4th of July Indian Menu with an American Twist

Chatthi Na lekh

May the angels of destiny visit and bless baby.

In parsis a ancient “Chhathi na lekh” ritual is performed on the sixth day after a baby’s birth.

In parsi community, the belief is that on the 6th day after the birth of the child, the angels of destiny quietly enter the house around midnight to pen the destiny of the newborn.

Traditionally, on the eve of the sixth day after the birth, the mother of the newborn lights a divo. The divo along with a red pen and paper are placed on a flat surface, for the angels to write the future of the newborn. Place a photo of Zarathustra, a Fravahar and an religious idol that holds meaning for your family.

In addition, you can take some Red kumkum (what we use for tili) powder and soak it with water. Next press the baby’s foot in the red water solution. Next press the baby’s foot on the piece of paper and catch the baby’s foot imprint on a blank paper. You can do for both feet. These little footprints are to guide the angels to where the baby is. Later it becomes a keepsake.

The mother holds the baby in her lap, making sure the babys head is held well and does not roll. At this stage of just 6 days, the head has to be held firmly.

Next, mother and father say a small prayer while placing their hands on the baby’s head. Three Yatha Ahu Vairyio and an three Ashem Vohu prayers.

Ceremony is over. May the angel of destiny visit (Chatthi mai) and bless baby.

The gujarati word “Chatthi” literally means “sixth”. “Lekh” means “written word”. Chatthi mai is the angel of destiny.

In Gujarati Hindu it is an actual pooja ceremony.

Comments & from Facebook Worldwide Zoroastrians Group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/worldwidezoroastrians (for the protection of the individuals names are not included, if you want your name with the comment please contact us):

1. Yes for us our mum had done n I have done for our two daughters. my mother did it in Calcutta for us. Actually my sasu said to keep the clothes. Peravi ni devana. N those handkerchiefs are used as Goodluck.

2. I did it for both my children.. and, we finalize the child’s name and the mom whispers it in his/her ear when we do this divo for the chhatti na lekh ceremony…

3. Never heard of it…. is it a Hindu ritual?
Answer Arbez, it is rooted in hindu customs. Living in India with Hindus, for 700 years and more, we parsis adopted many rituals and even sanskrit in weddings.

yes all the gujjus n Jains do the chatthi ceremony !Theres a red pen placed on a blank paper ,a divo , flowers chokha and kanku is placed to on the paper and kept overnight.

my mum has mentioned this and I believe I have seen a piece of paper somewhere in my house which was the “chatti ni lekh” for either my brother or sister. I’ve definitely heard of this.

4. N then we officially named the children

5. Yes the tradition continues in our flys
Thank u for sharing

6.We have been doing it always for all new born babies in the family since generations!!

7. My mom did for both my kids…she had also kept new set of clothes with socks n topi..

8. Mine was done. I still have the red pen

9. Yep we all had this including my daughter

10. Yeah. My mum and mum-in-law did it for both my kids

11. Never heard of it. But loved reading about it. Definitely sounds borrowed from Hindu culture. We’re moving further and further away from all such rituals as the modern world gives us no time. I mean on Day 6 it’s all about managing the stitches, coaxing out the milk, burping and pooing, dealing with visitors and never sleeping.

12. Yes yes…. Done for both my daughter’s

13. My Mom did it for both our daughters!

14. Yes my mom did it for me and I for my son. My mom in law had also performed the ceremony for her children and grandchildren. Actually its the Mamaiji who does the rituals. The paper and clothes are to be carefully preserved and never discarded.

15. Yes granny did this for everybody.. However it is totally a hindu ritual to be honest, but totally ok.. Divinity is one, nothing wrong in creating good vibrations and spiritual blessings with our Avesta mantra too..

16. Yes, for both my kids. And practiced this for generations in our family


18. My fui did it for both my boys ❤️

19. My grandmother did it for me and my sister. Even have my chhati nu kapru still.

20. Since ages we are doing this. I still have that special pen with me. My mom did for both my children

21. Yes my mom had dobe for both my sons. I still have that paper and pencil

22. Yes my parents did it for me and my bro and my children. I too got an opportunity to do for my three grandchildren.

23. I did it for my granddaughter. I wrote down all good wishes for the baby and her parents and then my husband and I read them out. Took a new dress, bonnet and a silver rattle and put all that and the good wishes list in a plastic bag and told my daughter to put it away safely. As per my MIL, if there is a court case then this bag should be taken for good luck.

24. Me too….did for all three grandchildren of mine 🥰 and yes my daughters too

25. I have done it for my nephew’s child.

26. Angel of destiny…. Vidhatamata
We also. Put a white plain paer, a kitto, a new red colour cloth or a frock or a shirt along with kankoo, chokha ne divo

27. Never done it.

28. Yes still followed. My sasu did this in addition to all stated above she kept a set of red colored clothes. A full set with socks cap n booties

29. Also a set of handkerchiefs. And also its on this sixth day that the baby’s fui names them. With a small poem
Sry if I m wrong with the words
Aan paan peepal pan
Fui e paryu _____ naam.
In place of the dash the name is said

30. Sasu did for my 2 boys n I did for my 2 grand kids

31. Yes it is followed in all parsee homes. My grand mother and mother would perform this ritual, but with a difference. The mother and child should not even cast their shadow on the diva and the paper and pen, as the mother has to be away as she not as yet completed 40 days after child birth. When we summon the Angel’s who are pure celestial beings then nothing should cross their path which will hinder the way of the angel. Also no Male is supposed to enter the room where the ritual is being done. We call it Chhathi mai na lekh.
The mother can say her prayers privately wishing well for the child. The ritual must be performed after dark.
This is how the ritual is performed as was being done is olden times, but we bring in changes to suit our convenience.
To each their own.
May all babies be blessed with all good things and their destinies bring them loads of happiness and good luck always.

you are spot on. The ritual is usually done by the child’s grandmother.

32. Yes, we have been doing it in our family for generations. Both sets of grandparents did it for our first grandson.

33. Yes, we have been doing it in our family for generations. Both sets of grandparents did it for our first grandson. After my dad passed I found our chatthi clothes in his cupboard…

34. Yes, we did with our first born in 1971. Big believer!🙏

35. Nice article, but how can the mother do the divo, as she has her periods. Neither can she or her husband pray.
This ceremony is done by the paternal grandmother.
She does everything mentioned in the article.

my dad did it.

36. Yes my mother did it for me and then she did it for my daughter. And after the ceremony officially whispered her name into her ears.

37. Yes I have done it for my brother and sister kids

38. Yes ceremony is performed by the child’s mamai or bapai not mother (as mentioned in the article)as she cant light divo and pray for 40 days..

39. It is so beautiful😇I am a Parsi married to a Hindu and we had very similar rites for our son on the 6th day. We too placed the symbolic red pen for the angels to write his destiny. A diya is lit, paper and pen are placed on a sandli (patlo) and the child is bestowed with his given name which the grand father whispers in the baby’s ears. A ceremony is performed with the mother holding the baby and the child’s footprint is marked out with kumkum.

40. Yes we did chatti ceremony for our kids but an elderly member performs the rituals as mother has to be away from holy rituals and prayers for 40 days.on that day no nonveg cooking is done in house.
A red pen, red ink n new red colour clothes are also placed and prayers are done
Generally we name the baby on that day.

41. Yes I did for my grandchild just 2 months back.

More to come!

Please comment here and let us know your family stories, folklore. Comments are always welcome and we learn together.

Audh - forgotten but now remembered

Audh – forgotten but now remembered

Audh Parsi Audh 

Audh is a better mood elevator than a bar of chocolate! The primary ingredient in this is rice flour and coconut milk.

It is one Parsi  dessert which is forgotten but now remembered. Just made it again today for Father’s Day

Do you remember this? 

Hint: Audh is served as Dessert.


  • 1 1/4 cups fine rice flour
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 225 grams ghee
  • 2 cups coconut milk extracted from 1 large coconut
  • 3 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups rosewater
  • 1 tbsp almonds, blanched and slivered
  • 1 tbsp peeled cardamom, coarsely crushed
  • A pinch of salt


  1. Boil water, add rice flour and sugar gradually, stirring continuously.
  2. Add one-third of the ghee to flour mixture, keep on medium heat and stir till absorbed.
  3. Add coconut milk, salt, rosewater and ghee alternately till all are absorbed.
  4. Keep stirring and cooking till mixture forms a ball and leaves sides of pan.
  5. Sprinkle half the almonds on a greased tray and spread mixture over it.
  6. Smooth out with a greased wooden spoon or greased hand and cover with cardamoms and remaining almonds.
  7. Press into mixture.
  8. Cool, cut into diamond shapes and serve.


Parsi Mawa Cupcakes

Parsi Mawa Cake

Parsi Mawa Cupcakes by Rita Jamshed Kapadia www.ParsiCuisine.com

Mawa is also known as Khoya, Mava or khoa This is a dried evaporated milk solid. The milk is slowly simmered in a large iron kadai, till all its moisture evaporates and it reduces to solids. In Indian cooking, especially in northern parts of india, khoya forms a base of almost all sweets, mithai.

• 100 grams Mava (Aka Ricotta Cheese or Khoya)
• 200 grams Butter
• 250 grams Sugar
• 4 Eggs beaten
• 300 grams Refined flour (maida)
• Baking powder 5 grams
• Milk as required


Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line the cupcake moulds with paper cups.

In a bowl, add sugar and butter and beat together till light and creamy.

Break the eggs into another bowl and whisk with an electric blender till frothy.

Add Mava to the butter mixture and continue to whisk.

Put refined flour and baking powder into a strainer and sift the mixture into the butter mixture.

Add the eggs and mix. Add a little milk to get the correct consistency.

Put the batter into the cupcake moulds and place them in the preheated oven and bake at 200°C for twenty five minutes.

New Videos on how to make Parsi Mawa Cupcakes. Part 1 and 2. https://youtu.be/_Alj034uyb4 and https://youtu.be/1bXnFvVjQF8

Keki Pirojshah Illava of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada who is celebrating his 100th birthday on June 7 epitomizes the Parsi approach of “khaaavo, piyo ne majah karo (eat, drink and be merry),” notes a brief write-up by Meher Panthaky, erstwhile director of the Ontario Zoroastrian Community Foundation. He eats his favorite British breakfast of eggs and bacon every day and loves his Parsi bhonu of marghi and gosh, dismissing any vegetarian dish as “Ai su ghas phoos? Bota kah chhe (What is this fodder? Where is the meat)?” Come October and he will ask “khariya (trotters)?” He enjoys his tipple of “Old Monk” rum and champagne, with mango ice cream being his favorite dessert. Lovingly addressed as “Keki Pappa” by family and friends, with his strong will power, at the age of 98 he made the arduous journey to Bombay to attend grandson Nekzad’s maratab ceremony. Undeterred by a weak back, he insists on being independent and refuses to use a walker. Before relocating to Canada in 2002 to be in the company of his son Aspi and family, Keki was in London, UK, working at the Heathrow airport for over 37 years. The Bombay born centenarian spends his retirement years “reading all available newspapers (ask him anything on current affairs), solving crossword puzzles and watching wrestling” bouts on television with a gleam in his eyes, reports Panthaky. He loves English poems and couplets and when in the mood will very sweetly recite some beautiful verses.

Celebration for the centenarian

Keki Pirojshah Illava of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada who is celebrating his 100th birthday on June 7 epitomizes the Parsi approach of “khaaavo, piyo ne majah karo (eat, drink and be merry),” notes a brief write-up by Meher Panthaky, erstwhile director of the Ontario Zoroastrian Community Foundation. He eats his favorite British breakfast of eggs and bacon every day and loves his Parsi bhonu of marghi and gosh, dismissing any vegetarian dish as “Ai su ghas phoos? Bota kah chhe (What is this fodder? Where is the meat)?” Come October and he will ask “khariya (trotters)?” He enjoys his tipple of “Old Monk” rum and champagne, with mango ice cream being his favorite dessert.

Lovingly addressed as “Keki Pappa” by family and friends, with his strong will power, at the age of 98 he made the arduous journey to Bombay to attend grandson Nekzad’s maratab ceremony. Undeterred by a weak back, he insists on being independent and refuses to use a walker.

Before relocating to Canada in 2002 to be in the company of his son Aspi and family, Keki was in London, UK, working at the Heathrow airport for over 37 years. The Bombay born centenarian spends his retirement years “reading all available newspapers (ask him anything on current affairs), solving crossword puzzles and watching wrestling” bouts on television with a gleam in his eyes, reports Panthaky. He loves English poems and couplets and when in the mood will very sweetly recite some beautiful verses.

Parsi Kumas

Recipe by Rita Jamshed Kapadia

Makes 24 pieces


  • 6 oz salted butter (melted)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated blanched Almonds for cake mix
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1 cup rava (fine grain semolina)
  • 1/2 cup cake flour or baking plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cup yogurt (Measure the yogurt and keep in glass container at room temperature covered, the day ahead.)
  • 5 -7 strands of Saffron (see video for use of saffron)
  • 1/4 cup grated blanched Almonds for Garnish


  1. On the day of baking Grind 1/2 tsp saffron and add to yogurt. Keep aside this is your wet mix.
  2. Prepare a 13 by 9 inch glass tray by applying melted butter and sprinkling flour.
  3. Sift and combine the flours in a large bowl.
  4. Add to the flour mix, 1/4 cup of almonds, baking powder, salt, cardamon and nutmeg. Keep aside this is your dry mix.
  5. In a mixer, cream the sugar and eggs. Add eggs one by one.
  6. Alternate and add the dry mix and wet yogurt saffron mix a small portion at a time (see video). Blend well.
  7. Pour out in the baking tray.
  8. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Put tray in oven for 5 minutes till dough is hot. Now add all of the melted butter to the bubbly kumas, mix well and stir with a spatula till all the butter is absorbed. This is essential to a fluffy and moist kumas cake! 
  9. If desired sprinkle 1/4 cup of chopped almonds on top.
  10. Bake 350 degrees for 40 minutes in a pre-heated oven. Now and then check with inserting a toothpick or a blunt knife, to make sure kumas cake is baked. If the knife comes out clean without sticky dough, know the kumas is done.
Parsi Kumas

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s day!

