Monday, 26 January 2015

Parsi Stew

Sweet and Sour Vegetable Stew
Parsi Stew

Isn't it well known that a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet? What is in a name or many names...... The Parsi stew if often referred to as Lagan nu stu. Sometimes even called Parsi Istoo; It is listed in cookbooks as sweet and sour vegetable stew etc.,

And it is just that, a sweet and sour mix of cubed diced vegetables. Served at weddings and navjotes it is an integral part of the Parsi Cuisine. The full description  now divulged?

However  it is the addition of dried fruits specifically dried apricots and sometimes nuts like the cashew that makes it more celebratory fit for a wedding hence the term  ''lagan nu''. By adding the sweet and sour to it one ensures its authenticity. Choosing the correct vegetables labels it as 'original' yet the combinations are endless. The assorted root vegetables hold well when fried and the aubergine/eggplant and okra give it the other textures and flavour.

In the West, many have resorted to frozen bags of chopped vegetables, which do beans and kernels of fresh corn. This is not authentic yet mostly acceptable.

Serves 6 to 8 persons

3 potatoes peeled and cubed in ½” squares
¼ kg red pumpkin peeled and cubed in ½” squares
3 carrots peeled and cubed in ½” squares
2 peeled small sweet potatoes cubed in ½” squares
1 large aubergine cubed ½” in squares
½ kg green peas boiled, if fresh
½ kg ladyfingers/okra topped, tailed and cut into ¼” slices or green beans

3 large onions finely chopped
1 ½ tsp ground ginger
1 ½ tsp ground garlic
6 green chillies finely chopped
3 large tomatoes peeled and finely chopped
½ cup coriander leaves chopped
½-1 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
Salt to taste

4 tbsp vinegar or to taste
2 tbsp sugar or to taste OR 18 small dried apricots (to be added with the vegetables and allowed to cook and stew, not at the end. )
Oil (for frying)

Heat oil in a frying pan. Lightly fry all prepared vegetables individually (except green peas) until soft and cooked. Sprinkle salt over them. Heat 2 tbsp oil and fry onions until light brown. Add all the finely chopped, ground and powdered ingredients to onions and simmer for 5 minutes. Add all the fried ingredients, boiled or frozen green peas and mix well. Cook for 10 minutes. Add vinegar, sugar and salt, and simmer for another 15 minutes. Taste for sweet and sour. Add more vinegar or sugar as needed.


You can lightly oil the vegetables and bake them in a pre-heated oven at 160C/325F for approximately 45 minutes until dry and lightly browned. Best to salt and lightly oil them before baking them.

Try to keep all the vegetables the same size, generally smaller the better.
Add a few dry apricots; 12-15 to this recipe. It will add the sweetness.
Ensure the okra is fried on a high flame to avoid any stickiness from leaking. Regular french/green beans are a good alternate to okra/ladyfinger.

More Parsi Food recipes are available in my new cookbook

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine

For more delicious recipes from Parsi Cuisine click to download

Niloufer's Kitchen:Autumn
Niloufer's Kitchen; Quick and Easy

1 comment:

  1. Dilnavaz Shroff2 July 2018 at 19:29

    Just tried it out for some guests and it turned out delicious! Just left out okra and Aubergines...Thanks!