Parsis across the world are all geared up to celebrate Navroze, the Parsi New Year, on Wednesday, Aug.17. It is a time of celebration, since it marks the beginning of the Zoroastrian calendar. The Parsi community may be small, with population of only 50,000 in India, but their presence and contribution to society in Mumbai and the rest of India has left an impression on all. Of all things, their food is loved by most Indians. Case in point: Restaurants like Soda Bottle Openerwala that serve only Iranian/Parsi food have been a big hit with people.
Here are some recipes of traditional Parsi delicacies to try out on Navroze.
1. Patra Ni Machhi
It is a preparation of fish cooked in banana leaf.
6 pomfret steaks
1 fresh coconut grated fine
3 green chillies
1 small bunch coriander leaves, (approximately 100 gms/ 0.22 lbs) roots cut off
1 small bunch mint, (approximately 100 gms/ 0.22 lbs) thick stems removed
2" piece of ginger
3 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
4 tbsps lemon/ lime juice
Salt to taste
1 large banana leaf washed thoroughly, central spine removed and then cut into 6 pieces
1 tbsp vegetable/ sunflower/ canola cooking oil
Place fish steaks on a large, flat tray. Drizzle lemon/ lime juice over them and sprinkle salt to taste. Flip pieces over to coat fully with marinade. Keep aside for 20 minutes.
Put the coconut, green chillies, coriander and mint leaves, ginger and garlic, cumin and turmeric powders and salt to taste into a blender and grind to a smooth paste. Use as little water as possible.
Divide this paste into two portions and use each portion to fully coat the pieces of fish on each side. Keep aside.
Pat dry the banana leaf pieces and smear lightly with oil on the smooth side. Place one piece of fish in the centre of each piece of leaf and wrap into a neat parcel. Tie with twine or cotton string.
Cook in a steamer for 15-20 minutes.
Place each piece in the centre of a plate and serve hot, so diners can unwrap their own parcel.
Recipe Courtesy: Indianfood.com
2. Chicken Dhansak
Chicken prepared with lentils and spices
1 cup mixed lentils - toor, masoor, urad and moong (1/4 cup each)
1 litre chicken stock
500 gms chicken pieces of your choice - boneless
10 black peppercorns
1" piece cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1" piece of mace
2 large bay leaves
1 star anise
3 dry red chillies
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 large bunch each of fresh coriander leaves and fenugreek leaves (approximately 150 gms/ 0.33 lbs each)
1/2 bunch mint leaves (approximately 75 gms)
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
2 tbsps vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil
Salt to taste
Wash the lentils well. Put them in a deep pan, add the chicken stock, salt to taste and a cup of water. Boil till the lentils are soft. Add more water if required.
While the lentils are boiling. Heat a griddle or heavy-bottomed flat pan on a medium flame and dry roast all the spices (except the turmeric and nutmeg) till they begin to release their aroma. Remove from the fire, cool and then grind to a fine powder. Mix in the turmeric and nutmeg and blend well. Keep aside.
When the lentils are cooked soft, whisk them to get a smooth and thick soup-like consistency. Keep aside.
Heat the cooking oil in a pan on a medium flame and when hot, add the fresh coriander, fenugreek and mint leaves to it. Fry till soft. Remove from the fire and cool. Grind into a smooth paste in a food processor.
Heat a deep, heavy-bottomed pan on a medium flame and add the lentils, ginger, garlic and tamarind pastes and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. The consistency should always be like a medium-thick soup. Add a cup of water, the spice powder and coriander-fenugreek-mint paste you made earlier, salt if required and the chicken pieces. Mix well.
Simmer and cook till chicken is done. Add more water to maintain consistency.
Serve Dhansak hot with Parsi Brown Rice.
Recipe Courtesy: Indianfood.com
3. Parsi Sev or Malido
It is a dessert made with sev or vermicelli.
100 grams vermicelli, white or brown roasted
25 grams ghee or oil
100 grams sugar (or 1/2 cup sugar if you are diabetic)
1/2 ozs rose-water or 1/2 tsp rose essence (optional)
25 grams almonds, blanched, sliced (optional)
25 grams raisins or currants (optional)
1/4 tbsp nutmeg and cardamom powder (optional)
50 grams water (6 â€“ 8 ozs or 1 cup)
Fry the vermicelli in a wide and large utensil in ghee until golden brown in colour, stirring all the time.
In a separate bowl, mix sugar and water and boil.
Then add this sugar and water mix to the vermicelli.
Cover with lid, the flame being on full. After 3 minutes check if the water is absorbed and vermicelli cooked. If the water is not absorbed and vermicelli still a bit raw then reduce the heat to allow it to cook but not soggy. When completely cooked add the rose water or essence and the nutmeg, cardamom powder.
Garnish with fried almonds and raisins.
Note: Add as little water as you can to make Sev fluffy and light.
Recipe courtesy: Parsicuisine.com