To all our Mothers who cook to make the happy foods! Memories and Love ever lasting – Happy Mother’s Day!

Khaman Na Ladwa

Khaman na ladoo

Guess this Ladoo Name. HINT: It is used for a Parsi Ceremony and made of Coconut :-) Give up? Click on recipe HERE
Guess this Ladoo Name. HINT: It is used for a Parsi Ceremony and made of Coconut 🙂 Give up? Click on recipe HERE

Guess this Ladoo Name. 

HINT: It is used for a Parsi Ceremony and made of Coconut 🙂 

Khaman na ladoo

These are made for a baby’s “pag ladoo ceremony“. This is when a baby starts walking and standing on his/her own feet.


1/2 Cup Rice flour
2 tbsp All purpose flour
2 tbsp butter
3/4 cup water

Ingredients for Stuffing
1 cup freshly grated coconut
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp almond flakes
3 tbsp raisins

Let us first make the stuffing, take sugar, milk, coconut, almonds and raisins in a deep dish, let it cook in a simmer flame, until the liquid is completely absorbed. Take it off the flame, let it cool.

In another sauce pan take water and let it boil, when it starts boiling, reduce the flame, add rice flour and all purpose flour to this and mix well with a spoon. The flour will absorb the water and it would look clumpy. Take it off the flame, when it touchable hot, add butter to the flour mix and knead well to a smooth dough.

Now divide the dough into 10-12 equal balls. Work with one ball at a time, keeping the rest covered. Grease your palm with butter/oil/ghee, knead the dough ball well. Make flat patty out of it, keep a 1 or 2 tbsp of filling inside it and cover it with dough to make a ball shape.
Repeat the same with rest of the dough.

Once all the dough balls are shaped. Take a colander, lay it with a muslin cloth, place the made balls/ladoos in the cloth, cover it with a lid or foil. Place it in a steamer and steam cook for about 10-12 minutes.

Allow to cool.and place it for the pag ladoo ceremony.

Salli Boti

Salli Boti

Red hot mutton cooked to perfection amid sizzling hot spices, crowned with beautiful golden potato shreds. (Salli)

by Rita Jamshed Kapadia


4-5 Tbsp of oil

1 bowl of chopped onions

2 Tbsp ginger garlic paste

300 gm of boneless mutton or chicken

1 tsp red chilli powder

1/2 tsp of turmeric powder

1 1/2 tsp roasted coriander

1 1/2 cumin powder

1 bowl of chopped tomatoes

1/2 tsp sugar (optional)

2 tsp vinegar


1 tsp garam masala

3 tsp chopped coriander

1 bowl of Sali/fine potato shreds

Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a pan and add onions to it.

Fry till turn golden brown

Add ginger-garlic paste, mutton, red chilli powder and turmeric powder.

Mix well.

Now mix in the the roasted coriander powder, cumin powder followed by tomatoes, stir again.

Add a little sugar and vinegar to taste.

Add garam masala and salt, mix well.

Reduce the flame and cover till cooked for about 30 to 40 minutes.

Add chopped coriander and give it a final stir.

Garnish it with more coriander leaves and top it up with lots of Sali.

Salli Boti
Salli Boti
Potato Matchsticks / Salli from scratch The Indian Parsi community calls “Potato Matchsticks” – “Potato Sali”. Sali is a Gujarati word meaning “straw” or “sticks”. Enjoyed best when fresh with salt and pepper. Bon Appetite! Step 1: Peel and wash Potatoes: Step 2: Shred potatoes into thin strings: Step 3: Salt Shredded Potatoes : Step 4: In a electric fryer or a large pot, heat oil for frying. I prefer the electric deep fryer, so the temperature of the oil stays even. Choose the max and lower if needed : Step 6: Prepare Potato Matchsticks for straining, use a large straining spoon with holes : Step 7: Strain fried potato matchsticks on paper towels (to absorb extra oil). Immediately sprinkle salt on. This keeps the Potato Matchsticks crispy. Cool and store in airtight container. (In my house they get eaten away very fast for a snack! Potato Matchsticks will stay for 15 days) Enjoyed best when fresh with salt and pepper. Suggestion: Serve these potato matchsticks as a garnish with chicken & gravy Cooking tips for making better Deep Fried Potato Sticks/Parsi Sali Keep the potato sticks grated and kept in extra salted water till all the potatoes are grated and then rinse it out , squeeze water out and fried handful at a time. I soak them in salted water and I do not sprinkle any salt after deep frying the potato sticks. Fry the potato sticks nice and crispy. Add these crispy fried potato sticks/sali only at the last moment (while plating) on top of your dish.
Cookbook: Manna of the 21st Century
Purchase Cookbook: Manna of the 21st Century by Rita Jamshed Kapadia

Purchase Cookbook: Manna of the 21st Century by Rita Jamshed Kapadia

Mubarak to all Mazdayasni Worshippers - Parsee Zorastrians around the world Adar roz and Adar Mah is a very auspicious day for fires. We may even consider this day as the birthday of fires. The day prior to this (roj Daepadar i.e. yesterday 20.04.2020 )is regarded as the birthday of all hearths and hearth fires, and that is why many Parsi homes decorate their cooking places with vermillion and turmeric paste and draw the Afarganyu, chipyo and chamach over there. On the auspicious day Adar mahino adar roj several sacred fires were consecrated. The most important fire for all us Zoroastrians – the sacred Iranshah - also celebrates its birthday on this auspicious day. May we always make ourselves worthy to aspire for the blessings and protection from our sacred Iranshah.

Birthday of Fire

Photo Credit: Jasmine Baria

Mubarak to all Mazdayasni Worshippers – Parsee (Parsi) Zorastrians around the world

Adar roz and Adar Mah is a very auspicious day for fires. We may even consider this day as the birthday of fires.

The day prior to this roj Daepadar is regarded as the birthday of all hearths and hearth fires, and that is why many Parsi homes decorate their cooking places with vermillion and turmeric paste and draw the Afarganyu, chipyo and chamach over there.

On the auspicious day Adar mahino Adar roj several sacred fires were consecrated. The most important fire for all us Zoroastrians – the sacred Iranshah – also celebrates its birthday on this auspicious day.

May we always make ourselves worthy to aspire for the blessings and protection from our sacred Iranshah.

Cookbook: Celebrations: Celebrating Zoroastrian Festivals and Traditions (ParsiCuisine)

Wedding Ceremonies

Ceremonies prior to the marriage

 Rupiya Peravanu

Rupiya Peravanu literally means gifting rupees in Gujarati language. This ceremony marks the unofficial engagement when both the families acknowledge the acceptance of the marriage alliance. On this day, ladies from the groom’s family pay a visit to the bride’s house. The bride is presented with a gift of silver coins with the usual sagan.

Refreshments are served and the grooms family return home. The bride’s family now adds more silver coins to those presented and go to the groom’s home, where this ceremony is repeated. Presents of silver coins are prepared by the ladies of both the bride and bridegroom’s families in the homes of the marrying parties, each group going to the other’s home. This betrothal is often performed quickly after a marriage is arranged.

Adrâvvûn  or Adravanu (Engagement)also known by the older name of Nâm pâdvûn.

The adravanu or the engagement is the time when the groom’s family gives the bride a new set of clothes, accessories and jewelry. Generally, this ceremony is performed at the bride’s family home, though the ceremony can also be performed at the groom’s family home.

The doorways of both the homes are decorated with flowers and chalk designs (colorful rangoli).The relevance of adravanu is fire (“adra” synonym fire). The theme is reflected by lighting a divo and the red color of the sari worn by the bride and red bangles gifted to the bride by the groom’s family.

Two lamps are lit, one in each of the homes of the marrying parties. Once again the ladies travel to the home of the other party and place a silver coin upon the lamp. It is at this occasion that formal gifts are exchanged. This includes the exchange of wedding rings.

 Madasoro / Madavsaro

The Madavsaro ceremony is done four days before the wedding. The families of the bride and the groom each plant a young tree in a pot, amidst recitation of prayers by the family priest and place this at the entrance of their individual homes. This is generally a mango plant and is treated as a symbol of fertility. The soil in which the tree is planted is mixed with flakes of three types of metals (usually gold, silver etc), paan (betel leaf), supari (betel nut), haldi (turmeric) and dry dates. The plant is watered every morning till the eighth day after the wedding and then transplanted elsewhere. Varadhvara are made fresh and served to the guests.


The Adarni ceremony is performed a day before the lagan (wedding). The third day before the wedding is regarded as the day for gift exchanging. On this day the groom’s family visits the bride’s home to present her with all the gifts like clothes and jewelry. The ritual is known as Adarni. The bride herself may also go over to the groom’s home for this tradition but the groom cannot do the same. The relatives, neighbors and friends are treated to a traditional meal of sev and yogurt / mitthu dahi, boiled eggs and bananas.

Later, on the same day the supra ni reet & pithi chorvanu can take place.

 Supra ni reet

The Supra ni reet is similar to the Hindu mehndi-haldi ceremony and is organized a day before the wedding. Carrying out the tradition, four married women are given a supra each, containing auspicious items like paan, supari, haldi, dates and a piece of coconut. While singing ritual songs, these supras are exchanged seven times among the women cross-wise, length-wise and breadth-wise. A fifth lady sits in the middle with khalbatto and dry turmeric. After the four women finish passing the supras, all five join hands to beat the turmeric along with some milk in the pestle and this paste is applied by all to the groom and bride at their respective homes.

The Marriage Day


Before the marriage ceremony, the bride and groom go through the Nahan ritual. This is done for the purification of the body and soul wherein the dastoor of each family symbolically bathes and purifies the man and the woman by reciting prayers & making each of them drink the “taro” and eat a few pomegranate leaves. The tradition goes that after the Nahan ritual has been performed the bride and groom cannot touch any person outside the family or caste. The bride then dresses in her white ornate wedding saree given by her parents, while the groom wears the traditional Parsi dagli and pheta or pagri (black cap).

Parsi groom’s traditional attire

Auspicious days, such as new moon day or Hormazd, the first day of the Parsee month, are generally favoured for the wedding ceremony, coming on the fourth day of festivities. The first day of these is known as mândav-saro, when a twig of a tree, generally a mango-tree, is planted near the door, symbolic of a wish for fertility. This is followed by two Varadh-patra days when religious ceremonies in honour of the dead are performed.

With the marriage ceremony occurring in the evening of the fourth day the bride and bridegroom will have prior taken baths, known as nân. The marriage must be performed in front of an assembly of witnesses, the Parsi Marriage and divorce Act requires at least two witnesses as well as the priest.

The ceremonial dress of the Parsees is the Jâmâ-pichhoir of which the bride wears a white variety, with the bridegroom sporting the mark of a Kunkun on his forehead.

A few hours before the ceremony a procession forms carrying gifts to the bridegroom’s house, usually accompanied by music. It then turns to the house of the bride where, typically, the marriage occurs. The assembly, once seated, awaits the arrival of the groom who is greeted at the door by the mother of the bride. Here a fresh Kunkun mark is placed upon his head.

During the ceremony rice is often used as a good luck symbol, with the bride and groom sprinkling each other with cupfuls of rice. So as to remove any evil destined for the groom an egg is passed round his head three times then thrown to the ground and broken, destroying the evil with it. A similar ritual is then performed with a coconut, and then with a small tray of water which is thrown to the ground.

At a point during the evening the groom will dip his hand into a water-pot (var-behendoo) which was part of the dowry. Into this pot he drops a silver coin, as a mark of appreciation for the gift.

When the bride and groom take their seats the groom sits to the right of the bride and they both face east. Rice is placed on trays either side of the couple to be thrown while they recite their benedictions. Candles, fire being an important symbol in the Zoroastrian faith, are placed either side also. The couple is flanked by a pair of witnesses, usually married relations. A curtain of cloth separates the couple.

Two priests officiate. The couple is asked by the priests whether they consent to the marriage. He then joins their hands, a custom known as Hâthevârô, “hand-fastening”. The senior priest places the right hands of the couple into each other. Then a piece of cloth is passed round the chairs of both and tied together enclosing them in a circle. The priest then fastens, seven times, with raw twist their right hands which are grasped by each other. The prayer of Yatha Ahu Vairyo is recited throughout.

The curtain is then dropped and the couple throws rice over each other, the first to do so is said to “win”.

The senior priest then blesses the couple by saying:

May the Creator, the omniscient Lord, grant you a progeny of sons and grandsons, plenty of means to provide yourselves, heart-ravishing friendship, bodily strength, long life and an existence of 150 years!

Various questions are then asked to the bride, groom and witnesses. Once they have replied, affirming that they have entered into this with righteous mind the priest will recite admonitions and benedictions. Then the couple symbolically eat from the same dish, a rite known as Dahi-Koomro. At the close of the ceremony, as well as at several junctures prior, nuptial songs may be sung.

A wedding feast then occurs at which toasts are made to, God, the couple, the sacred fire temples, the guests and the host. Fish, a symbol of good luck, is served.

Like any other marriages all over the world, the wedding rituals and customs of our Parsi community are also spread over a couple of days. In Parsi wedding, the wedding celebrations are divided into three parts- pre wedding rituals, wedding day rituals and post wedding rituals. As marriage is encouraged as a religious ritual in our Parsi religion, we consider marriage to be an occasion of social as well as religious celebrations.


At the wedding venue, a stage is set for the couple and before they step on it a ritual called achumichu is performed with the groom first. Herein, the bride’s mother takes a tray with a raw egg, supari, rice, coconut, kharekh and water and begins the ceremony with her son-in-law to be. First, she takes the coconut and circles it around the groom’s head seven times before breaking it on the floor to his right. The same is done with every other item on the tray, except the water, which is thrown on either side. The bride then steps onto the stage for her future mother-in-law to perform the same ritual.

 Ara Antar

During the Ara Antar ceremony the couple is made to sit facing each other. However, a cloth is held between them, so they cannot see the other. Then, each of them is given rice. With a length of thread, the priests circle the couple on opposite sides of the curtain seven times and as the seventh round ends, the couple showers each other with the rice from over the curtain. It is believed that whoever throws the rice first will dominate the other partner!

