New York’s ice-cream wars have really ramped up in recent years, spurred on by a bevy of excellent new shops and stakes-raising creations like the black-and-white-cookie ice-cream sandwich and, uh, Kanye West Ice Cream Week. The latest contestant in this frozen-treat frenzy isn’t even ice cream as Americans understand it, but is instead the ultradense kulfi. New York is certainly no stranger to this classic Indian treat, which can be easily found in the freezer aisles of Indian grocers in Queens and at restaurants like Junoon and Tamarind. But the cardamom and pistachio version being made at the recently opened Babu Ji, which comes to Alphabet City by way of Melbourne, is the one you’ll want to make your regular fix this summer.
Getting ready for the freezer.
Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev
“We have such a long summer, days with 100 percent humidity, and having no proper electricity, kulfi is the only thing that cools you down in the afternoon,” Jessi Singh, the restaurant’s chef and co-owner alongside his wife, Jennifer, says. “That’s what mom or grandma makes for you to cheer you up.”
Nostalgia is all well and good, but what makes Singh’s kulfi so impressive is the time he invests into doing it right. The whole process takes up almost an entire day, beginning with the cooking of the milk base, to which the cardamom, pistachio, and honey are added. This alone takes five to six hours — kulfi is traditionally made with fattier buffalo’s milk, so Singh needs to cook the cow milk he uses longer to get the right creaminess — and involves constant stirring. Afterwards, the milk is brought down to room temperature and frozen for 12 hours in traditional metal molds that Singh smuggles back from India.
The kulfi is presented it to you in its traditional mold.
Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev
Photo: Konstantin Sergeyev
What comes out of the freezer has a texture more like chewy mochi than silky soft-serve. It’s smooth and uniformly dense, intensely creamy and aromatic, the kind of ice cream that you can actually bite into. When you finally, regretfully, get to that last bite, you’ll find a ring of cardamom and pistachio — something delightfully, if unintentionally, reminiscent of that summertime classic, the King Cone. There’s only one flavor available right now, but eventually Singh plans to offer a clove-and-ginger-charged chai and, longer down the line, local fruit flavors.
Coconut milk is obtained from grated coconut kernel. It is a very popular ingredient in South East Asian cuisine. The rich taste of coconut milk is due to the high oil content. It can be consumed raw or used as a substitute to milk in the preparation of various dishes. In some countries, it is also used to make a type of summer drink or added to cocktails. Coconut milk is also preserved and sold commercially in a tetra pack.
While adding coconut milk to curries you can avoid curdling of the milk with these tips. After adding the coconut milk keep the heat low and do not let it boil. Keep stirring frequently while adding the coconut milk and also while it cooks for a couple of minutes. Let it simmer uncovered. If this doesn’t work mix a teaspoon corn flour to the milk and then add it.
It is packed with vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5, and B6 as well as iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
It contains high levels of saturated fats therefore its consumption is advised with care.
Coconut milk also has medium chain fatty acids that may help promote weight maintenance without raising cholesterol levels.
Coconut milk contains lauric acid, also found in mother’s milk that is known to promote brain development and bone health.
Coconut milk is a great source of Vitamin E that helps in the nourishment of the skin.
Almost all parts of the coconut palm are useful. Fruit of the coconut palm can be eaten or used in preparation of sweet, chips and savory dishes.
Oil and milk derived from this fruit that are widely used in cooking. Water found enclosed inside the coconut shell is considered one of the best summer coolers.
Squash the stress with coconuts. The water, the flesh, the oil or the butter, all of the coconut is trending and for good reason. Coconuts contain medium chain fats that improve our metal health and infuse positive energy. The scent of the coconut is known to have a psychological effect that helps diminish anxiety and slows our heart rate. The sweet, pleasant fragrance of the coconut augments alertness and tones down the ‘fight or flight’ response when faced with a stressful situation. Amazing, isn’t it?
Consumption of coconut speeds up metabolism and helps prevent obesity.
Coconuts are very rich in dietary fiber and antioxidants thus helping in lowering cholesterol levels.
Coconut has a low glycemic index.
Coconut is a very good energy giving food because it is not stored in the body as fat, but is utilized by the body to release energy.
Did you know?
The trunk of the tree is used in making small bridges and boats.
A spice without which Indian cuisine would be incomplete, the most common variety of chilli used apart from red is the green. These are used with or without the stalks, whole or chopped, with seeds or deseeded. They are used fresh, dried, powdered, pickled or in sauces.
Though not used in excess just a touch of green chilli is enough to make the dish spicy. Green chilli usually blended with ginger and garlic, is very popularly used as masala in Indian household.
Savory dishes find the most use of green chillies in curries, breads, meat dishes and stir fries. Tempering or tadka used in a variety of dishes is incomplete without green chillies. A spice mix called green seasoning added to curries uses green chillies along with a tweaked salsa recipe.
