator.
Best enjoyed fresh.
Its called topli na paneer because of the little woven baskets in. I have not been able to find them so far and so have to use a seive. This works just as well but does not "look'' like the original form.

For more recipes from my Parsi Food cookbook click the link The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Readers comment
27th August 2017
Roxanne HaddrellLearn to Make Cheese
The paneer is wonderfully silky - a real delight! The salt in the recipe is spot on. One thing I'll do different next time is to chop my nuts - the whole almonds are a bit big. And yes, there WILL be a next time.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Olive Oil Chocolate and Sea Salt Cake

Olive Oil Chocolate Sea Salt Cake

With a request to experiment with olive oil cakes this is what was the end result. Best served fresh and at room temperature with a coffee or steaming tea it would be a treat for any day of the week. 
I would serve it with a wonderful coffee icecream or liquor. Even simple vanilla bean ice cream or decadent salted caramel would compliment this moist and dense cake. 


8oz/454gm dark chocolate
8 oz/ 454 gm ground almonds, preferably skinless
2/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp vanilla
5 egg yolks

5 egg whites

Rock salt ; freshly grated

Pulse together in a food processor the chocolate, almonds, sugar, flour and baking powder until it resembles a grainy sand with little chocolate pebbles.

In a large bowl mix the olive oil, vanilla and egg yolks with a woodens spoon until blended.
Add the chocolate, almond and flour mixture to this and continue to mix it with a spoon and a spatula. It will resemble wet sand.

In a third bowl beat the egg whites until light and stiff. Gently fold it into the above wet mixture until it is incorporated.

Pour into a prepared 10 inch springform pan lined with parchment and butter.
Bake in a preheated oven of 350F/ 175 C.
Bake for 22 to 25 minutes until the test skewer comes out with cake crumbs on it.
Sprinkle with freshly grated sea salt to complete the cake.


If you like a bold flavour of olive oil, omit the vanilla or add only 1 tsp instead. Do not over bake as it will dry the cake.
Baking in a smaller pan makes it deeper and will not bake evenly. 
Do not over beat the egg whites for it will be dry and harder to incorporate.
Keep the eggs at room temperature for best results
The chocolate grinds best when chilled. 

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

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Green Curry

Chicken Green Curry

Here is a green coconut milk curry that is simple to prepare. It is versatile and can be served with your choice of meat or chicken. Served with plain bolied basmati.
Keep the flavours of the curry stong and the thickness to coat the back of the spoon.

Green Chicken Curry served with plain boiled basmati rice and a salad

Grind together to a paste

1 tbsp oil
2 tsp garlic;  6-8 cloves
1 tsp ginger; 1inch piece
4 to 6 green chillies
3 tbsp gram flour
1/4 cup ground nuts (almonds, cashews or peanuts)
1/2 cup coconut cream
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin powder
1 cup  fresh coriander; leaves with thin part of the stalks
1 large onion; peeled and cut into pieces

Step 2

11/2 kg/3 lb   8 pcs of chicken, skinless with bone

4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 pc cinnamon stick
6 black pepper corns
6 cloves

Step 3

3 cups coconut water

1/4 cup lemon juice
3 kaffir lime leaves

Cook the chicken to leave a broth of  2 cups; strain and keep aside

11/2 kg/3 lb   8 pcs of chicken, skinless with bone
4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 pc cinnamon stick
6 black pepper corns
6 cloves

In a pan heat the oil and stir fry the ground paste.

Add the strained chicken stock and the coconut water. Stir until smooth and all the lumps have gone.
Bring to a boil and let it cook until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.
Add the chicken, bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Add the lemon and kaffir lime leaves. Cover and leave on a simmer for a few minutes allowing to incorporate all the flavour. Serve with boiled rice and an onion salad.


For a nut free option substitiute sun flower seeds.

Curry Patta/leaves are a good substitute for Kaffir Lime leaves.

This recipe needs to be cooked and thickened to perfect consistency before adding the chicken. Leave the pot uncovered and allow it to rapidly boil once the curry is smooth.
It is best to add the chicken and cool overnight for the flavours to be perfect for next day.

For delicious Parsi Recipes click The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala