Preview - The Vegetarian Parsi, inspired by tradition.


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The Vegetarian Parsi, inspired by tradition.

Food speaks volumes about the culture and heritage of a community. And cookbooks are an art form that add to and illustrate our history. The Vegetarian Parsi, with its simple yet elegant presentation has a certain je ne sais quoi that I hope readers will find charming.  With distinctive Parsi flavours, these are vegetarian recipes showcasing our ancient Parsi cuisine at its best.

The book begins by sharing inspirational stories about an ancient cuisine that has remained frozen in time. From grandmothers to the generations to come, Parsi cooking has continued to be, in essence, much the same. Wonderfully prepared, simple fare that has flavours and health benefits beyond our general knowledge, taken for granted over generations.

From a daily celebration of teatime that continues to this day, to the symbolism of the delectable Daar ni pori and the iconic Dhansak—ubiquitous in Parsi food. Our Persian heritage is evident, reflected in subtle ways in the Indian nuances and influences that guided this ancient cuisine. A short note highlighting the Gujarati food adoption and the secret to cooking vegetables ties in with the theme of this book.

Sharing the ancient art of masala grinding on special stones to encourage the young folk to try out what their forefathers cleverly created and successfully utilised over centuries makes this cookbook a page turner.

And then there are the friends and family who share their own views on why a cookbook on vegetarian food is a must. How the world at large is turning toward plant-based food and why the time is right to publish an interesting set of recipes to help encourage this trend along.

The Vegetarian Parsi is divided into five chapters. From the grand old legends of Parsi teatime snacks like bhakrasbatasas, and khatai to the much looked forward mohnu samarvanu-to cleanse the palate at the end of each meal. A flood of eggs is to be expected in any Parsi cookbook, and this one has plenty. From tamota per edu to turai per edu and the delicious papayta ni akuri—my mother’s favourite way to prepare and eat her eggs. In the vegetable basket, we have plenty to choose from. Dahi na vengna-spicy eggplant rings with yoghurt. A delicious Parsi curry with mixed vegetables and the never forgotten Lagun nu Parsi stew -the best of finely balanced thikku-khattu-mitthu, the very basics of fine Parsi cooking. Because rice and lentils are equally important to any Parsi, I've included the masala ni daar, which can be served as a vegetarian Dhansak with the traditional vugharela chawal, which is complemented by a delicious patra ma paneer, an inventive substitute for patra ni machi. 

Among these treasure troves are a few new recipes too. I have cauliflower cups and a banana cake with miso, coffee, and walnuts. Not to mention the twist on our simple chaapat (crepes) – prepared and served as a chaapat cake with layers of marzipan and a drizzle of crème anglaise. It is fancy enough to serve up at any event.

Beautifully clicked pictures make this cookbook prettier. It has the magical effect of transporting you back in time to show you what each food will look like and how to serve it elegantly! Each recipe has its own picture with it. Last but not least, are the tips. This section is important as a teacher whose heart is in sharing details. These few lines give reassurance to a new cook and a young one. It gives one a choice, an opportunity to rummage through the fridge and the pantry without having to run to the corner store for one solitary forgotten item.

The Parsi Larder prepares the home-cook for future meals and gives creative ideas to store daily ingredients. 

This book is part of a series of Parsi cookbooks published with the same goal in mind: to ensure that the legacy of Parsi cooking lives on for the next century and beyond. 

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