Note: Always choose crisp, green, unwrinkled chilli. If you’re looking for only a hint of chilli, add deseeded. Be careful while using the seeds, they can cause a burning sensation if hands are not washed properly.
With a spicy bite, these fresh products are high in vitamins A and C.
Green chillies are high in potassium and iron content.
Did you know?
Contrary to the popular practice, water doesn’t relieve the burning sensation of green chilli, milk or milk based products do.
Dried red pepper may be used whole or powdered. India is the largest producer of red chillies. As the name suggests it is red in color and can be consumed as it is or can be broken down and made into a powder. It is really spicy and the intense heat is concentrated in the seeds. Fresh red chillies are milder.
Red chili’s are usually grounded into a powder and used as a spice. Red chili’s are dried or pickled in order to store them for a long period of time. It is a popular ingredient in most Indian dishes and curries.
Red chili’s are also used extensively for making sauces which are used to add spice to other dishes.
Is it beneficial?
They are an excellent source of vitamin C but excess use of red chillies may cause indigestion and heartburn. Capsaisin, the chemical that makes chillies hot is known to reduce the risk of skin and stomach cancer. They contain more vitamin C than an orange. It also acts as a remedy for cold and sinus symptoms. It does not contain any cholesterol.
Red chili’s or red chili powder must be kept away from eyes, if comes in contact, it can even cause permanent damage and in some cases, even blindness.
Chili’s should not be consumed separately. The seeds of chili’s cause innumerable cuts on the tip of our tongue, it is these cuts which cause that burning sensation in the mouth.
Did you know?
The best relief from the burning sensation of chillies is drink milk or have a spoonful of yogurt. Drinking water only enhances the burning sensation!
“Scoville heat units” [SHU] is the measuring unit which measures the hotness of chili’s. A sweet bell pepper scores 0 on the Scoville scale, a jalapeno pepper scores around 2500-4000 units, and a Mexican chili called HABANEROS scores 200,000 to 500,000 units.
The Bhut Jolokia is the spiciest red chilli in world. It is grown in Assam and Nagaland.
A Chili is a fruit. It is legally a vegetable in the US but botanically it is a fruit.
Unrefined sugar, found in solid or powdered form, used in desserts as a substitute for sugar. Its color varies from golden brown to dark brown. It is used in both sweet and savory dishes across India. It keeps your body warm and is great to ward off common cold and cough.
Jaggery is used as an ingredient in many Indian and Sri Lankan recipes. It is used very commonly in Gujarati cuisine. It is also used to make toffees, cakes and desserts. In earlier times, most Indians preferred to use jaggery instead of refined sugar. Even now its used commonly in rural households. In villages, the animals are fed with jaggery to boost energy, right after they give birth. It is also given to the cattle for a sweeter milk production.
1.Its best health benefit is that, it is a very good energy source. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that absorbs in the bloodstream instantly and gives energy faster. Jaggery on the other hand is a complex carbohydrate that gives energy to the body gradually and for a longer time.
2.Jaggery does not alter the blood sugar level and is therefore preferred over refined sugar in case of diabetes.
3.Jaggery helps in controlling the body weight by reducing water retention.
4.Jaggery is a very good cleansing agent, that pulls our dust and unwanted particles from the body. It cleans the respiratory tracts, lungs, stomach intestines and food pipe. It is for this reason that the jaggery consumption is recommended to people working in heavily polluted areas like coal mines or paint factories.
5.It is also a good digestive agent if had after a heavy meal.
6.Jaggery is rich in iron and helps anemic patients.
Did you know? When the use of cement was not common as a building material, jaggery mixed with lime, sand and clay was used to interlock bricks.
It’s the Parsi version of the Creme Brulee and is essentially a bake of milk, eggs and cardamom.
‘Lagan-Nu-Custard’ is a Parsi dessert prepared during weddings. The name itself means ‘wedding custard’. Made with simple everyday ingredients like milk, eggs, butter and nuts.
5 cups (1 kg) full cream milk
1/4 cup sugar
6 green cardamoms
1/8 tsp nutmeg – powdered together with the cardamoms
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 cup blanched and slivered almonds
1/4 cup chironji/charoli nuts
4 eggs slightly beaten
1/2 cup cream
A generously buttered oven proof serving dish
A few blobs of butter to top the custard
Nuts to decorate
Cook milk and sugar together, to reduce it to half the amount.
Add half the spice powder, half the nuts and the vanilla and mix well and cool.
Mix the cream into the milk and beat the mixture into the beaten eggs.
Transfer into the prepared dish, sprinkle the rest of the nuts and spices, and the blobs of butter and bake in the pre heated oven for 1/2 an hour (a skewer inserted should come out clean). Oven temp: 350 F-180 C
So when I heard about the year-old Zoroastrian Return to Roots (Zororoots) programme, which sees an intrepid band of Parsis escort young diaspora Zoroastrians on historical and cultural trips around India, I dismissed the whole thing. “It’ll probably involve eating a lot of dhansak, caramel custard and praying,” I scoffed to my friends.