 Chero Bandhvanu

At this point a ceremony called Chero Bandhvanu takes place. The couple sits besides each other with the seven strands of string binding them. The witnesses sit besides them and diyos or lighted lamps are placed on tables on either side. Priests begins an hour-long marriage prayers or aashirwaad and showering of rice and rose petals ceremony. At the end of the prayers the bride and groom exchange wedding rings. The priests now wish the couple the var and bairi. Fire from the agiary is brought to them to pay their respects.

 Haath Borvanu

Fun-filled ceremonies take place on the completion of the lagan. Groom’s sister-in-law begins extracting money from her new brother-in-law first haath borvanu. She makes the groom put his hand into a glass of water, which he cannot remove until he pays up. This if followed by pag dhovanu wherein the groom is threatened with milk on his shoes unless of course, he pays. Later, chero chorvanu ceremony takes place. Herein, the sister-in-law removes the seven strands of string binding the couple, again on payment. At the end of it all the newly wed couple pays a visit to the fire temple for blessings.

Parsi weddings are well known for their enormous catered feasts. Everyone enjoys as food, drink and music flows freely throughout the night. The traditional dinner is a lavish four-course (or more) meal.

The wedding day finally ends with the couple being escorted home by the bride’s family and the achumichu being performed once again by the groom’s mother for the newly wed couple in togetherness.

Cookbook: Celebrations: Celebrating Zoroastrian Festivals and Traditions (ParsiCuisine)
Cookbook / EBook
Celebrations: Celebrating Zoroastrian Festivals and Traditions (ParsiCuisine Cookbook)

Easter Honey Cake

Honey Cakes

Honey Cake

1 1/2 cup Plain flour

1/2 cup Butter

1/4th cup Oil

3/4 cup Sugar powder

1 1/2 tsp Baking powder

1/4 tsp Salt

1/4 cup Milk

1 1/2 tb sp. Vanilla essence

3 Eggs

For Honey syrup
1/4 cup of water
4tb sp.of honey
2 tsp. of rose water
Mix together to make the syrup

For topping
4 tsp mixed fruit jam mixed in 1 tbsp of water and warmed in microwave for 30 seconds.
4 tbsp desiccated coconut.

Sieve together flour, salt and baking powder 2 times.
Cream the butter and oil for few minute.
Add sugar powder and beat
Add eggs one by one and beat.
Add vanilla essence and milk and beat a little.
Add dry ingredients slowly and mix with the help of spatula.
Bake in a rectangular baking dish at 350 F for 35 min.
TEST: Check with knife/toothpick to see if it is done (knife/toothpick comes out clean if done)

Remove the cake, and place on a wire rack and when its still warm.

Prick the back side of the cake with skewer and slowly drizzle the honey mixture on top. It will absorbed by the warm cake.
Cool completely. Flip it and on the top side of the cake spread the mixed fruit jam mixture. Sprinkle the desiccated coconut on it.

Your co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com and Angie@Fiesta Friday.net

A selection of recipes from a bygone era when food was cooked over wood stoves.

Parsiana August 7, 2016 – A selection of recipes from a bygone era when food was cooked over wood stoves. By Farrokh Jijina.

Pickled Lady’s Fingers, Daal Madrasi and Coffee Jelly.

Parsiana August 7, 2016 - A selection of recipes from a bygone era when food was cooked over wood stoves. By Farrokh Jijina.

RE-Print of Original Gujarati Volumes available as a paperbacks in new glossy paper. Printed in USA. Click below to purchase:

Vividh Vani by Meherbai Jamshedji Wadia RE-PRINT
Article – http://www.parsicuisine.com/reprinting-culinary-heritage/

Check out ENGLISH Translations done by Rita Kapadia HERE.

Cookbook Series: Dhansak

Indian Cooking Class: Dhansak

Indian Cooking Class 1

PARSI CUISINE: Meat Parsi Cuisine This cookbook has 34 Meat (non-veg) Recipes with instructions. Cookbook is fully indexed for recipes and with Table of Contents. Recipes 1. Doodhi ma Gosht 2. Jardaloo ma Gosht 3. French Beans ma Gosht 4. Khariya / Goat Trotters 5. Chicken Mahivalla / Chicken in Cream 6. Khari Murghi – Salty Chicken 7. Sali ma Marghi or Boti 8. How to make Sali / Potato Matchsticks 9. Britannia Chicken or Sali Boti 10. Jamshed’s Kheemo 11. Chicken / Mutton Cutlets 12. Tomato Gravy 13. Dhansak 14. Brown Rice 15. Kachumbar 16. Dhansak Masala Powder 17. Papri ma Kavab 18. Ambakalio 19. Kebabs 20. Chicken Curry 21. Banana Cutlets 22. Essentials of a Parsi Kitchen 23. Chaspaila Sakerkand Ma Murghi 24. Nizami Chicken 25. Chicken / Mutton Dum Biryani 26. Jamshed’s Parsi Kheemo 27. Mutton Biryani 28. Tambota ma Kheemo Potato 29. Khurchan 30. Grilled Chicken Sizzlers 31. Kid Gosht 32. Madras Chicken Curry 33. Jungli Shikar 34. Gahambar nu Papeta ma Gosht

Recipes used in the Indian Cooking Class

Vegetarian Dhansak

Brown Rice


by Rita Jamshed Kapadia

This Dhansak is vegetarian and has no meat. It is modified to be suitable for western taste. The Spicy Dhansak recipes and photos are in my Cookbook available on Amazon

Vegetarian Dhansak Dal (Lentil) Recipe

Dhansaak Dal
Dhansaak Meal – see Video below.

Serves 6


1 cup Yellow Split Peas washed and soaked for 30 minutes in water

1 tsp. Salt.

1 tsp. Turmeric.

3 cups Water.

1 tsp. Butter for glaze.

Tempering Ingredients:

1 small onion finely chopped.

2 tbsp. oil.

2 tsp. Ginger/Garlic/Chili Paste. (2 cloves garlic + 1 hot green pepper + half inch of ginger).

1 tsp. or less of black pepper.

1 tsp. each of Coriander and Cumin powder.

1 tsp. Dhansak Masala. (optional)


Rinse the dal and put all of the above ingredients in a Pressure cooker or Instant Pot. Water should be enough to cover the dal by 2 inches. Cook for 20 minutes.

Mash the dal with electric blender or by hand. Transfer to a large pot and bring to a simmer. Add 1 tsp. Butter for glaze if desired.

Next do the tempering. Sauté the onion in hot oil till brown. Lower heat and add the paste. Sauté till aroma comes out. Add all the dry spices and sauté.

Immediately add this tempering to the simmering dhansak dal.

Add water if needed.

Taste and add salt/spices to your taste.

Yellow Split Peas are called Indian Tuvar or Toor lentils.

Dhansaak Meal. Brown Rice

Dhansak Brown  Rice Recipe


1 cup Basmati rice washed and soaked for half hour

2 cups water

1 tbsp. oil

1 small onion. (or caramel sugar instead the onion )

1/2 inch stick of cinnamon

2 Cardamom pods or 1/2 tsp. of cardamom powder

2 cloves

1/2 tsp. Salt (to taste)


Chop the onion into very fine slices. Heat oil and brown onion till dark brown, keep water handy and add immediately before the onion becomes black. This is the way to give the flavor and color to the rice. ( Or add caramel sugar for the same brown color).

Add rice and the rest of ingredients.

Bring to a boil uncovered, now put on lowest heat and cook 20 minutes till rice is done.

Chicken Pulao
CONDIMENT: Kachumbar

Kachumbar Salad Recipe

1 large onion

1 tomato

1 Cucumber (optional)

Coriander Leaves (optional)

Mint Leaves (optional)

Green Chilies (optional)

Salt or Vinegar to taste.

Lemon Wedges


Chop onion into very fine slices. Crumble with hands and mix in salt or vinegar.

Add chopped tomato, cucumber, chilies, coriander and mint.

Garnish with Lemon Wedges and serve with Dhansak

Dhansak: Parsi Cuisine Paperback

Dhansak: Parsi Cuisine Kindle

Contact Rita for a individual cooking class

Ancient cooking book “Vividh Vani” by Meherbai Jamshedji Wadia. Re-print paperback and digital free download.

Free PDF of  the cooking books  “Vividh Vani” by Meherbai Jamshedji Wadia is available on this ParsiCuisine.com website. 

Click here to DOWNLOAD the digital version PDF (Volume 1)   (file will open in new tab)

Click here to DOWNLOAD the digital version PDF (Volume 2)   (file will open in new tab)

 Order the REPRINT of “Vividh Vani” by Meherbai Jamshedji Wadia on AMAZON. Links below or contact us.

Volume 1 Product details

  • Paperback: 792 pages
  • Language: Gujarati
  • ISBN-10: 1724206532
  • ISBN-13: 978-1724206534
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.8 x 9 inches

Volume 2 Product details

  • Paperback: 778 pages
  • Language: Gujarati
  • ISBN-10: 1724202332
  • ISBN-13: 978-1724202338
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.8 x 9 inches

PARSIANA Reprinting Culinary Heritage

Happy Navroze

Navroze Celebrations – a video by PARZOR


Holi Special


by Sarika Rana

India is gearing up to celebrate one of the biggest festivals, that is Holi.  Holi is said to derive its name from the mythological character Holika, who was the evil sister of the demon king Hiranyakashyap. After the night of Holika Dahan on Choti Holi where a bonfire is lit, people play rang wali Holi with their friends and family. After all, what’s Holi without being drenched in a bevy of colours and water?

Different regions celebrate Holi in their own special ways; however, what makes all the regions alike is the love for food during this festival. If it’s Holi, it is important to prepare savoury delicacies that are handy and easy-to-grab, considering you are drenched in colours and water and wouldn’t want any hurdles in munching on your favourite foods.

We list down some easy-to-pick and eat savoury items that you’d want to prepare during Holi.

1. Aloo Ka Papad

What’s better than a crispy and crunchy snack? Aloo ka papad is popularly prepared during Holi and makes for a simple and quick-to-make yummy snack. All you’d need is potatoes, oil, salt and chili powder to make these delights. If you wish to make it at home, then here’s a delectable recipe of aloo ka papad recipe by Chef Niru Gupta.

(Also read: A Fully Prepared Lunch Menu For Holi)


What’s better than a crispy and crunchy snack?

2. Dahi Bhalla

Dahi vade or dahi bhalle are fondly enjoyed by many on Holi. So whip up your favourite street snack at home by making vada using urad ki daal served with fresh yogurt topped with some tangy and zesty chaat masala, sonth and coriander chutney. Slurp! Here’s a recipe of dahi vade by Niru Gupta to treat your palates. Try this dahi bhalle recipe with vadas made using urad and moong dal recipe by Chef Marut Sikka.

dahi bhalla

Dahi vade or dahi bhalle are fondly enjoyed by many on Holi

3. Kachori

Kachori makes an inevitable part of most Indian festivals. After all, these deep-fried delights are to die for! Dal kachori or masala kachori or even khasta kachori is bound to make your friends fall in love with this festival. Choose the fillings you want inside and you are good to go; or just make all of them! Try these recipes and impress your guests this Holi.

Dal ki kachori

Masala kachori

Khasta kachori


Kachori makes an inevitable part of most Indian festivals

4. Kanji Vada

Kanji vada is fried round of lentil batter which is fermented in water, mustard and asafoetida along with other spices. An easy dish to make, kanji vada makes for quite a popular Holi snack. These balls are added into a pot of warm water with rai, salt, red chili powder, whole red chilies and turmeric. This drink cum snack is light on stomach and is best enjoyed when served chilled. Here’s a kanji ke vade recipe that you’d love to devour.

kanji vada

Kanji vada is fried round of lentil batter which is fermented in water

5. Chaat

There’s no chance you can miss on adding chaat to your table; from gol gappas to paapdi chaat, aloo tikki to bhel puri and sev puri, these are must for celebrating the festival of colours, Holi.

aloo chaat

There’s no chance you can miss on adding chaat to your table

6. Moong Dal Pakoda

These fired fritters made using dhuli moong along with green chilies, fenugreek, ginger and oil is your perfect Holi food partner and is definitely a piece of cake to make. Here’s an amazing recipe by Chef Niru Gupta that you’d want to make.

moong dal

These fired fritters made using dhuli moong along with green chilies​

7. Masala Chana

A bowlful of masala chana topped with some lemon juice, sev and coriander chutney definitely makes for an amazing Holi snack! This Holi, surprise your guests with this chana chaat and enjoy gorging on them. You can also pair them with kulchas if you want to make it a healthy treat. Here’s a masala chana recipe that you must try at home.

masala chana recipe

A bowlful of masala chana topped with some lemon juice

8. Bhaang Ki Pakodi

Crunchy onion and potato pakodas dipped in chickpeas flour batter induced with a hint of bhaang is exactly what you’d need for a perfect Holi celebration. Try this bhaang ki pakodi recipe by Chef Niru Gupta.

bhang ki pakori

Crunchy onion and potato pakodas dipped in chickpeas flour batter

9. Ajwain Mathri

Mathri makes for an easy-to-grab snack which can be paired with any drink of your choice. This ajwain flavoured semolina mathri is bound to keep your accompanied every time you feel hungry. Here’s a recipe by Chef Niru Gupta.

singhara atta mathi

Mathri makes for an easy-to-grab snack

10. Tadka Dahi

Tadka dahi is spicy hung curd tempered with onions, tomatoes, red chilies, masalas, kasoori methi and curry leaves. Here’s tadka dahi recipe that you can enjoy on Holi.

tadka dahi
Tadka dahi is spicy hung curd tempered with onions, tomatoes
These holi special savoury dishes are bound to make you fall in love with the festival. So go ahead and make your Holi super special

6 Delectable Thandai Recipes


The winter clouds are giving way for the bounty of spring,and Indians across the country are all geared to celebrate Holi in less than a week. Cheeks smeared in hues of pink, green, yellow and red, getting drenched in coloured water or devouring the festive special delicacies; there is a reason why Holi is one of the most loved and widely celebrated festivals of India. Different regions of the country have their own local take on the festival. In Mathura, the festivities may last more than week. It is known as ‘lath mar Holi’, where women beat men with sticks and sing songs. In Bengal, Holi is celebrated as Dol jatra or swing festival where idols of Krishna and Radha are worshipped, and everybody plays on swings and with colours. In South, people worship God Kaamdeva. Like all festivals in India, food plays and intrinsic role in Holi celebrations too. For the longest time, gujiyas and dahi bhalla have dominated the great Holi spread. If there is anything that comes as close in terms of popularity is the thick, creamy and ever-so-delightful Thandai.

