They are an old favourite from the yesteryears, when lots of treats were made from real coconut milk, laced with nuts and little sugar to enjoy with a cup of tea.
As in most traditional foods, every family had their secret recipe to making their very own version of the same dish. This one is shared from my mother in laws family who were all excellent chefs making traditional Parsi food. Naturally I have adapted it so everyone can have access to the ingredients. Using a can of coconut milk instead of Narial nu paani; creamy water from a fresh coconut; And also going on to making the milk from the same. I just cannot envision anyone taking the time nor the trouble to go through that process any longer!
This batter will make 25-30 small chaapats.
2 cups coconut milk; from a can
200ml/7ozs sifted all purpose flour
1/2 tbsp melted ghee
30gms/1oz almonds, blanched and grated
15 gms/1/2 oz chopped pistachios
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp freshly scraped nutmeg
1/2 tsp saffron threads
Heat a small 5 inch/13cm skillet and a drop of ghee and pour a ladle of the mixture. Tilt the pan in circles so the mixture spreads around evenly covering the bottom base of the pan. Lower the heat and allow it to cook for a minute until a pale golden brown. Carefully flip it over and cook for another minute.
The nuts chosen here are sweet. Substitute with your favourite ones. Macadamia nuts are the closest to these ones. Charoli, commonly found in India and in their larger Indian stores across Canada and the UK is also a great addition to the recipe. Roughly chop the Charoli before adding them.
Crush the saffron threads to help blend into the mixture. If you store the box of saffron in the fridge, it will crisp up and make it easier to crush. Use the tips of your fingers!
If you do not wish to buy ghee, clarified brown butter is just as good. Simply melt and boil 4 ozs of butter until it separates and changes its colour. Use as needed.
Mix and keep the batter for upto 24 hours covered in the fridge if you need to.
If it becomes thick add some milk to bring it to the right consistency.
If it is thinner, refrigerate and wait for an hour or two for it to thicken as the gluten in the flour will help do just that.
If you are not confident of turning the pancake, simply cover the skillet with a lid and cook through. Fold the pancake and serve both sides will show up as a beautiful golden brown!
Crème`Anglaise ….. the perfect version
In a glass measure cup scald 2 cups milk
Note…. If you are using vanilla bean, split the bean and remove the pulp, adding it to the milk before heating the infuse it at its best. If not add the vanilla extract at the very end.
In a heavy bottom pan stir 8 egg yolks and 1/2 cup or 125 gm/4 oz sugar
Mix it well with a wooden spoon breaking it all up properly, add a pinch of salt.
Now add the milk slowly to the eggs mixing it vigorously and quickly to emulsify the mixture.
Against all odds and other norms, cook the mixture on a fairly high heat always remembering to mix it continuously, only until the mixture thickens to coat the back of the wooden spoon. Do not boil. Flavour it with one of the 4 choices below.
Keep a plastic sieve ready to pour through, over a glass bowl in a bath of iced water, strain the crème anglaise immediately. Mix it to stop forming a skin on top or place a cling film over it touching the creme`.
To flavour it you have several choices.
1. Traditional - pour a tbsp of vanilla extract
2 . add 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp coffee granules
3. 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tbsp rum
4. 1 tsp vanilla and zest of a lime or lemon
For more Parsi Food recipes and its history and origin read my cookbook The World of Parsi Cooking : Food Across Borders and The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.
24th April 2020
Yummy. Adil and I both enjoyed the Chaapats. We even gave some to our elderly neighbour who loved them. Thank you for sharing your recipe.