But then something unexpected happened. Perzen Patel (caterer, blogger at Bawibride.com and one of the participants) started tweeting about her trip earlier this year. “Lunch today was at the WZO dharamshala in Sanjan, the bustling port where our ancestors landed,” read one of her tweets. “Most people buy bangles, sudrehs or religious items as souvenirs from Navsari. This BawiBride buys vinegar coz food is religion!” read another one.
As Patel’s trip slowly unfolded on Twitter, something within me flickered gently to life, urging me to find out more. The most intriguing part for me was their sojourn in Gujarat, a bastion of sorts for my people, where cities and towns still bear strong traces of the Parsi identity.
It was only fitting that the trip began at Sanjan, where a commemorative pillar marks the arrival of the Zoroastrians (either in the eighth or the 10th century; there is no agreement on this). The World Zoroastrian Organization guesthouse that housed the band of merry travellers “is popular for its preparations of tarapori patiyo, a sweet-sour dish made with dried Bombay duck, and sukka boomla no patiyo (pickled dried fish),” says Shireen Havewala, Zororoots founder and one of the trip organizers. On the last tour, however, the participants ate tangdi chicken and kheema(“totally avoidable,” grumbled Patel), simply because those were the freshest dishes.
But even Patel admits that the star of the show was “Jamshed uncle’sdoodh na puff,” a dish not unlike Old Delhi’s daulat ki chaat. Across towns in Gujarat, the puff was, by necessity, a winter dish. Fresh, sweet milk is thoroughly boiled and left to cool overnight in the garden, with a wisp of mulmul covering the dekchi (pot). The next morning, the dew-drenched cream that has risen to the top is beaten until a frothy cloud forms. The froth is then scooped into glasses and eaten at once. Today, of course, anyone with a refrigerator can make it at any time, as Jamshed Gandhi, WZO guesthouse manager, did.
But it was the group’s visit to Surat’s Dotivala Bakery that really tickled their palate. It dates back to 1616, when the region was under Dutch control. Yearning for a taste of home, the colonizers set up a bakery and employed five Indians to run it. The English eventually ousted the Dutch, but one of the bakers, Faramji Dotivala, continued baking bread. Sales, however, dropped. Perhaps it was too expensive? And then a strange thing happened: The bakery began to notice a demand for days-old dry bread, which sold for less. Over time, it morphed into the rusk-dry Irani biscuit. In its wake came the Surti batasa (a flaky, buttery round biscuit flecked with cumin) and the sweet nankhatai.
Current proprietor Cyrus Dotivala, a direct descendent of the venerable Faramji, was a generous host to the participants, sharing baked goodies and stories. “The (Dotivala) bakery in Surat uses 200kg of flour to sell more than 500kg of batasa, a special Parsi biscuit now adopted by Indians the world over! Heading to the kitchens of this 200-year-old bakery (sic) was magical,” tweeted Patel. Slowly, gently, her enthusiasm was whittling away at my condescension, piquing my curiosity for this intangible cultural history.
Yet, it was the little town of Navsari, some 40km south of Surat, that was arguably the culinary apogee of the trip. For Parsi bon vivants, Navsari is inextricably associated with the EF Kolah store, purveyors of Parsi condiments for well over a century. Its pickles, prepared with Kolah’s special cane vinegar—called sarko and brewed in wooden casks in exactly the same process since 1885—are its most famous products. There are legions of fans for their gharab nu achar (fish roe pickle), the sweet bafenu, made from an entire ripe mango, and gorkeri nu achar, made from half-ripe mangoes and jaggery; the vinegar is used in everything from saas ni machhi to stew.
Anushae Parakh, a 23-year-old Pakistani Zoroastrian, staggered home with boxes full of goodies. “I stocked up on the achars and masalas which I do not get in Pakistan,” she says. “My suitcase still smells of tarapori patiyo (a tart and sweet pickle made of Bombay duck infused with vinegar).”
Among the disorderly churn of Navsari’s Mota Bazaar is another Kolah establishment: Yazdan Cold Drink House, owned by Jamshed R. Kolah. The Gujarati and English signboards proclaim Yazdan’s brief menu: ice creams, flavoured sodas including ice-cream soda, and the doodh cold drink (falooda), with its attendant scoop of ice cream.
While most delegates went to the Navsari fire temple, two group members—Patel and Arzan Wadia (another Zororoots founder and trip organizer)— stole away to Yazdan. “I had the kesar pista and the gulkand ice-creams, both of which were fantastic. With the gulkand, you don’t get the sharpness of rose essence, and you can actually bite down on crushed petals,” says Patel. With its bare tiled walls, graceless furniture and steel utensils, Yazdan lacks old-world allure, but there’s no diluting the scrumptiousness of the ice cream.