Also known as Sardai, thandai is a special beverage, native to India which is prepared extensively during festivals like Holi and Shivratri. The drink is made with the goodness of a mixture of almonds, fennel seeds, magaztari seeds (watermelon kernel), rose petals, pepper, cardamom, saffron, milk and sugar. Thandai could be made in many flavours and is immensely popular in the northern part of the country such as Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Here are some delicious thandai recipes you can make for your Holi party!

1. Homemade Thandai

It is nutty, it is creamy and it is loaded. This thandai recipe is decadence overload. It is made with the divine mixture of almonds, cashew nuts, pistachios, watermelon seeds, poppy seeds, green cardamoms, cinnamon and pepper corns boiled in milk. The chilled beverage is an answer to all your cravings.


It is nutty, it is creamy and it is loaded. This thandai recipe is decadence overload​

2. Holi Special Ice Tea Thandai

Fans of Ice-tea raise your hand. This ultimate chilled concoction is one fusion you must try this festive season. Made with the flavourful goodness of Assam tea, almonds, khus khus, fennel seeds and cardamom, this refreshing and fragrant beverage is an instant mood-lifter.

(Also Read: Holi 2017: The Mythological and Cultural Significance of Your Favourite Festival)

thandai 625

This ultimate chilled concoction is one fusion you must try this festive season​.3.Almond Milk Thandai

Amidst all the play, chatter, endless singing and dancing, it is natural for you to need some fuel to make sure the energy levels don’t take a dip. This wonderful and refreshing beverage is made with the goodness of almonds, aromatic spices and protein rich seeds.

almond milk

This wonderful and refreshing beverage is made with the goodness of almonds, aromatic spices and protein rich seeds.​

4. Guava Thandai

This one’s for those who are not yet ready to say goodbye to guavas. Try this lush and wholesome guava flavoured thandai loaded with nuts and aromatic spices. There, there we can see you slurping already.


Try this lush and wholesome guava flavoured thandai loaded with nuts and aromatic spices.​

5. Soya Thandai

If you happen to be a vegan, then this one’s for you! Here’s a fragrant treat that even you can’t say no to. Soya milk boiled with the thandai spice-mix of cardamom, fennel seeds and dry fruits is a treat for soul.

raw milk 620x350

Soya milk boiled with the thandai spice-mix of cardamom, fennel seeds and dry fruits is a treat for soul.

6. Thandai Phirni (My Yellow Table)

What happens when a festive dessert meets festive beverage? It gives birth to another culinary marvel just like this thandai phirni. This quick and decadent dessert brings the lush goodness of milk and a nutty charm of almonds, pistachios, cashew nuts and a whole lot of spices.


This quick and decadent dessert brings the lush goodness of milk and a nutty charm of almonds

Here’s wishing you all a very Happy Holi.



Haft Sheen/Seen Sofreh (spread) for Naurooz

PHOTO: Naurooz / Nawruz table is from a local library exhibit in Lexington MA.

by Soli Dastur

Long long time ago, King Jamsheed of the Iranian Peshdaadiyan Dynasty founded the festival of Naurooz (meaning “new day” in Persian) to celebrate the coming of spring after the cold, dark winter. If you recall that in those times Iran was a pastoral community, and this festival marks the triumph of good over evil with light literally defeating darkness as Naurooz falls on the Vernal Equinox, when night equals day, and subsequently the hours of daylight increase.

History and Practice of Naurooz

Today, Naurooz is celebrated the world over by people influenced by pre-Islamic Iranian culture. What makes Naurooz unique is that it is the only holiday celebrated by several religious communities in various countries.

Among the best-known customs of Naurooz is the Sofreh (spread) Haft-sheen/seen, with seven gifts of Nature with names beginning with the Farsi letter “sheen” or “seen”. A week or so before the holiday, grains of wheat and lentils are placed in bowls to sprout into a mass of greenery, symbolizing growth. The table is also laden with fruit, nuts, sweets and snacks, candles, and the holy book, the Khordeh Avesta for Zoroastrians. A bowl with goldfish and a basket of colored eggs, indicating new life, are also placed on the table. Custom dictates that visitors who come to share the holiday with you should be sprinkled with fragrant rosewater and asked to look into a mirror to make a wish. Some say that this ritual symbolizes that you smell as sweet as roses and shine as bright as a mirror throughout the new year.

The Haft-Sheen table symbolizes the holiday spirit in much the same way the Christmas tree promotes a special festive mood and the table is kept replenished for thirteen days.

To the Zoroastrians, the sixth day is called the “Naurooz Bozorg” or “greater Naurooz” as it is celebrated as the birthday of Holy Zarathushtra.

Nowadays in Iran, the celebrations end on the thirteenth day, Seezdeh Bedaar, with people going for a picnic by streams and rivers. The sprouted lentils are thrown into running water, carrying away the bad luck of the previous year.

(Acknowledgement: Above compiled from various Naurooz writings from Internet)

The Haft-Sheen/Seen spread contains seven specific things together with a number of additional items on the Sofreh that will signify renewal, happiness, wealth, good health or anything that you desire for the New Year.

Here are these items:

Haft Sheen/Seen Sofreh (spread) for Naurooz

Sofreh Haft-Sheen

This table has items beginning with the Farsi letter “sheen”. This is the original custom of the Iranian Zoroastrians.

1. Sherab . (wine)

2. Sheer . (milk)

3. Sherbet Naranj . (orange juice)

4. Shagufeh . (buds)

5. Shama . (candle)

6. Shakar . (sugar)

7. Shahed . (honey)

Sofreh Haft-Seen

This table has items beginning with the Farsi letter “seen”. This is the custom adopted by the Islamic people so as not to include “Sherab” or wine.

1. Samanu – a sweet pudding made from wheat germ, symbolizes wealth.

2. Seer . (garlic) represents health.

3. Seeb . (apple) represents beauty

4. Somaq . special berries that represent the color of the sun rise,

5. Serkeh . (vinegar) represents maturity and patience

6. Sonbol – the hyacinth flower with its strong fragrance heralds the coming of spring

7. Sekkeh . (coins) represent prosperity and wealth.

Nowruz Khojesteh Baad
Nowruz Khojesteh Baad


Hamā Anjuman Prayers for Naurooz In English, Farsi and Gujarati

In 2010, then FEZANA President Rustom Kevala requested a Naurooz Committee to create some Hamaa Anjuman prayers for the whole gathering to pray together during Naurooz days. I was volunteered to create these prayers in a book form in English as well as in Gujarati, and later in Farsi, so all our Humdins can use the book. After a lot of communications with Vadaa Dasturjis, Mobeds, Scholars, we created 8 short prayers for this book, printed it and distributed to all FEZANA Associations who chipped in their share for the cost of printing.

We like to acknowledge valuable and timely help from a number of people to compile this Naurooz Prayer. Special thanks goes to Dastoorji Dr. Feroze M. Kotwal, Late Dastoorji Dr. Peshotan H. Mirza, Mobed Mehraban Firouzgary, Ervad Dr. Ramiyar Karanjia, Ervad Dr. Jehan Bagli, Rastin Mehri, Joseph Peterson and his website, www.avesta.org, The Zarathushtrian Assembly website, K. R. Cama Oriental Institute staff, Rustom Kevala, Homi Gandhi, and many others.

My very good friend, Joseph Peterson, has been publicizing this book in his excellent website: www.avesta.org front page by presenting its front and back covers. (please see their photos attached)

Due to this advertisement in this website, over the years we have many requests for the book and our very efficient FEZANA Admin, Ms. Zenobia Damania, has been sending them requesting a donation to FEZANA. Zenobia informed me that a very few copies are now left.

Since Navroze will be here in a few weeks, we thought it will be good to present this whole book for all our Humdins all over the world. A soft copy of this book is attached to this WZSE. Hope it will be used by some of our Humdins all over the world during the upcoming Navroze.

These short prayers in this book is NOT JUST FOR Navroze. They can be used at any time. And we are making a strong appeal to all our Humdins, teachers, Mobeds and Mobedyars to use one of these prayers before a class or a get together so all Humdins can pray together.

Their encouragements and suggestions made this Prayer Book possible.

Yenghe Haataam Prayer in Farsi, Gujarati and English with Translation

One of the 8 prayers in this Naurooz book is one of our 3 pillars of our religion, Yenghe Haataam. We want to present this short beautiful prayer in Farsi, Gujarati and English with its English translation.

(Please hear the attached .mp3 file for its recitation, together with Yathaa Ahu Vairyo and Ashem Vohu by Marazban Dara Mehta and the Mehta Brothers ensemble)

A screenshot of a cell phone  Description automatically generated
A screenshot of a cell phone  Description automatically generated
A screenshot of a cell phone  Description automatically generated

SPD Comments:

1. In his scholarly opus: The Divine Songs of Zarathushtra, Dr. Irach Taraporewala points out that Yenghe Haataanm verse is a later version of the original Zarathushtra’s Vohukhshathra Gatha verse Yasna 51.22.

Let us see this Vohukhshathra Gatha verse Yasna 51.22:

Vohukhshathra Gatha Verse Yasna 51.22:

Yehyaa moi ashaat hachaa Vahishtem yesne paiti,

Vaedaa Mazdaao Ahuro! Yoi aaongharechaa hentichaa,

Taa yazaai khvaaish naamenîsh Pairichaa jasaai vantaa.

(Please hear the attached .mp3 file for its recitation)

Vohukhshathra Gatha Verse Yasna 51.22 Translation:

(Zarathushtra says:) I ween whom by reason of his Righteousness

in every act of worship as the best Mazda Ahura doth regard;

both among those who have been and who are;

these will I revere in their own names

and will devotedly reach upto them.

(Dr. Irach Taraporewala – Divine Songs of Zarathushtra – Page 821)

2. Dr. Irach Taraporewala writes: “This verse is the original of the Yenghe Haataanm verse. The main difference between the two is that in the Gaathaa verse the holy men both past and present are spoken of, while in the later Yenghe Haataanm verse the Righteous ones both men and women have been mentioned.

The first half of the Gaathaa verse has been reproduced almost word for word, with only the later changes of grammar and spelling. The second half of the Yenghe-Haataanm is entirely different. The idea of bringing in both men and women is a decided improvement. On the other hand, the last two sentences have been practically omitted and so the later verse Yenghe-Haataanm has lost a great deal of the force and beauty of the original.”

3. This whole paraphrasing of Gatha verse brings up an interesting question:

How many other Gatha verses were paraphrased like the above?

4. And we count Yenghe Haataanm as one of our three prayer pillars together with Yathaa and Ashem; then why can’t we recite Zarathushtra’s own words Yasna 51.22 instead of Yenghe Haataanm sometimes in our Hum Bandagis?

Let me leave this thought with you all!

May the Flame of Fellowship, Love, Charity and Respect for all burn ever eternal in our hearts so we can do HIS work with humility, diligence and eternal enthusiasm!


Atha Jamyaat, Yatha Aafrinaamahi! (May it be so as we wish!)

Love and Tandoorasti, Soli

Agarni / Agharni Lavda

By Rita Kapadia

Mold for agarni ladva
Mold for agarni ladva
Mold for agarni ladva
Mold for agarni ladva

Recipe for Agarni Ladva


2 1/2 cups gram flour (not superfine variety)

500 ml. milk (optional to remove sugar impurity)

1/2 tsp. cardamom powder

3 cups ghee for deep frying

2 fine hole shallow strainer metal spoons, or use a colander with holes (be innovative)

1/2 tsp vanilla or rose essence or rose water

1/2 tsp. nutmeg (javantri powder)

Syrup (Chashni)

2 1/2 cups sugar

3 1/2 cups water

Few drops saffron (kesar) or orange food color


Chasni Syrup
1. Put sugar and water in a vessel and boil. 
2. When sugar dissolves, add milk. 
3. Boil for 5 minutes till scum forms on top. 
4. Strain and return to fire. 
5. Add color and boil till sticky but no thread has formed. One string tar is not needed.
6. Add cardamom powder and mix. Keep aside. 

1. Mix flour and milk to a smooth batter. 
2. Heat ghee in a heavy frying pan. 
3. Hold strainer on top with one hand. 
4. With the other pour some batter all over the holes. 
5. Tap gently till all batter has fallen into hot ghee. 
6. Stir with another strainer and remove when light golden. 
7. Keep aside. Repeat for remaining batter. 
8. Immerse boondi in syrup. 
9. Drain any excess syrup. 
10. Spread in a large plate and sprinkle little tsp. of hot water over it. 
11. Cover and keep for 5 minutes. 
12. Shape in laddoos with moist palms. (For Agarni Lavra shape into cones)
13. Cool and keep open to dry, before storing in containers.

Shortcut: Buy Boondi ladoos from store, crush and shape into cone shaped agarni lavra.

This tried and true recipe is from Rita’s cookbook – click here to purchase.

Click HERE to read about the Agarni Ceremony


Seven Ways to Celebrate Navroz 2020

Navroze / Nowruz / Nooruz is on March 21, 2020.

Commemorated in a grand and elaborate fashion, preparations for  Navroze begin well in advance. Houses are cleaned to remove all the cobwebs and painted new. They are then adorned with different auspicious symbols, namely, stars, butterflies, birds and fish. New attires are ordered and made especially for the festival. On the day of  Navroze, people dress in their new and best clothes and put on gold and silver kustis and caps. The doors and windows are beautified with garlands of roses and jasmines. Color powders are used for creating beautiful and attractive patterns, known as Chok or rangoli, on the steps and thresholds. These intricate and creative patterns display the sanctity of the festivals. Moreover, fish and floral motifs are a favorite among rangolis and considered highly auspicious.

Guests are welcomed by sprinkling rose water and rice, followed by applying a tilak. Breakfast usually consists of Sev (a vermicelli preparation roasted in ghee and choc-a-bloc with dry fruits) which is served with yogurt and enjoyed by young and old alike. After breakfast, it is time to visit the Agiary or Fire Temple to offer prayers. Special thanksgiving prayers, known as Jashan, are held and sandalwood is offered to the Holy Fire. At the end of this religious ceremony, all Parsis take the privilege to exchange new greetings with one another by saying ‘Navroze Mubarak’. Back home, special delicacies are made marking the lunch as an elaborate and delicious affair.

