Souffle, mousse and custards have been adopted
into the Parsi cuisine repertoire from our colonial days. Often a ‘party’ dish,
a savoury souffle was rare to be served.
Cheese was expensive and hard to come by, and large families meant delicate
foods like freshly baked souffles were only meant for treats. I recall an aunt
adding potato to her cheese souffle and another adding corn.
The flavour is subtle, and yet the cheese should come through properly. With such a large variety of cheese now available, pick a sharp cheddar that melts well for best results. The other challenge is to await it at the dinner table – it will deflate in minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C | 405°F. degrees
Prepare the bowl and refrigerate it until ready to use.
A 1.6 litre/ 6 cup soufflé bowl, well buttered and sprinkled with bread crumbs or finely grated cheese like a parmesan. Alternatively, 12 smaller ramekins.
57 g/ 2 oz unsalted butter
2 tbsp flour
½ tsp dry mustard powder
325 ml/ 11 oz whole milk -warmed
5 eggs -separated in two bowls
140 g/ 5 oz cheese – see tips
½ tsp salt
Pinch of sugar
Freshly cracked black pepper or nutmeg
5 drops of Tabasco
In a pan melt the butter, add the flour and mustard, stirring to prepare a roux. Cook for a minute and then pour in the warm milk stirring it constantly with a whisk to keep it smooth.
Bring it to a boil and allow to bubble for 3 minutes, continuously stirring it.
Remove from heat and add (while still warm),
lightly beaten egg yolks -briskly whisk to incorporate.
Continue to add the cheese, salt, sugar and freshly ground black pepper or nutmeg. Add a few drops of tabasco.
Once the mixture is ready, whisk 5 egg whites -adding a pinch of salt, until soft peaks form.
Fold in 1/3 of this into the roux, gently breaking it up to soften.
Continue to gently fold in the rest keeping it nice and puffy and light.
Drop it into the soufflé bowl, run your thumb around the edges, and sprinkle with some of the grated cheese.
Reduce heat to 180 °C | 355 °F. degrees after 7 minutes and bake for 30 minutes. The top should be a nice golden brown.
Swiss Gruyere, Comte` or any strong grated cheddar will be best.
Beat the egg whites at the end, after preparing the rest of the recipe.Optionally for additional flavour, add 2 tbsp of finely chopped fresh herbs chives, basil, or tarragon. The tender green ends of green onions/scallions work well too.
Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala
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 Vegetarian Parsi, inspired by tradition is an award winning cookbook. It was published by Spenta Multimedia India and is available on Amazon India and through email order at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.