Not far away is Mama Patticewala, where Wadia and Patel dug into the delicious pattice. “I’ve known about the shop since my childhood—my maternal grandparents are from Navsari—and it’s quite the institution,” says Wadia. “Their most famous item is the potato pattice stuffed with coconut and other nuts, which usually gets over by noon.”
For Parakh, the most memorable meal was one she ate at Jamshed Baug. Built in 1849, the Navsari baug is one the best-kept Parsi dharamshalas in India, with rows of sloping roof-topped low buildings standing around a wide courtyard. “The quintessentially Parsi dish of curry-chaval was made with a unique Indian twist, but it still reminded me of home,” she says. “The taste of Gujarati-Parsi food in India is different from that made in Pakistan; the spices and herbs really make a difference.”
Suddenly, unexpectedly, I was yearning for a taste of the Parsi curry, usually made in India by incorporating roasted and ground poppy seeds and sesame seeds, even grams and peanuts, with the regular curry masala.
The Zororoots tour ended at Dahanu, a postcard-perfect seaside town in Maharashtra, with winding lanes and rustic houses. Butterfly-bedecked chikoo and litchi orchards slope away from the railway station. Although there are a few bakers and entrepreneurs here, most Iranis have structured their lives around the fruits. On a speedy lunch-stop just outside Dahanu, the participants dug into chikoo chips, a speciality of the area. “We also had saas nu gosh (mutton), which is unusual in Parsi cuisine,” says Patel (usually, Parsis make the glutinous white saas or curry with fish). There was also plump boi (mullet), its flaky flesh slathered in a shell of masala. This was simple Parsi food cooked and eaten as close to its cultural roots as possible. As endings go, this one tasted pretty good.
But was it really an ending? As I researched and then wrote this story, I could feel my personal notions about Parsi food shifting, from dishes that I’d seen virtually every day of my life to the carrier of the culture of a particular time and place. With every bite of my batasa, I was also consuming a piece of hybrid Parsi history; every mouthful of saas ni macchiwould make me wonder about the curious evolution of Dahanu’s saas nu gosh. Food is so much more than just food; this was just a beginning for me.
A mega festival, with exhibits being brought from world over, is being proposed by Minority Affairs Ministry for March next year
Article by Sobhana K Nair | Bangalore Mirror
New Delhi: In March next year, Delhi will be hosting, for the first time ever, a celebration of Parsi culture, with three exhibitions, one of them travelling from UK and a host of other events.
The festival is being organized by Ministry of Minority Affairs at a total budget of Rs 13.4 crore. It is expected to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 19 next year and will go on till May 29.
The exhibition – Everlasting Flames – which has antiquities loaned from 15 museums across the world including Syria and Iran will be coming from UK.
It traces the 3,000 years of Zoroastrian History through artefacts, silverware from imperial periods of Iranian Zoroastrian history, textiles, coins and manuscripts. This exhibition was first organized by SOAS (School of Oriental and Asian Studies) in UK in November-December 2013.
One of the main attractions is Gathas of Zarathustra, 17 hymns composed by Zarathustra, founder of Zoroastrianism, which will be presented in a series of large calligraphic panels accompanied with voice recordings of the text. The hymns of the Gathas, written in Old Avestan, belongs to the old Iranian language group.
“They have never loaned manuscripts to India. So it needed a bit of convincing and we went back forth bringing everyone on board,” Prof Shernaz Cama, of Parzor project of UNESCO, one of the key partners of the festival said. Cama says it is first time ever that Parsi culture is being celebrated at such a scale.
With a huge insurance premium for the exhibits, the Everlasting Flame, alone is costing nearly Rs 10 crore to the government. Apart from the exhibition at National Museum, ‘No Parsi is an Island’ an exhibition which was held in Mumbai’s NGMA in 2014 will also travel to Delhi. The exhibition shows Parsi trade with China and the rest of the world.
A third exhibition is being planned in IGNCA (Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts) ‘Threads of Continuity’. For which Google Culture is a partner. This will be a multi-media exhibition where Parsi life and stories will be told through various media. “For example, the Chinvat Bridge, a concept in of the road leading to heaven and hell in Zoroastrianism will be installed with help of multimedia tools to give the visitors an experience of the concept,” said Prof Cama.
Prof Cama says that apart from the academic exhibitions, all things Parsi will be available. “We are arranging for a Parsi food festival, Parsi humour, Parsi theatre and Parsi dances,” she said.
The festival and the exhibitions are important, says Feroza Godrej, who curated the Mumbai Exhibition ‘No Parsi is an Island’. “The Parsi community is shrinking, before we die and become museum pieces, we need to educate the world about this civilization,” Godrej said.
1/2 cup plain flour (maida)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (gehun ka atta)
1 tsp oil
salt to taste
For the stuffing:1 cup noodles
2 boiled potatoes (mashed)
2 Onions (cut into half circle shape)
1 tomato (chopped)
1 capsicum (chopped)
soya sauce ( 1 tbl spoon)
black paper, chat masala
MethodFor The Roties:
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and knead into a soft and pliable dough using enough water.