Various Parsi dishes, such as Sali boti (a mutton and potato preparation), chicken farchas, patrani machchi (fish steamed in a leaf), mutton pulao and dal, kid gosh and saas ni machchi (a thick white gravy with pomfret) jostle for space on the table. However, the most significant dish that forms an integral part of Navroz celebrations is pulav (rice enriched with nuts and saffron, aka biryani). Besides, plain rice and moong dal are a must on this day. Desserts too are not behind in terms of variety, the most important being falooda. It is a sweet milk drink made from vermicelli and flavored with rose essence. Lagan-nu-custard, or caramel custard, is another favorite on this occasion. The entire day is spent by visiting friends and relative and exchanging good wishes and blessings.

Suggested Menu for the Navroz day:

sev 002


 Parsi Sev Sweet Vermicelli (shown above)

 Parsi Ravo (Sweet cream of wheat)





 Dhan Dal (Steamed Rice with plain dal) with Khari Fish

Fried Fish
Fried Fish

Fried Pomfret  (Tareli Maachi)



Chicken with Apricots / Jardalu ma Marghi
Chicken with Apricots / Jardalu ma Marghi

 Chicken with Apricots / Jardalu ma Marghi


DESSERT: Lagan nu Custard - garnished with almonds, pistachios
DESSERT: Lagan nu Custard – garnished with almonds, pistachios

 Lagan nu Custard

Batasa – a favorite biscuit snack. Good with Tea or Coffee anytime! 



Dhun Dar

Get ready for Navroze 2020

Cookbooks by Rita Jamshed Kapadia

Available to purchase on https://www.amazon.com/shop/parsicuisine

Agharni Ladvo

Agarni Karvani Reet (Khoro Bharvani Reet)

Note the indian gujarati parsi word Lavra is a plural form. Singular one is spoken as Lavro.

Ladoo is a term for small round balls. Usually boondi ladoo, besan ladoo, moti-choor ladoo, coconut ladoo and many other ladoos. You get the drift right?

Nothing is written below is compulsory, do everything happily according to your choice and convenience. 

Agarni  can be done either in the seventh month or ninth month. Seventh month is preferable. It should be done either on a Thursday or a Sunday. 

Unlike a Baby Shower, this ceremony is not about the Unborn Child.  It is about, celebrating a woman standing on the cusp of MOTHERHOOD.  It is about, filling her lap, Saree Palloo (metaphorically and literally) with goodies to sustain her health, happiness and prosperity.   

Generally, it is done only in the first pregnancy, as at the time of second pregnancy you have already attend Happy Motherhood.

Mother in law gets everything new for her daughter in-law (Paag thi Matha sudhi) New Green coloured saree (sign of fertility) or vehvan na kapda rakehela hoi to te sivravini pheravana. 

What to buy:

250 gms. green moong (lentils , a sign of fertility)

250 gms. Wheat ( a sign of prosperity, Gherma dhaan ni kami nahi rahe)

250 gms. Rice (Gherma dhaan ni kami nahi rahe-Prospertiy) 

One  choli ne saaf kidheloo navu coconut (may the life be as fruitful and useful as the coconut tree) 

Bijoroo is a fruit but difficult to get one instead put Pomegranate, slit a little and stick a coin inside (may there be prospertiy, ghanta ganai nahi tetli roji rahe) 

One Big larvo boondi no (small, small boondies mithai are joined together and made into a shape of a cone, may there be so much support in your life from all the people, family and friends and well wishers surrounding you to reach  the pinnacle of success) 

Seven small larva to be taken to Vevahis house (from both side), more to distribute among family and friends. 

Sagan nu..Paan, badam, kharek, sopari, sakar 

Twin banana if available 

Jewellery (if you wish to give)  or one sagan nu envelope to both the mother and father to be.Achoo Michoo keep ready at both the houses.


In the morning  the pregnant, to be mother takes a bath with dooh fool, and gets dressed in her new finery. Make the couple stand together and do sagan (tili) to both, now the vahumai holds out her saree palloo the other 4 or 6 women in the house will help to hold. Keep a cloth in the pallo (so that the saree does not get spoilt and becomes easy to empty out the Khoro) 

Mother in law will first put all the sagan nu saaman (paan, badam.etc)Now put Seven fistful one after the other (dont make it full fistful, she has to carry the weight  for  seven times of full green moong Repeat point no. 2 with rice Repeat point no. 2 with Wheat. Put Nariyal (coconut) Twin Bananas

Agharni no larvo (big one)You may give her any jewellry if you so desire or one envelope sagannu.Take ovarna, kissi, koti  and wish them Dadar Ahurmazad ne Ava Ardivisur Banoo ni madad thi Hasti Ramti saare divase, bachaa ne lai ne bharye khore vaheli ghere phdharje  and let the girl come down the patla with her right foot.Give the girl a sip of water and Proceed to dear mothers (vahevais)  house, with small ses and seven larvas. (Mother will take away 2-3 larvas and replace them from the ones she has got)Achoo michoo karine, take the children in, and the mother, with the help of other women in the house picks up the cloth from four corners and keeps it in her palloo or supra. 

Mother does tilli and repeats all of the above.

The girl gets off the patla.  Empty out the khoro in a supra. and both the  Mother and mother in-law breaks (do not cut) the tonch (point) of the larva puts it in the girls mouth point facing towards the mouth (the baby slips out safe and fast ( at the delivery time ()  Coconut, Dadam (pomegranate), Larvo has to be eaten, rest of the things can be taken any day after the next day  along with some fresh flowers and sakar (sugar) to the sea, river water (dariye vatoo karvanoo). 

The couple can go to the agiary and pray to Ahura Mazda to give you safe and fast delivery, ne hasta ramta bachaa ne lai ne gahre aviye. Mother from boys side can take the khali kidhelo khoro in a cloth to her home.

* Special sweets called Agarnina Lavras are made from Moti Choor (Boondi) Ladoo mix for this ceremony.

These lavras are kept in the mother’s lap with a full set of Saree clothes, whole coconut decorated with tilli (red kanku to be used), sugar cubes (sakar) and flowers.

The easiest way is to buy ready made boondi ladoo. Take your cone from the Parsi Ses “Paro”and line it with parchment paper in the cone. Break the boondi ladoos and fill the cone tightly, pressing down to compress.

Refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours or overnight. The cone will come out looking like an agharni lavro. Roll gently in chopeed almonds and sprinkle with rose water. Apply Silver Foil varakh if you have any. OR wrap each lavro in coloured cellophane paper, tie with a ribbon (red) in a bow at the top.

Boondi Ladoo Video & Recipe

Cookbook with recipes for Celebrations: Celebrating Zoroastrian Festivals and Traditions (ParsiCuisine) (Volume 4) Paperback

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Valentine’s Day Heart Shortbreads

Lemon Shortbread Cookies
Lemon Shortbread Cookies


2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp fresh lemon zest

2 cups / 4 sticks very soft butter (leave outside overnight)

4 cups self-rising flour

1 cup Sugar

Cookie Cutters


Whip Lemon juice, zest, sugar and butter till creamy

Add flour and make dough. Wrap dough in 2 cylindrical rolls and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Using the chilled dough cut out 1/2 inch rounds with knife or cookie cutter.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Place on baking sheet and bake for 11 – 15 minutes.

Tip: Thick 1/2 inch shortbreads will bake slowly. Thinner dough with shape cut will get done earlier. Watch the color and keep it light cream.

Line a baking sheet with liner

Remove sheet and cool for 5 minutes, place cookies on wire rack to cool some more. I was able to just place them directly on my serving platter.


are fun to do! Cut with different cookie cutters for the special occasions. Hearts for Valentines Day, Trees for Christmas, Turkey Shape for Thanksgiving and so on.

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Great for Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas or any Holiday Gift Giving.


Parsi Sev

How to make authentic fluffy and delicious Parsi Sev for Birthdays, New Year, Weddings, and any Auspicious Occasion in your home. Time tested recipe by Rita. Parsi Sev is also known as Sweet Vermicelli and found in Indian Grocery Stores in the USA, UK and other countries outside India. Here is the recipe.

Serves 10 or 4 (see separate ingredient list )

Ingredients for serving 10 :

  • 500 grams vermicelli, white or brown roasted

  • 125 grams ghee or oil

  • 500 grams sugar

  • 2 ozs rose-water or 1 tbsp rose essence (optional)

  • 125 grams almonds, blanched. sliced (optional)

  • 125 grams raisins or currants (optional)

  • 1 tbsp nutmeg and cardamom powder (optional)

  • 500 grams water (approx 32 ozs)

Ingredients for serving 4 :

  • 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 – 8 ozs or 1 cup)


  1. Fry the vermicelli in a wide and large utensil in ghee until golden brown color, stirring all the time.

  2. In a separate bowl, mix sugar and water and boil.

  3. Then add this sugar and water mix to Vermicelli.

  4. 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.

  5. Garnish with fried almonds and raisins.

Note: Add as little water you can to make Sev fluffy and light.

Gift a cookbook 

Parsi Cuisine Series “Desserts” cookbook


Shrimp Coconut Sauce called Patio

Served with Dhan Dar or Khichri 


  • 1 lb shrimp

  • 2 medium onions finely chopped

  • 1/2 cup Spring onions

  • 1/2 cup Spring garlic

  • 3 sprigs of Curry leaves

  • 3 medium tomatoes pureed

Dry masala / spice powders 

  • 1/2 tsp Haldi / Turmeric

  • 1/2 tsp Chilli powder

  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper powder

  • 1/2 tsp All spice / garam masala powder  or as per taste.

Grind together :

  • 1/2 cup grated Coconut

  • 1 cup Kothmir / Cilantro

  • Green chillies as per taste.

  • 1 tbspn Jeera / Cumin

  • 1-1/2 tbspn Dhaniya /Coriander powder

  • 5 cloves Garlic

  • 2 medium Onions


  • Heat oil in a pan.

  • Add curry leaves & sauté.

  • Add finely chopped onions & fry till light golden brown

  • Add little besan / gramflour & sauté

  • Add ground masalas & all above-mentioned dry masala powders except Garam masala powder.

  • Sauté till oil separates.

  • Add tomato puree, spring onions & spring garlic with greens & mix. Let it dry.

  • Add all spices / Garam masala powder & salt. Mix well.

  • Add shrimps & let it cook with little water till done.

  • Add vinegar & sugar to taste (optional)

More recipes for Fish and Parsi Seafoods in my cookbook – Parsi Cuisine: Seafood (Volume 1) Paperback

From Persia to India

Parsi recipes travelled from Persia to the beaches of Gujarat, up north India, then to the west of India, east India and south India, acquiring technique and adding new flavours to the food.

Pallonji raspberry soda is a popular drink served during Parsi weddings.(Shutterstock)

Despite their dwindling population, the Parsis strive to preserve the legacy of their rich, robust and wholesome cuisine by even using social media to popularise it among food lovers around the world.“Rich, pure, wholesome, rustic and robust. That’s Parsi cuisine to me. It is unique. It’s spicy, sweet and sour. It’s robust and elegant. It’s complex yet simple. One thing it isn’t, it’s not a quick bite. It’s food you sit down and enjoy,” Urvaksh Hoyvoy, who runs the ‘Parsi da Dhabha’.

He says opening the restaurant in 2009 on NH-8 en-route from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, about 150 km from here, was his way of trying to preserve the legacy of their food.

“Whenever I travel, I take my Parsi spices and cook in people’s homes. One such event happened in a country home in a tiny town of Bartelsville in Oklahoma,” he says.

“And we are beginning to use the social media to share our delicious legacy with the world,” he says.

Farzana Contractor, the editor and publisher of food and travel magazine UpperCrust, says, “I know people outside the community yearn to be invited for a ‘Lagan nu Bhonu’, because outside a Parsi home that is the only place they can get to eat this food, since there just aren’t too many places you can go eating out.”

“Like I, for example, land up at Ideal Corner at Fort whenever the urge to eat bhonu overcomes me. Though surprisingly even the Yacht Club (Royal Bombay Yacht Club) does a decent ‘Dhansak’ and they serve it with tiny pieces of plain fried Bombay Duck,” she says.

“As an ‘honorary’ Parsi and being married to a foodie as big as Behram Contractor aka Busybee (noted journalist and founder-editor of Afternoon newspaper), I can say I do love the Parsi cuisine immensely. “Alas, I don’t see much happening by way of preserving the food legacy. Authenticity is of course maintained quite simple because it is still home cooked and recipes there don’t change,” she says.

Anahita N Dhondy, the chef manager at SodaBottleOpenerWala which has seven outlets in India, says with their community population falling and their number being only 69,000 in India they are trying their best to preserve their culture and food.

“We made Parsi food cool and popularised the Bombay Irani cafe concept,” she says.

Anahita N Dhondy, the chef manager at SodaBottleOpenerWala,says Parsi cuisine can be counted as the oldest ‘fusion cuisine’ as it brings together the flavours of Persia with the masalas and freshness of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa. (olivebarandkitchen.com)

According to Dhondy, Parsi cuisine can be counted as the oldest ‘fusion cuisine’ as it brings together the flavours of Persia with the masalas and freshness of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa.

“It also uses techniques from British cookery. So it’s a beautiful amalgamation of all these cuisines. Some recipes are easy and some very lengthy with complicated processes.

“The ingredients would range from dry fruits to coconut, famous sambhar masala and dhana jeeru masala, curry masalas, pickles, souffles and sandwiches. It’s a vast range of cookery. It’s got vegetables, eggs, fish, meat and sweet preparations,” she says.

According to Urvaksh, the Parsis left their homeland because they immensely valued their beliefs and their faith was unwavering.

“The way we Parsis prepare and eat our food today is not how Parsi people ate in Persia. There’s a whole lot of ‘India’ in the cooking pot now.

“In Persia, spices were scarce, so the food was cooked simply. When we arrived on the shores of Gujarat to take refuge, we assimilated in the best possible way – the food way,” he says.

Parsi recipes then travelled the beaches of Gujarat, up north India, then to the west of India, east India and south India, through the bylanes of Mumbai’s Dhobhi Talao, Byculla, Colaba, acquiring technique and adding new flavours to the food.

