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|
Will make approximately 7lb/3 ½ kg.
Measure by weight
1 lb/454 gm clarified butter or ghee
25 large egg yolks
1.2 kg/2.4lb 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
800 gm /1 3/4 singora powder/ dry water chestnut powder
400 gm /1 /2 lb ginger powder
2 tbsp piprimur powder
400 gm/ 1/2 lb of ghau nu duudh - white wheat seeds
2 tbsp cardamom and nutmeg powder
2 tbsp white pepper powder
2 tbsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 tsp saffron threads, crushed
1 tsp salt - if using commercial ghee this is necessary
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.