Divide the dough into equal portions and roll out them,
Heat a tava (griddle) and cook each roti lightly on a medium flame and keep aside.
For the stuffing:
Heat 2 tbl spoon oil in kadahi and add ginger-garlic paste.
Fry for 2 mins, then add mashed potatoes, chopped tomato and capsicum, add half of the onion (half of the onion we need at the time of serving)
Add chilly powder, salt, black paper and make a good mixture, make tikkies of equal shapes and keep them aside. Part 1 is completed.
Zarin’s Secrets, is a venture started by me through which I am trying to revive old Parsee recipes. I have with me, my grand mothers old recipes for Home Made Authentic Masalas as well as Bhakras , chutney for Patra ni Machi , Kolmi No Achchar, Gajar meva nu achchar, Kachi keri no Murabbo and Gor papri to name a few.
My aim is to keep adding to the repertoire…. In the Masalas,I sell parsee Dhana Jeeru masalas, parsee Sambhar masalas, Dhan saak Masalas and parsee Curry masalas. All masalas when sold are given along with a recipe of the dish whose masalas you have bought. The idea is to make easy parsee cooking even easier and take it straight to your kitchen.
Please do check out my page on Facebook Zarin’s Secrets and contact me if interested.
1 cup coconut, grated. (frozen grated coconut)
1 1/2 cup Sugar
3 tablespoon Cream
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and cardamom powder
Few drops red colouring
1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon butter
1/2 cup pistachio nuts optional Method
1. Grease a tray with butter.
2. In a pan add grated coconut and sugar and put on medium fire. Blend well stirring constantly with wooden spoon for 2 minutes.
3. Add cream and blend well.
4. Cook, stirring constantly till mixture leaves sides of pan and coats the spoon.
5. Add vanilla essence and few drops of red coloring to give mixture a good pink colour. Mix well.
6. Turn out into tray, sprinkle nutmeg and cardamom powder over surface and spread out mixture evenly to 1 cm (1/2 inch) thickness.
7. Cool for 15 minutes, then mark into 3 cm squares and allow to cool completely. Sprinkle pistachio nuts if desired.
8.Break into pieces along marking lines.
Note: this coconut delight will keep for 15 days refrigerated
Food plays a important and necessary role in our daily lives. Each ceremony we perform has an associated food involved.
Guests who come to share good times and bad times, auspicious and joyous occasions have to be cordially entertained and food is the most important. Guests should be made to feel welcome and a well taken care of. Care should be taken for their food allergies, vegetarian beliefs.
Events like funerals, births, weddings, navjotes, jashans, traditional ceremonies like agarni, pug ladoo, besnu, pachori, charam all have special food served.
ZOROASTRIAN PARSI RITUALS related to food:
After the birth of a child in a Zoroastrian family, the new mother is normally confined to the house for 40 days. This is to prevent her and her child from any diseases. A lamp is lit on the day of birth and is kept in the room for about 40 days to ward off any evil elements. Some families observe the Pachori on the fifth day while some observe Dasori on the tenth day of the child.
On the fortieth day , the new mother is given a ceremonial bath with consecrated water being administered by the head priest. This is done to cleanse her so that she can interact with other people.
The event of giving the first drink to the newborn is called Para Haoma. It is consecrated Haoma juice and it is supposed to make the child healthy. But these days a sweet drink made of molasses or sugar is also administered.
The formal admission of a child into the Zoroastrian fold is called Navjote. It is done between the seventh and the eleventh year of the child.
First the child takes a special bath called Nahn and then he is given a purifying drink. Then the child stands in a raised platform and his mother performs the Achoo Michoo ceremony where certain items are rotated over the head of the child seven times. This is done to invoke the blessings of the seven Amesha Spentas on the child.
Then certain prescribed texts are read and the Kushti is worn round the waist of the child. Then a long prayer is held when the child declares that he will be a true Zoroastrian and follow the rules and regulations.
Both the Parsi boys and girls are given this privilege. Finally the priest recites the Doa Tandorosoti Prayer, which calls for the well being of the child, his parents and the community in particular.
The marriage involves the groom going to the bride’s house along with his relatives and friends. The priest heads the assembly and women carry the Varni – the gifts meant for the bride. Music bands accompany them.
The bride’s house is usually decorated with strings of flowers. When the groom arrives the bride’s mother welcomes him by applying Kumkum on his forehead and sprays rice grains over him.
During the ceremony the couple shower rice over each other and the priest also throws rice grains over them as a mark of blessing. A coconut is taken round the head of the groom three times, then it is broken and the water is applied at the feet of the groom. The bridegroom is made to sit on the hand of the bride. Both of them face the eastern direction. One person with a burning flame is allowed to stand near the couple as a reverence to their God of fire. A candle is also placed on both the sides and it burns for the whole ceremony.