Dhansak with brown rice. (Shutterstock)

The Parsi style curry, no doubt, came from Goan cooks who cooked for the Parsi homes at Princess Street, says the third generation entrepreneur, whose late grandfather Nariman Ardeshir Hoyvoy established the Parsi Dairy Farm and Dairyland in Mumbai.

“The delicious tomato gravy came from the Portuguese, the Saas ni Machi has a Frenchness to it being cooked in a delicate rice flour sauce, the palav daar is very robust and hearty, it’s our variation of the moghlai biryani.

“The chops and mash from the Brits. Tarela Kera in a sugar sauce-based banana fritters from the south. I’m not a historian but I am certain the way I cook and eat today is due to a beautiful journey our cooking has been through in India,” he says.

He says they are a very small community and their food is generally available only at Parsi weddings and Navjote ceremonies.

The non-Parsis love the taste so much that he used to get “tons of requests” from them to taste their popular dishes like Palav daar, dhansak, Salli boti and marghina Farcha etc, he says.

Contractor says the taste of each Parsi dish differs. “Like a Saas ni Machi with its tangy white sauce is 60 degrees away from Patra ni Machi, all wrapped up in banana leaf with the awesome green chutney. Or Sali Murghi is from Farcha ni Murghi,” she says.

She says her ultimate favourite is Jardaloo ma Gosht, which, incidentally, she cooked on TV with top British Chef Gary Rhodes for Discovery channel.

Divulging on some unique facets of Parsi cuisine, Urvaksh says, “We cooked with flowers, berries and fruits and with complex techniques before these celebrity MasterChefs’ great grandfathers wore nappies.”

He says the Medo Persian Empire was one of the greatest empires and it ruled over several communities.

The history books say that the Persian Kings did not thrust their habits and lifestyle upon their subjects, but rather encouraged and appreciated the diversities and the cuisines of Persia developed with its expanding borders, he says. Persia did not have spices but had delicious edible flowers, berries and fruits, which were infused to create delicate flavours.

“My favourite being the Zereshk berry or as its English name says Barberry. It’s a tiny Ruby red berry that grows on a shrub, and tastes delicious in a meat dish or even just cooked with rice. I was taught a secret Zereshk sauce from a Persian grocer in Dubai,” he says.

The 54-year-old entrepreneur says his endeavour is to cook and serve classic Parsi food in a home style environment and to put their cuisine on the home menu of people all over the world “so they may be as enriched as we are.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Dhondy says, “I feel Parsi food will become even more popular over the years. There will be more cafes and restaurants serving this kind of cuisine because it is adaptable, easy and very flavourful.”

“It will travel the world and even become gourmet. I would love to popularize it all over the world,” she says.

Epiphany Day – January 6

Question: When should you take down Christmas tree?

The Traditional Answer: Traditionally, Catholics do not take down their Christmas trees and holiday decorations until January 7, the day after Epiphany. Time to put away the Christmas tree till next year.

Epiphany is celebrated 12 days after Christmas on 6th January (or January 19th for some Orthodox Church who have Christmas on 7th January) and is the time when Christians remember the Wise Men (also sometimes called the Three Kings) who visited Jesus.

Epiphany is also when some Churches remember when Jesus was Baptised, when he was about 30, and started to teach people about God. Epiphany means ‘revelation’ and both the visit of the Wise Men and his Baptism are important times when Jesus was ‘revealed’ to be very important.

Some Churches celebrate use Epiphany to celebrate and remember both the visit of the Wise Men and Jesus’s Baptism!

Epiphany is mainly celebrated by Catholics and Orthodox Christians. It’s a big and important festival in Spain, where it’s also known as ‘The festival of the three Magic Kings’ – ‘Fiesta de Los tres Reyes Mages’, and is when Spanish and some other Catholic children receive their presents – as they are delivered by the Three Kings!

In Spain on Epiphany morning you might go to the local bakers and buy a special cake/pastry called a ‘Roscón’ (meaning a ring shaped roll). They are normally filled with cream or chocolate and are decorated with a paper crown. There is normally a figure of a king (if you find that you can wear the crown) and a dried bean (if you find that you’re meant to pay for the cake!). In Catalonia it’s known as a Tortell or Gâteau des Rois and is stuffed with marzipan.

A Tortell Pastry [file from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tortell.jpg]
A Tortell Pastry AKA Kings Cake from the Catalan region

In France you might eat a ‘Galette des Rois’, a type of flat almond cake. It has a toy crown cooked inside it and is decorated on top with a gold paper crown.

There are similar traditions in Mexico where Epiphany is known as ‘El Dia de los Reyes’ (the day of The Three Kings). It’s traditional to eat a special cake called ‘Rosca de Reyes’ (Three Kings Cake). A figure of Baby Jesus is hidden inside the cake. Whoever has the baby Jesus in their piece of cake is the ‘Godparent’ of Jesus for that year.

In Portugal, people take part in Epiphany carol singing known as the ‘Janeiras’ (January songs). On the Island of Maderia they’re known as the ‘Cantar os Reis’ (singing the kings).

In Italy, some children also get their presents on Epiphany. But they believe that an old lady called ‘Befana’ brings them. Children put stockings up by the fireplace for Befana to fill.

In Austria, at Epiphany, some people write a special sign in chalk over their front door. It’s a reminder of the Wise Men that visited the baby Jesus. It’s made from the year split in two with initials of the names that are sometimes given to ‘the three wise men’, Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, in the middle. So 2020 would be: 20*C*M*B*20. The sign is meant to protect the house for the coming year. Some parts of Germany also have the tradition of marking over doors. The ‘Four Hills’ Ski Jumping Tournament also finishes on 6th January in Bischofshofen, Austria.

At Epiphany in Belgium, children dress up as the three wise men and go from door to door to sing songs and people give them money or sweets, kind of like Trick or Treating on Halloween. Children in Poland also go out singing on Epiphany.

In Ireland, Epiphany is also sometimes called ‘Nollaig na mBean’ or Women’s Christmas. Traditionally the women get the day off and men do the housework and cooking! It is becoming more popular and many Irish women now get together on the Sunday nearest Epiphany and have tea and cakes!

In the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (which celebrates Christmas on 7th January), twelve days after Christmas, on 19th January, the three day celebration of Ethiopians Timkat starts. This celebrates Jesus’s baptism.

In New Orleans, Louisiana, in the USA, on Epiphany/King’s Day, the Christmas Tree is either take down or the ornaments are replaced with Purple, Gold and Green ones and it’s then called a ‘Mardi Gras Tree’! People also like to eat ‘King Cake’ (a cinnamon pastry with sugar on the top and sometimes filled with cream cheese or jelly/jam). The King Cake will have a little baby plastic doll inside (which represents Jesus); whoever gets the piece with the baby has to supply the next King Cake! Some people have “King Cake Party” every Friday before Lent (the time before Easter).

Epiphany Eve (also known as Twelfth Night) marks the end of the traditional Christmas celebrations and is the time when you were meant to take Christmas decorations down – although some people leave them up until Candlemas.

Gujarat Gears Up For Parsi Festival

Go Udvada! Gujarat Gears Up For Parsi Festival

#Parsicuisine is a wonderful blend of Persian (Iranian) cuisine Gujarati flavours, Maharashtrian, and British influences.
Parsi dishes reveal traces of their Persian past in its use of sweet dried fruit and nuts such as apricots and golden raisins, almonds, or Charoli seeds, and cashews. The most notable part about the Parsi cuisine in India is that it has evolved and separated from Persian cuisine to carve a distinct niche for itself.
Parsis love eggs, potatoes and meat! Meat dishes will have potatoes in the form of ‘salli’ and traditional khichdi and dhansak have lentils and meat.

Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani said, “The Iranshah Udvada Utsav is an initiative that was envisioned by our Hon’ble and beloved Prime Minster, Shri Narendra Modi because he too being from the great state of Gujarat, understands the wonderful impact the Parsis have had on the Indian community at large.”

Gujarat is gearing up for a Parsi festival, Iranshah Udvada Utsav, in the holy town of Udvada from December 27 to 29. The event is hosted by Foundation for Development, Udvada, Gujarat Tourism and Dr Cyrus S Poonawalla.

Lauding the Parsi community, he said, “It is important that we as a nation stand by our minorities like the Parsi Community who have given us so much of their dedication and have added respect to India’s reputation”.
Speaking about the event, Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor, High Priest of Iranshah Atash Behram, Udvada and Member (Zoroastrian) of National Commission for Minorities said, “The state government has even helped with the sea wall protection of our coastline as Udvada is on the seashore and planning to create a promenade on the sea shore, for the beautification of our Udvada beach.”

Udvada is the religious center point for Parsi Zoroastrians across the globe. Union minister Smriti Irani has also been instrumental in making the place a travel hub for Parsis.

Gujarat Gears Up For Parsi Festival
Gujarat Gears Up For Parsi Festival

IUU will be hosting many events like heritage walks through the by-lanes of Udvada, introducing a culture that has been infused in the town’s heritage homes and sculptures, the SOAS- MUYA Project 4D Yasna Experience – The 4D Goggle Experience created by SOAS Centre in United Kingdom for to a journey through the Yasna Prayer Ceremony of the Parsi Community, Cookery shows with Parsi delicacies, among others.

Rita's Fruitcake

Rita’s Christmas Fruit Cake

Rita's Fruitcake
Rita’s Fruitcake

More recipes in our cookbooks 


  • Flour – 1 1/2 cups

  • Sugar – 3/4 cup

  • Eggs – 3 Large

  • Oil – 3/4 cup

  • Baking powder – 1 tsp

  • Baking soda – 1/4 tsp

  • Salt – 1/2 tsp

  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp

  • Caramel syrup – 1/2 cup

  • 2 cups Whiskey or as needed – lots!

Soak in 1 cup whiskey (more if needed later for soaking the cake and storing).

  • Use candied red and green cherries, pineapple, apricots, plums, orange, lemon and ginger,

  • Candied cherries -1/4 cup

  • Candied apples – 1/4 cup

  • Dates – 1/2 cup

  • Raisins – 1/2 cup

Chopped Nuts – 1 cup each

  • Cashew nuts or peanuts

  • Almonds or pecans

  • Walnuts


  •  1/4 tsp cloves

  •  1/4 tsp cinnamon

  •  1/4 tsp nutmeg powder

  •  1/4 tsp dry ginger powder

Caramel Syrup

  1. Take 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tbsp water in a utensil and let it boil in medium heat

  2. After a while, the syrup will start becoming brown in colour

  3. When it becomes darker, add 1/2 cup warm water and mix well

  4. Be careful while adding water to the very hot caramelised sugar, it might sprinkle and cause burns

  5. Caramel syrup is ready for cake


  1. Soak candied fruits, raisins and chopped dates in whiskey for minimum 12 hours. 

  2. Finely chop dried nuts and keep aside.

  3. Make fine powder of spices.

  4. Take a wide bowl.

  5. Beat eggs, sugar and oil.

  6. Add caramel syrup, spice mix and soaked fruits, into the bowl.

  7. Add wheat flour, baking powder and baking soda and blend well.

  8. Add salt and vanilla extract and mix well.

  9. Add more whiskey if needed.

  10. Mix the chopped nuts in 1 tsp flour so that nuts do not settle in the bottom of the mixture.

  11. Preheat oven at 325 degree F.

  12. Grease a baking tray and sprinkle some flour.

  13. Pour the cake mixture into the tray and sprinkle chopped nuts.

  14. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes and check with a tooth pick to see if done. Toothpick should come out clean off cake is baked well.

  15. Remove from oven and cool.

Cake is ready.  

Poke holes into the cake with a long stick or toothpicks. Add more whiskey. This technique is called soaking or feeding the cake.

Cool and store in an airtight tin for 15 days at least before enjoying. Cake is delicious marinated this way. 


The best fruit cakes are matured for at least a month and moistened or ‘fed’ from time to time with alcohol such as whiskey, rum, sherry, Madeira or brandy. Fruit cakes made solely from dried fruit will keep for several weeks and up to a month; fruit cakes containing both dried and fresh fruit will go mouldy more quickly. Fruit cakes that have been matured and fed with alcohol can be stored for a year or more.


When making dense fruit cakes such as a Christmas cake, the batter needs to be heavy enough for the dried fruit and nuts to be suspended in it; if it’s too thin the fruit will sink to the bottom. Another challenge comes from the sweetness of the dried fruit, which will scorch and turn bitter if the oven temperature is too high. This is why traditional fruit cake recipes often require you to bake the cake slowly at a low temperature and to line the inside and outside of the tin with paper: a double thickness of parchment paper inside, and several layers of newspaper secured with string outside.

If you want to ice the cake with fondant, click here for FONDANT ICING recipe. (Store bought is good too). This cake takes a large quantity and you are better off making your own! 

Marzipan makes a good icing too, place the marzipan on cake while chilled so it is easy to handle and will cover well. Eat at room temperature. Click here for the Marzipan recipe.


cake batter cake batter2cake batter 3

Candied Fruit


Christmas Cake
Christmas Cake

Sonia and Rajiv Gandhi’s wedding cake in Delhi, 1968. Indira Gandhi is on the right Read more at: //economictimes.indiatimes.com

The lip-smacking story of the cake revolution in India

By Vikram Doctor

One of the most startling things of this festive season: the desi bride and groom are actually made of cake.

Flury’s became known both for the cakes it provided in its café and the elaborate concoctions it made on demand. Bachi Karkaria, in her book, Flury’s of Calcutta: The Cake That Walked, recorded one made for a Lucknow nawab that was almost 60 kilos in weight and 35 square feet in size. When it was taken by van it had to be wrapped in multiple protective layers: “When the van slowly drove out of the gates, people thought there had been an accident in the factory, and that a shrouded body was being ..

Christmas cakes at least had a traditional presence on the calendar. Other formal cakes, like wedding cakes, were much rarer.

Read more at:


Marzipan Boi (Fish shaped Dessert)

This fish shaped dessert is very popular among the Indian Parsi community. It is molded in the shape of a fish because the fish is a symbol for fertility and good luck. It can be sliced and eaten as dessert.

Storage Instructions: Can be kept outside for 2 or 3 days, refrigerated for a couple of weeks, or frozen for much longer.


