Eeda Pak | Egg Halwa
We Parsis have a deep love for our eedu (egg) and we have even managed to create a “Pak’’ of the same. With the 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 regularly prepared as part of the winter seasonal menus is now rarely ever spoken of or heard of. My great-great-grandmother’s recipe was one that my family looked forward to each year with much gusto. I also know how very fond of it my mum was, but somehow we have not kept up this tradition over the recent past, and perhaps it has been neglected for far too long.
I recall eating Eeda Pak as a child and even helping to prepare it from time to time. Next came the sheer delight of breakfast time, when we would slather heaps of cold Eeda Pak on hot toast and hope against hope to enjoy it with a cup of Parsi choi, as it was not for the young, especially if it was strong and sweet like we longingly wished for.I love the complexity of flavours and textures in this "savoury sweet" – gingery, grainy yet moist, darkish but almost like a good caramel, with a distinct richness. The masses of egg whites left over were always used up—meringues, omelettes, and whipped as part of a myriad of "per eeda" recipes.
|A wonderful rich and creamy Pak made with egg yolks. #ParsiFood|
Makes approximately 3 ½ kg/ 7 lb
For this recipe, it is best to weigh the ingredients accurately on a scale.
454 g/ 1 lb clarified butter or ghee
25 large egg yolks
1.2 kg/2.4lb sugar
2 cups of water
125 g / ¼ lb peeled almonds
125 g / ¼ lb peeled pistachios
250 g / ½ lb mixed seeds; pumpkin, melon, magaj, sunflower
800 g /1 3/4 lb singora powder (dry water chestnut)
400 g /1 /2 lb ginger powder
2 tbsp piprimur powder
400 g/ 1/2 lb of ghau nu duudh-white wheat seeds
1 tbsp cardamom powder
1 tbsp nutmeg –freshly grated
2 tbsp white pepper powder
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp saffron threads, crushed
1 tsp salt
In a pan, heat the sugar and water till all the sugar has dissolved. Then bring it to a boil to make an aik taar no sero (light syrup). Let it cool.
Dry roast the nuts and seeds and then grind them to a coarse powder. In a frying pan, add a few tablespoons of the clarified butter and add all the ground nuts, seeds, and singora powder, stirring constantly and cooking for a few minutes.
Beat the egg yolks in a bowl and pour the cooled syrup into the eggs, stirring until properly incorporated. Add the fried nuts and seeds, including the butter used to cook them in, and add the rest of the butter. Over low heat, continue cooking, stirring often to ensure it is all cooked, until it comes together as a large caramel-coloured ball. About 30 to 45 minutes. Add the ginger, piprimur, cardamom, nutmeg, white pepper, vanilla and saffron. Remove it from the heat after thoroughly mixing. Cool and store it in the fridge in covered glass bowls.
Aik tar no sero is a typical way of preparing a sugar syrup for most Parsi sweets. Simply stir the syrup and hold the spoon 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 bit of sugar is melted before the mixture comes to a boil. Otherwise, it will crystallise once it cools, making the eeda pak crunchy instead of smooth.
The final texture of the eeda pak will be dependent on how coarse or fine you have ground the seeds and nuts.
Piprimur is a woody spice that is a cross between cloves and black pepper. However, it is not easily available and can be omitted.
My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on amazon.
The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022.
The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.