The priest gets the consent of the couple and then joins their hands and showers rice grains over them. Then the couple is seated facing each other, with a curtain between them. The couple is made to hold each other’s right hand and a piece of cloth is passed round the chairs so as to enclose them. The ends of the cloth are tied symbolizing the marriage knot. Then the writings of the Yatha Ahuvairyo are read.
Finally the curtain is dropped and the couple shower rice grains on each other. The relatives and friends then clap approving the marriage.
When death of a person is imminent , two head priests are called. They recite the Patet – the prayer for repentance. A few drops of the Haoma juice are administered to the dying person. Nowadays pomegranate juice is also given.
According to the Zoroastrians, if the soul has left the body then it should be disposed off with minimum harm to those living. The Zoroastrians have strict ideals of sanitation, segregation, purification and cleanliness. The part of the house where the body was kept before the funeral will be washed and cleansed thoroughly.
After death a “Paydast” or Funeral Services are held in a funeral home. Friends and relatives come to pay their respect to the grieving family. Later in the day, prayers for “Sarosh nu Patru” should be done. Traditionally parsis stop eating meat for the next 3 days in respect of the departed state.
The next day is “Uthamnu” where friends and relatives come to pay their respect to the grieving family. “Sarosh nu Patru” prayers are done. The soul of the departed continues it’s journey to heaven(Behest).
On the fourth day of the passing a “Charam” ceremony is held with prayers for the departed soul. The family prepares the departed person’s favorite foods and partakes of these. Traditionally Dhansak is prepared and shared with family and friends.
Instead of booking a table at a city Bawa eatery on Parsi new year, drive to Udwada for boi, dal-chawal and patio
1. The Hormuzd Bakery stall outside Iranshah Atash Behram stocks crumbly nankhatais and spongy bhakras; 2. Breakfast at Ahura: Parsi poro, akuri and salli par eedu with fresh pav make a jumbo breakfast at Ahura; 3. Lunch at Parsi Da Dhaba; 4. At the Globe Hotel; 5-6. At Hotel Ashishwang; 7-8. At Sohrabji Jamshedji Sodawaterwalla Dharamsala
It’s the oldest story of amalgamation, and if Zoroastrian history in India has a beginning that involves a drink, how do you expect Parsi culture not to be firmly glued to all things edible.So, a return to the story of amalgamation, in brief. When a group of Zoroastrians from Persia arrived as religious refugees in Sanjan, on the coast of Gujarat, they were seeking local king Jadav Rana’s approval. Having fled the Muslim Arabs invading Greater Khorasan in the eighth century, they wished for a safe haven to practice their religion. Rana wondered how a people so distinct in culture and language would live around the locals in harmony. He presented them with a glass spilling over with milk – a symbol of his prosperous land brimming with people, and no room for conflict. The Parsis asked for sugar. Tossing in a spoonful without any spillage, they spoke of seamlessly blending in with Rana’s folk, while adding a tinge of sweetness.Udwada, a seaside town 200 km from Mumbai (and 30 km from Sanjan), is the seat, both, of Zoroastrianism (it houses the Iranshah Atash Behram – one of nine fire temples globally, holding the oldest, continuously burning ritual fire-temple in the world) and Parsi food traditions.The Parsis kept their promise. Their food, moons away from Persian eats, is closer to local Gujarati coastal cooking, featuring indigenous fish, lentils and curries, all accompanied by Indian carb staples – chaval and rotli.
It’s a taste of this that awaits you on any leisurely weekend in Udwada, which you should kick off with a stroll on the beach and walk through its winding alleys, some of which house century-old structures in ruins.
Udwada has nothing to offer tourists, except a bright sun, cool sea breeze, quiet afternoons and smiling locals who serve gher nu bhonu.
2. Breakfast at Ahura
In true Bawa tradition, you must celebrate food enroute, too. Break your journey for a breakfast of eggs at Ahura. We recommend the Parsi kheema (Rs 155), spicy and beautifully paired with freshly baked pav. The Parsi poro (masala omlette; Rs 60) or akuri (bhurji; Rs 70) are other must-trys, but we give our vote to the salli per eedu (eggs on potato vermicelli; Rs 90).