1 cup powdered almonds

1 1/3 cups sifted powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. almond extract

1 cup sifted powdered sugar (second batch)

1 tbs. slightly beaten egg white

few drops food coloring (optional)

Grind almonds until powdered.

Then add 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar, almond extract, and 2 tbs. water.

Mix together until the mixture forms a ball.

Beat in remaining 1 cup of powdered sugar.

Stir in enough egg white (1/2 to 1 tbs.) to form a clay-like mixture.

Tint with food coloring if desired.

Mold into shapes or press flat to form a block 1/2 inch thick.

Cut into squares and serve.


  1. Combine all of above in a large mixing bowl. You may need to work the mixture with your hands to ensure that it is well mixed. I took a non-stick pan and heated up these, but be careful the mix does not burn. Use very low heat.

  2. To prevent the mixture from drying as you work with it, rub hands with a light coating of vegetable shortening. Wrap tightly in plastic until ready for use.

  3. Line mold with shortening.

  4. Press the marzipan into mold and let it set overnight.

  5. Unmold and serve.

Fish Mold:

For India customers, please go to Amazon.in and search.
Example – https://www.amazon.in/Generic-Shape-Chocolate-Jelly-Sugarcraft/dp/B082Q1QL48

The Forgotten Christmas Pudding

Rhea Mitra Dalal mixes and steams portions of Katy's Christmas pudding made with fruits soaked in alcohol for over a year at her Belvedere Road kitchen. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar
Rhea Mitra Dalal mixes and steams portions of Katy’s Christmas pudding made with fruits soaked in alcohol for over a year at her Belvedere Road kitchen. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar

Nothing makes a better end to a Christmas dinner than a rich, dense Christmas pudding. Home chef Rhea Mitra Dalal is keeping the steam and spirit alive.

The days are getting cooler and it will be winter soon. We found a nice article on the forgotten Christmas pudding.

On Belvedere Road in Mazagaon, we look for a signboard for Katy’s Kitchen. We’re told they make the best Christmas pudding in town. Minutes later, we are escorted by a staffer to an old, one-storied building. Walking up its high stairs, a toasty, intoxicating fragrance of goodness simmering on a warm afternoon engulfs us. Home chef Rhea Mitra Dalal welcomes us into what looks like a one-room kholi, lined with old trunks, vintage chairs, white tables, large degs or aluminium pots and intricate railings of windows from a long, long forgotten Bombay.

Dalal’s love affair and entrepreneurial association with food started in 2000, when she married into a Parsi family that had an established catering business. In 1976, Dalal’s mother-in-law, famed cook and archaeologist Katy Dalal had started a catering service from her home in Fort and expanded it into one of the best in the business. “She was happy to have me join in, bring new ideas to the table and be a helping hand. When she passed away 10 years ago, I changed the name from Dalal Enterprises to Katy’s Kitchen in her honour. Most of our staff is trained by her,” says Dalal.

Katy had travelled the world with her shippy husband, being adventurous with food and experimenting with local delicacies. One such find was the Christmas pudding they tried in England. The taste had stayed with Katy for long after and she recreated the recipe, referring to a couple of books. Eventually, she started making it for family and friends, and later, clients. “She was very confident of her recipe and the result had been consistently good; so, we took the plunge. Even today, making Christmas pudding is my most precious activity in the year. I feel I am carrying her recipe forward, hence the name Katy’s Christmas pudding. She may not have invented it, but she did things her way.”

The preparations start a year in advance, when Dalal soaks raisins, fruits and spices in brandy and rum for the next December’s batch. “I find it amusing how it has become a trend for five-star hotels to organise the annual cake-mixing ceremony one month before Christmas. The fruits need to be soaked for long for the flavours to develop. One year, when we couldn’t make puddings, and the fruits kept soaking until we made a batch the following year; the clients had loved it the most. So last year onwards, we started to make an extra batch that would be used two years later,” says Dalal.

Pudding V/S Cake

Puddings don’t have the bulk of the flour, nor are there leavening and rising agents. Its density comes from being packed with rich ingredients like almond flour, apples and vegetables. Also, since it is steamed, not baked, the balance is different, as is the texture. The pudding won’t rise more than half a centimetre.

Katy’s Christmas pudding is priced at Rs 1,700 (large), R900 (medium), and available on order Call/WhatsApp 9820904694

Photo credit – Aaron Santos

When the fruit is drained, the Dalals retain the beautifully flavoured mother liquid that keeps maturing over the years. The soaked fruit is well-drained and added to the final mix of flour, almond flour, sugar, jaggery, butter, eggs, apples and vegetables to achieve a multi-layered taste. It is packed densely in a mould, sealed and steamed for around six hours to be thoroughly cooked through. “The pudding is thick and because it is in a sealed container, steam doesn’t get in easily. It has to heat uniformly and cook through the middle,” says Dalal.


The first batch of Katy’s Christmas puddings are steamed by December 1 so that they can be couriered to the outstation clients. “What’s Christmas without a Christmas pudding after all,” smiles Dalal. “These can be had immediately or when well-sealed and refrigerated, even after a year,” she adds.

Katy Dalal, my mom in law, started a catering business from home many years ago. As she tried out new dishes and cuisines her popularity grew as did her skills and knowledge in the kitchen. One of her biggest successes has been the Christmas Pudding with Brandy Butter.

I started helping her with the making after K and I were married and I always found it to be one the most fun things to do with her. I like to believe it also made her happy to see me pitching in.

Piles of raisins, black currants, dried prunes and a host of other, then unfamiliar, ingredients would be cleaned  and then put in a huge plastic barrel. Then endless bottles of rum and brandy would be poured in, and K would also fling in the leftovers from random opened bottles of wine and other suitable liquor that was handy. In a week the alcohol would have to be topped up as the shriveled fruit would be plump with the booze and would have risen way above the alcohol in the barrel. The barrel would be sealed up and forgotten till a week before Christmas.

Large quantities of juicy red winter carrots have to be grated. Along with this a mountain of apples are grated.








Fresh bread crumbs, white flour, demerara sugar, molasses, candied ginger, ground almonds, butter, freshly powdered nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom, and eggs are all mixed in a huge vat. The soaking fruit is drained and then added to the mix.






The tins are buttered and lined with butter paper. Then the pudding mix is filled in, topped with a circlet of butter paper and then sealed either with a lid or with aluminium foil. The larger pudding moulds come with a lid, the smaller ones don’t.







Steam the puddings for 4 hours and they are ready to be dispatched. We recommend that the puddings be steamed once again for an hour before serving.

The brandy butter is a delicious accompaniment to this pudding. Blend regular salted butter with powdered sugar and a generous dash of brandy. Chill the butter till it is nice and hard.

Ma in Law would serve the pudding with a dash of drama. She would light half a cup of brandy and pour it over the pudding. We would put off the lights of course!

I have taken over the mantle of Christmas Pudding maker now. And I look forward to Christmas every year when we do a special Christmas menu and these traditional Christmas Puddings.

Photo credit – Ketan Pandit

You can purchase Katy Dalal’s “Delicious Encounters: Innovative Recipes Parsi, Indian and Western Paperback Cookbook” for a low price from here:

A Parsi Story: Sugar in the Milk

I would like to take you on a journey into the culture, and nuances of the Parsi Cuisine of India. I would like to present to you the famous Story of Parsi immigration (into India) and their welcome with “Sugar in the Milk”.

One of the oldest stories of Sugar and Milk in Parsis (Parsi / Parsee Zoroastrians) folklore, comes from the time when they came over from Persia (modern day land of Iraq and Iran and other countries) to save themselves and their religious faith. They landed in Sanjan a port in the Indian State of Gujarat. The King Jadhav Rana, who was the ruler of the land and a good one. The language of Indians and Persians was different, so to welcome the strangers and communicate that the land was already filled with people to the brim, he sent them a full glass of milk. The Zoroastrian priests immediately got the message and since they were peace loving religious people, they wanted to send back a message that they would make the land and community richer and more prosperous by their good values, knowledge and hard work. The Parsis added sugar to the glass of milk. The King Jadhav Rana was so impressed with this gesture that he granted them asylum and welcomed them with gifts and helped them settle in the new land of India. Parsis thus settled and assimilated, blended in India like sugar in the milk.

Parsis even though a minority, have enriched the Indian economy, even fighting in the independence movement with Mahatma Gandhi against the British Rule. The major industrialists like the Tata’s, Godrej and Dadabhai Navroji are among the most well-known Parsis.

The Indian and global Parsi community is well-known, for its charity, philanthropy and support for  good causes. Their core belief is “Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds”. In keeping with their promise to King Jadhav Rana in 936 CE, at the time of being provided shelter, the Parsis have endeavored to sweeten the country by their good deeds.

You may have heard of many Parsis, including the rock icon and lead singer of Queen –  Freddie Mercury, Harvard University’s Director of the Mahindra Humanities Center  – Dr. Homi Bhabha and the  Los Angeles and New York  Philharmonic  Orchestra’s Conductor – Zubin Mehta.  The Tata Company is one of the largest in the world and now owns premier automotive brands like Land Rover and Jaguar. The founder of the business empire was a Parsi: Jamshedji Tata.

The Parsi connection to the British Royal family spans generations. Queen Elizabeth of England, Prince Charles, Prince William and Kate Middleton enjoy Parsi banquets held in their honor.

Navroze on March 21 the day of equinox marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in the Zoroastrian Fasli and Kadmi Calendar. The Parsis who immigrated to India celebrate the same on March 21st each year and the festival is called Jamshedi Navroze. Falooda drink or Rose Milk  is enjoyed to mark the celebration of spring with nature’s Tookmuria (subja seeds), Sev, Milk, Ice-Cream and Rose.

Falooda recipe by Rita Jamshed Kapadia

Over 400 Recipes and Stories are available in Rita’s Parsi Cuisine Cookbooks. These are a labor of love. The cookbooks began in an effort to maintain and preserve Parsi recipes and traditions for the next generation, many of whom have been raised in USA, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Canada and other countries outside of India.

Cookbooks on Parsi Cuisine are sold on Amazon and at ParsiCuisine.com

Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Rita-Jamshed-Kapadia/e/B00I2V9KKA

 on the web at www.ParsiCuisine.com

The author Rita Jamshed Kapadia resides in USA. Rita learnt from her Mother Parin and Mother-in-Law Jaloo the favorites and staples of a parsi home. Inspired by old traditional parsi cookbooks like the “Vividh Vani”, Rita has come up with homemade recipes.

Rita Jamshed Kapadia has the recipe blog established 1999, ParsiCuisine.com, now with 250,000 followers and over 302,000 hits from all over the world. Rita has authored “Parsi Cuisine, The Manna of the 21st Century” and 12 individual series cookbooks with matched digital e-cookbooks; She was recently invited to Carlisle’s Gleason Library and the Boston Athenaeum, Boston, MA to demonstrate and talk about Parsi Food. You can follow the author on Twitter @ParsiCuisine and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ParsiCuisine.


Shab-e Yalda: When Light Shines and Goodness Prevails

Yalda on December 21 is celebrated in many parts of the world. Eating watermelon in the winter is believed to keep you healthy in the new year. Watermelon seeds are one of the items in the health food – parsi vasanu and the gujarati word is “char jat nu magaj”.

Yalda Festival  Table

(Shab e Cheleh)

By Rita Jamshed Kapadia

Shab-e Yalda: When Light Shines and Goodness Prevails

Everywhere in the world, people observe various seasonal days of celebration during the month of December. Most are religious holy days and are linked in some way to the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. Yalda, an ancient Iranian Festival, is celebrated on the eve of the winter solstice and goes several thousand years back in the country’s history. The tradition originated from the Mithraism religion. “Yalda” is a Syriac word meaning birth, and it was believed that Mithra, the Persian angel of light, was born during that night, which was then called Yalda.

Yalda is  a Syric word imported into the Persian language by the Syric Christians. Early Christians linked this very ancient Persian celebration to Mithra, goddess of light, and to the birth anniversary of Prophet Jesus. Ancient Iranian Zoroastrians believed that on December 21 darkness is defeated by light. On this night, family and friends get together. Dried nuts, watermelon and pomegranate juices and delicious snack are served. Classic poetry and old mythologies are read aloud.

As the longest night of the year, the Eve of Yalda (Shab-e Yalda) on December 21 is also a turning point, after which the days grow longer. It symbolizes the triumph of Light and Goodness over the powers of Darkness. During this night, Iranian Americans, along with Iranians around the globe, hold gatherings and stay up late, eating pomegranate, watermelon and a variety of nuts. They also read poetry, especially by the poet Hafez, who is a highly respected and adored 14th-century Persian mystic poet. Hafez’s poetry books have been gaining a foothold in American classrooms and popularity among Americans. Here is a line in the poetry of Hafez that I found interesting – “Look at the sun in quest of light, you may find it.”

Many varieties of fruits and sweetmeats are specially prepared for this festival. In some areas it is believed that forty varieties of edibles should be served during the ceremony of the night of Chelleh. The most typical is watermelon especially kept from summer for this ceremony. It is believed that consuming watermelons on the night of Chelleh will ensure the health and well-being of the individual during the months of summer by protect­ing him/her from falling victim to excessive heat or disease produced by hot summers. Another common practice on the night of Chelleh involves young engaged men. The bachelors send a platter containing seven kinds of fruits to their fiancées on this night. The girl and her family can return the favor by sending gifts back for the young man.

The Parsi community has been celebrating with a “Haft-seen Table”  at Navroze (Nawruz) events, why not celebrate with a “Yalda Table” in the December Holiday season as well ?

FEZANA requested to create some yalda recipes. Being a indian where Yalda is not celebrated by my Parsi community, this was a challenge. Many days of research and creating  food using water melon, pumpkin seeds and other middle eastern foods, I have these easy to make Recipes for the Yalda Night below.

Here are 3 recipes created for your Yalda Table.

Sweet & Sour Pomegranate Drink

Sweet and Sour Drink

Nutty Feta Cheese Spread

Nutty Feta Cheese Spread

Sweet and Salty Spread to go with your favorite crackers !

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Snack

Pumpkin seeds are also called “Magaj” or “Magaz” in India and are highly nutritious.

These seeds are one of the ingredients in the parsi favorite “Vasanu”.