3. Lunch at Parsi Da Dhaba
Well, you have two options. Either you grab lunch en route, or at a hotel in Udwada. If it’s the first you are thinking, make a stop at Parsi Da Dhaba. They serve a robust Parsi menu together with tandoori items, and a fair vegetarian spread. Doodh na puff are available, but only in the mornings (Rs 55/glass). Call: 088062 79379
4. At The Globe Hotel
It’s one of Udwada’s older outposts, and its quaint cottages are popular for an overnight stay with Mumbai’s Parsis. Established in 1924 by Kekobad Hormusji Sidhwa, originally its caretaker, it’s now managed by third generation Sidhwas. Even if you don’t intend to stay on, it’s a good pit-stop for lunch (Rs 500 per head; good enough for two). Their only request – call in advance to book a table. Don’t go looking for a menu. They decide what you’ll eat, and it’s almost always delicious. Order a fried boi – a crisp exterior holds tender, sweet flesh within. Parsis also love their curry, and if you are beside the sea, it has to be machhi ni curry. Globe’s version is fiery and served with kachubar (diced onion, cucumber, tomato and coriander, sprinkled with lime juice) and rice or rotlis. Globe’s rustic roast chicken is what you should order if you want a taste of non-lagan nu bhonu. Call: 0260 345474 / 09879817333
5. At Hotel Ashishwang
Lunch at Ashishwang is synonymous with a drive here, so grab a seat early. Unlike Globe, this one is a two-story modern structure, but since it’s closer to the shore, it enjoys lulling sea breeze. There’s a garden play area for kids, and the food is homestyle. Order mori dar (plain dal), chawal and patio (usually fish or prawnbased tomato-onion gravy), and a side order of tareli boi (fried mullet), best eaten with fresh rotlis. They also do a mean Parsi version of roast chicken (tarela papeta ni murghi). Fried potato crescents and chicken chunks swim in a mild, creamy gravy of onion. Lunch is priced at Rs 450, and good enough for two. Call: 0260 2345700
6. At Sohrabji Jamshedji Sodawaterwalla Dharamsala
It’s 12 rooms are rented out at nominal rates to Parsis looking to stay, but its canteen welcomes the hungry from all communities. They offer both, set and ala carte meals. The mutton dhansak here is a dream. The dal is luscious and thick, littered with chunks of soft meat, served with fragrant caramelised rice. If it’s a chapati meal you crave, order them with salli boti (sour-spicy chicken in tomato gravy sprinkled with crisp potato straws). While Globe and Ashishwang skipped dessert when we were there, Sodawaterwalla’s lagan nu custard and raspberry jelly were a perfect end to a hearty lunch. Call: 0260 2345688
Sunta Cold Drinks: Sunta is a local cold drink brand, difficult to find elsewhere. Flavours available – masala, raspberry and ice-cream soda (Rs 25). Don’t order lunch without it. Available at Parsi museum, Ashishwang and Globe.
Sancha Ice-cream: It’s not a brand. Sancha refers to the technique used to make handchurned, home-made ice-cream, usually served from the backseat of a rickshaw that makes the rounds of most hotels. The flavours are seasonal, so it’s mango (Rs 20/2 scoops) you should be asking for right now. Custard apple and strawberry are available throughout the year.
Doodh na puff (milk froth): This pearly white, frothy concoction is made with cardamom-laced chilled milk, and best had early morning. Local women come around to hotels and dharamsalas carrying trays lined with glasses. It’s best to ask hotel staff to keep a tray (or two because no one can have just one) ready for you the previous night.
MAKE SURE YOU TAKE HOME
Hormuz Bakery bites: Right outside the entrance of Iranshah is a man selling touch-andcrumble bhakras (a tiny doughnut that’s a teatime favourite) and nankhatais (Rs 200/kg). The bakery is housed elsewhere, but this pop-up is easy to find.
E. F. Kolah Pickles: Every store in Udwada stocks sweet and savory pickles from this age-old brand. Gor-keri (jaggery-mango) is our favourite (Rs 100/400 gm).
Home-made masala: Every shop outside Iranshah stocks Parsi masalas. But a gentleman in a neat salt-and-pepper braid, hawking masalas out of his car, just beside the Hormuz Bakery cart, is the guy to sniff out. You can choose from dhansak powder, parsi curry (Rs 160/200 gm) and vindaloo masala. He also stocks vinegar and sukka boomla no patio (pickled dried Bombay duck).
Peppermint and papads: Women from around the seaside town gather in its alleys with baskets stacked with fresh peppermint, thin-as-air papads (Rs 80/packet), sarias (sago wafers bets eaten with laga nu achar at weddings), fresh garlic (toss some in your scrambled egg) and limes larger than you find in Mumbai.
By Roxanne Bamboat
ePaper, Mumbai Mirror | Sunday, Mar 15, 2015, Page 26:
This chutney may be used on Patra ni Maachi, Salmon Baked Fish, Sandwiches, Potato Pattice and as a condiment.
4 tbsp desiccated coconut
1 cup cream of coconut
2 small bunches Coriander
4 green Chilies
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp Salt
I lime, juice of
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 cloves Garlic roasted
1/4 black pepper
3 chopped green chillies
1 tsp vinegar (white)
Grind all the above ingredients either in a chopper or blender with enough water, to make a smooth paste.
Taste to your liking adding more sugar and/or lemon juice, add salt to your taste.
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Dotivala The ‘Batasas’ Family of Surat UpperCrust visits Dotivala, Surat’s oldest bakery, which is known all over India for its Batasas, Nankhatais and Khari biscuits.
WHATEVER you do in Surat, you cannot come away without buying Nankhatai, Batasas and Khari biscuits from the old Dotivala bakery there. It is located on Ardeshir Kotwal Road, Nanpura, but is known all over Surat simply as “Dotivala”. Ask a taxi or auto driver to take you to Dotivala, and he knows what you mean. The bakery, say its proud owners, the Dotivala family of Surat, has been in existence since the start of the Dutch reign there, it is that old. “There is no proof of the years, but it was started sometime in the late 1700, on Dutch Road, before coming to its current address in Nanpura at least a 100 years ago,” says Cyrus Dotivala, son of the present generation proprietor Jamshed.The story goes that Surat, which was full of Dutch colonies, lacked a bakery for bread, because bread was not a food of India. The Dutch quickly set up a bakery and employed five Parsis to run it. When the Dutch left India, they handed over the bakery with its ovens to one Faramji Pestonji Dotivala, who continued to supply bread to the remaining colonials in Surat. When these gora sahibs also left, there were no takers for Dotivala’s bread. And the bread, which was fermented in toddy for a longer shelf life, soon became dry due to loss of moisture. Dotivala sold it cheaply to the poor.That was when it was first noticed that the bread had developed a light and crisp texture. And because it was low in calorie content, and easily digestible, it was prescribed by doctors to ailing patients. The demand for Dotivala’s bread grew and soon he took to drying it in his ovens to achieve the desired dryness and texture. He also shaped it differently. This became known as the first Irani biscuits. They are still very popular in Surat. And when the ailing patients recovered, doctors then advised them to regain their strength by eating biscuits that had high fat content! So Dotivala created the famous Farmasu, the Surti Batasa or butter biscuits, with excess shortening. And in another brilliant experiment, he took a sweet dal that the Surtis used to make and baked it to create the Nankhatai!The Dotivala bakery has grown and expanded in baking and confectionery in a big way since then. It now does everything from bread to cake, but is especially known for the Batasas, Nankhatais and Kharis. And the bread, of course. “We do pav, bun, rolls, pizza bases, no bruns, there is no demand here for bruns, here the emphasis is on softness and texture,” says Cyrus. “Our buyers include the 3,000-odd Parsis living in Surat, the restaurants, fast food joints, even pav bhaji stalls which make vegetarian pizzas and burgers.” And Dotivala bakes a variety of Kharis, including the common Khari Puff, and flavoured ones like Cheese Khari, Methi Khari, Masala Khari. “It is a puff biscuit, but because it is made in layers, the Surtis call it Parvali biscuit,” says Cyrus.Likewise, the Surtis have their own name for the Batasas. Because these are high in butter content, they call them Makhanias! “The flour for all our products is of the highest quality,” says Cyrus. “We get it from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. Gujarat flour is a little weak. Our vegetable shortening we get from Bombay, from Hindustan Lever. And our products are sold all over Bombay, especially where Parsi colonies are located, and at Merwans outside Grant Road Station. We try to sell all our products as fresh as possible. The bakery opens at 8.30 a.m. But the baking begins at 6. We start with the bread. It is not sold in the early morning like at the bakeries in Bombay. The ladhi pav is available here by 11. And subsequently, all the other products.”
Although Dotivala is a family name in the baking business in Surat, theirs is not a monopoly. Other bakeries have come up, some Parsi-owned, and they have tried to take the Dotivala’s Bihar bakers away by offering them higher incentives. But being pioneers in the business, and having survived in Surat itself for over two centuries and six generations due to the emphasis on high production standards and excellent quality, Dotivala is still the most popular and trusted name among bakers and confectioners in the city. There have been changes in its products as well. Toddy, which is alcoholic in nature, was lost to the bakery when prohibition was introduced in Gujarat, and now Dotivala uses a fermenting agent made of hops and potatoes. And when margarine went out, pure ghee had to be used as a substitute. But for all that, the bakery maintained its tastes and standards. “Once you eat a Dotivala Batasa, you will always remember what it tastes like, and we will give you the same Batasa even if you come five years later,” says Cyrus Dotivala.
Ancient cooking book “Vividh Vani” by Meherbai Jamshedji Wadia (as is from original volumes in Gujarati)
First published at the turn of the 20th century, this mammoth book of two parts totaling 1500 pages carries over 2000 recipes, ranging from traditional Parsi to continental and Indian cuisines. Written in an era where all cooking was done on wood stoves and without fancy gadgets, no running water and no refrigeration, Vividh Vani offers us an in-depth look at the hard life of the traditional Parsi lady of those times.
I have put out a guide to OLD measures and weights used in the old cookbook Vividh Vani. (Tipri, Ratal, Maund, Seer/Sehr, Navtak and Tola). Do write back if you have used the cookbook and let us know how the dish comes out.
Old weights converted to 21st century measures.
TIPRI is 1 Cup approx.
RATAL is 500 grams
In 1956, For metric conversion, Government of India defined the Seer as follows:
One Seer = 0.93310 kilogram exact
The UN (1966) set One Seer = 2.057 pounds on average. This is approximately 2 pounds and One ounce