Fruit Kebabs

Simple watermelon and feta cheese kebabs.

The flavor of watermelon and feta cheese explodes in your mouth. Try it sometime.



– Rita Jamshed Kapadia

About Rita: Since 1999, Rita Kapadia, founder of ParsiCuisine.com, has provided recipes, food news, health tips and articles on this website. Recently, Rita has published several Parsi Cuisine cookbooks. Cookbooks are sold on Amazon.com worldwide. Our Parsi Cuisine cookbooks are a labor of love. The cookbooks began in an effort to maintain and preserve our recipes and traditions for the next generation, many of whom have been raised in USA, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Canada and other countries outside of India.

Turkey Day Candy

Edible Candy Turkeys

You will need:

Bag of Candy Corn

Cupcake containers

Blanched Almonds for garnish

Reeses Peanut Butter Cups

Oreo Cookies with thick cream center

Chocolate covered Raisins


Take a Oreo cookie and stick a peanut butter for the turkey body.

Stick a chocolate covered raisin on top for the head of the turkey.

Stick in the cream filling of the oreo cookie, candy corn for feathers.

Stick on little flecks of cream for the eyes and your turkey candy is done!

Place in the cupcake container in a bed of soft parsi ravo to finish.

Jardaloo ma Gosht

Jardalu ma Marghi (Chicken with Apricots)

Chicken with Apricots / Jardalu ma Marghi *


Jardalu ma marghi is one of those fruit-and-meat dishes that reach far back into ancient Parsi culinary history, long before the migration to India. The starring ingredient in this royal dish is a type of apricot that comes to us from central Asia. Its scientific name is the same as for other apricots, Prunus armeniaca, so the only way we can distinguish a jardalu from the rest is to call it a Hunza apricot, as they do in Britain, or a jardalu in Gujarati. The Hindi/Urdu word, zardalu, means yellow plum.

Niggling matters of nomenclature aside, this homely, wrinkled little dried fruit is truly regal in its taste.

Since it belongs to the category of sweet-kernel apricots, it contains a surprise. Crack the pit and you get a tiny nut that’s indescribably delicious, well worth the effort to get at it. Carefully remove the pits from the poached jardalus when they are cool enough to handle.

Recipe serves 6


  • Jardalu kernels

  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound jardalus (1 1/2 to 2 cups)

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 6 to 8 chicken thighs

  • 2 teaspoons Ginger-Garlic Paste

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 3 dried red chiles

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 2 (2-inch-long) sticks cinnamon or cassia

  • 5 whole cloves

  • 3 cardamom pods

  • 1 large onion, very thinly sliced

  • Salt to taste

  • 1/4 cup Madeira (Malmsey) or cream sherry


  1. Rinse the jardalus. Combine the sugar with 1 to 1 1/2 cups hot water and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour this over the jardalus and add enough additional water to come a couple of inches above them. Stir to combine. Let the jardalus soak for a few hours or overnight.

  2. Put the jardalus and their liquid in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook the jardalus, uncovered, until they darken and plump up. Some people just soak the jardalus, but I think they need cooking to release their full flavor. (Pit them and remove the kernels, if you like)

  3. Sear the chicken in a heavy skillet over high heat until the thighs are browned and have rendered their excess fat. Coat them with the paste and set aside at least 30 minutes.

  4. Heat the oil in the same skillet. Add the chiles, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom and sizzle until the aroma rises and the chiles look toasted. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens. Add the chicken. Combine well with the onion and spices. Add enough water and jardalu poaching liquid to cover. Add salt to taste. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Check for salt and sugar. Finish with the Madeira.

  5. Add the jardalus only when you’ are ready to serve so they don’t break up before you present the dish.

* This recipe is from cookbooks:

  1. Cookbook: Parsi Cuisine Manna of the 21st Century.

  2. Cookbook: Parsi Cuisine Series, Meats.

Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving

While Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for family, Friendsgiving gives us an opportunity to be thankful for friends.

As we get into the cold winter months, one starts getting into the holiday mood. Libraries start their holiday programs. Shop and Malls get decorated with Holiday decor and sales pop-up to sell you the latest gadgets and kitchen gizmos. Basic items for roasting a turkey – Turkey pan, Gravy boats and pie plates, platters, casseroles all out are out for the holiday season!

Thanksgiving is usually a family meal in an American Tradition. We celebrate it each year with gusto.  Here is a traditional menu keeping in mind the local New England harvest of corn, cranberries, yams and potatoes.

Appetizers of cheese and nuts, chicken puffs, nachos and dips. 
Roast Turkey
Fresh garlic bread
Baked carrots, or Baked yams
Corn on the side
Green beans casserole
Cranberry sauce
Mashed potatoes
Dessert is an american Apple pie or a Mincemeat Pie

Festivities and meal preparation begin around noon, with a plan to eat “dinner” in the late afternoon.

Friendsgiving is is everything like the above Thanksgiving except with friends! As immigrants many of us are by ourselves and come as students, there is no family around. If one is fortunate you get invited to a thanksgiving meal at a co-workers home. 

Or throw a small Friendsgiving and enjoy the warmth of company. Make new friends and get going on a Happy Friendsgiving!

 🦃🦃🦃 Looking forward to celebrating with you all then!  🦃🦃🦃

Eggless Bhakra Gluten free and Vegan – Vegetarians rejoice!

Parsi Bhakra most of the time have eggs to get that cake-like consistency and flavor. I got a request from a dear friend who is vegetarian and she wanted eggless bhakhra.

Vividh Vani which inspires me to get old recipes did not have an eggless bhakra recipe.

Googling the eggless bhakra words gave me a recipe on Bawarchi.com. However I did not think it would work for fluffy ones, so I have filed it to try later.

Time and Talents club book. FOUND THE RECIPE. Not only is the bhakra made from an organic maize rava which is gluten free, vegan and no eggs. Vegetarians rejoice!

I found the maize rava on the amazon grocery store.

Eggless Bhakhra of Maize Rava flour
(makes 6)

2 table spoon maize rava (Neotea Organic Corn Maize Rava)
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoon of sugar
2 teaspoon ghee (clarified butter)
2 tea spoon Yogurt (curd)
Ghee or oil for frying


Mix all the ingredients together, roll out and cut into rounds and fry till golden brown.

Recipe from: Time and Talents club book.

Maize Rava (Neotea Organic Corn Maize Rava)

It is also a rich source of many vitamins and minerals.

Often trying to lose weight becomes a burden

it is naturally gluten free and a better option than other grains

Corn contains a high amount of carbohydrates.

100% natural

White Pumpkin Preserve

White Pumpkin Preserve “Kohra no Murambo”

“Kohra (White Pumpkin)  Murambo (Preserve)” recipe is included in the cookbook .

White Pumpkin Preserve is flavored with hints of cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg with an amber caramel color which come from hours of gently simmering the grated pumpkin.

Truly,  this Kohra no Murambo is a labor of love in the finest traditions of the Parsis.  Kohru is white or orange pumpkin found in USA. Hence, I prefer to name it White Pumpkin Preserve in keeping with the traditions of the new land we have made our homes in.

The native Indians brought gifts of the autumn harvest to the Thanksgiving feast held with the Pilgrims. The Autumn Harvest of Sweet Potatoes, Yams, Butternut Squash, Green Beans, Peas, Cranberries, Potatoes, Corn, Apples, Pears, included varieties of Gourds and Pumpkins.

White Pumpkin Preserve for your Thanksgiving Table
White Pumpkin Preserve for your Thanksgiving Table

WHITE PUMPKIN MURUMBO (Pumpkin preserve or jam)


2 1/4 lb. round white pumpkin

Sugar Weigh grated pumpkin together with its water then weigh sugar equal to half the weight of the pumpkin.

4 inches cinnamon stick

3/4 tsp. mixed cardamom and nutmeg powder

Peel pumpkin, remove seed section then grate pumpkin.

Weigh grated pumpkin together with its water then weigh sugar equal to half the weight of the pumpkin.

Put sugar grated pumpkin and pumpkin water together with cinnamon stick in a large pan.

Heat on stove and bring mixture to the boil. Lower heat cover and cook 10 minutes.

Uncover pan and continue cooking on medium heat till all the liquid has evaporated and pumpkin is golden brown.

Sprinkle cardamom and nutmeg powder and mix. Cool thoroughly and store in air tight jars.

It keeps for several weeks. Refrigerate for longer storage.

Milk Peda

Doodh Peda

#Doodh #Peda #Homemade #MilkPeda #Recipe #Diwali #Special #Sweet #doodhpeda #diwali2019

Doodh Peda | Sweets & Savouries
Sweets are those delicacies that make a definite appearance in every Indian festival and function, be it Diwali, a housewarming party or a wedding function. And doodh peda is one of the most common sweets at these occasions. Yet, most people prefer to order them from sweet shops rather than preparing them at home. Maybe they believe it to be a hard to prepare sweet. Yet, I believe that Doodh Peda’s are one of the easiest and simplest sweets to be made. Here is a simple recipe you can follow to prepare those Heavenly and Delish Peda’s without much hassle.

Milk – 1 liter
Fresh Paneer – 200 gms
Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
Rose water – 1 tsp
Milk powder – 75 gms
Sugar – 6 tsp

1.Boil a litre of whole milk in a wide saucepan.
2.Once it comes to a boil, reduce the flame to a medium high.
3.Let it boil until the quantity of the milk reduces to half and thickens. Keep stirring so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom surface.
4.Once the milk quantity reduces, add the fresh finely grated paneer to the saucepan.
5.Reduce the flame and gently mix it in.
6.Now, add the cardamom powder, rose water and milk powder. Keep stirring the contents as you add each ingredient.
7.Add about six teaspoons of sugar. Mix the contents until the sugar is properly blended in.
8.Now, cook it on a medium flame until it is of a thick and dry consistency.
9.Once the moisture is completely evaporated, turn off the stove and keep it aside to cool the mixture.
10.Once the mixture is cool, grind it using a mixer to get a nice and smooth consistency.
11.Now, dab a little bit of ghee in your palms and take a bit of the ground peda mixture in your hands.
12.The ghee won’t let the Peda mixture stick to your hands.
13.Roll the mixture into small balls and using your fingers gently dab them to form small even shaped peda’s.
14.Garnish it by sprinkling some kesar over it.
15.Your Doodh Peda is ready to be served.

1. Make sure you dab enough ghee on your palms as the ghee won’t let the Peda mixture stick to your hands.
2. Since it is a milk sweet, consume it while still fresh. Do not let it get stale.
3. You can increase or decrease the amount of sugar added based on your preference.

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Doodh Peda

Doodh Peda#Doodh #Peda #Homemade #MilkPeda #Recipe #Diwali #Special #Sweet #doodhpeda #diwali2019Doodh Peda | Sweets & SavouriesSweets are those delicacies that make a definite appearance in every Indian festival and function, be it Diwali, a housewarming party or a wedding function. And doodh peda is one of the most common sweets at these occasions. Yet, most people prefer to order them from sweet shops rather than preparing them at home. Maybe they believe it to be a hard to prepare sweet. Yet, I believe that Doodh Peda's are one of the easiest and simplest sweets to be made. Here is a simple recipe you can follow to prepare those Heavenly and Delish Peda's without much hassle. Ingredients:Milk – 1 literFresh Paneer – 200 gms Cardamom powder – 1/2 tspRose water – 1 tsp Milk powder – 75 gms Sugar – 6 tsp GheeSaffronMethod:1.Boil a litre of whole milk in a wide saucepan. 2.Once it comes to a boil, reduce the flame to a medium high. 3.Let it boil until the quantity of the milk reduces to half and thickens. Keep stirring so that it doesn't stick to the bottom surface. 4.Once the milk quantity reduces, add the fresh finely grated paneer to the saucepan. 5.Reduce the flame and gently mix it in. 6.Now, add the cardamom powder, rose water and milk powder. Keep stirring the contents as you add each ingredient. 7.Add about six teaspoons of sugar. Mix the contents until the sugar is properly blended in. 8.Now, cook it on a medium flame until it is of a thick and dry consistency. 9.Once the moisture is completely evaporated, turn off the stove and keep it aside to cool the mixture. 10.Once the mixture is cool, grind it using a mixer to get a nice and smooth consistency. 11.Now, dab a little bit of ghee in your palms and take a bit of the ground peda mixture in your hands. 12.The ghee won't let the Peda mixture stick to your hands. 13.Roll the mixture into small balls and using your fingers gently dab them to form small even shaped peda's. 14.Garnish it by sprinkling some kesar over it. 15.Your Doodh Peda is ready to be served. Tips:1. Make sure you dab enough ghee on your palms as the ghee won't let the Peda mixture stick to your hands. 2. Since it is a milk sweet, consume it while still fresh. Do not let it get stale. 3. You can increase or decrease the amount of sugar added based on your preference. WEBSITE: http://www.21frames.in/homecookingFACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/HomeCookingShowINSTAGRAM – https://www.instagram.com/homecooking…TWITTER – https://twitter.com/VentunoCookingA Ventuno Production : http://www.ventunotech.com

Posted by Home cooking on Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Happy Diwali and a very prosperous New Year

Happy Diwali and a very Happy prosperous New Year !
Happy Diwali and a very Happy prosperous New Year !

Five Festive Days of Diwali

Diwali also known as the Festival of Lights is a five days Hindu festival, celebrated between mid-October and mid-November. Deepawali or Diwali is the biggest Hindu festival among all, celebrates to victory of the Good over the Evil and Light over Darkness.

The Festival of Lights commemorates the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after 14-years of Vanvas other associates events are killing of Narakasura and Return of Pandavas after 12 year. Five Days of Diwali starting from Dhanteras to Bhaiduj but in Maharashtra it starts with Vasu Baras, the cow and calf are worship on this day.

धनतेरस (Dhanteras)


The first day of Diwali festival is named as Dhanteras falls on 13th day of 2nd half of lunar month. Dhanteras is considered as one of the most auspicious day by Hindu to for buying utensils,silver coins,gold and vehicle. Dhanteras is celebrate as birth of Sri Dhanvantari God, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu as the physician of the gods.

नर्क चतुर्दशी (Naraka Chaturdasi)

The second day of Diwali is celebrate as Naraka Chaturdasi or Kali Chaudas, demon Narakasura was killed by Lord Shri Krishna, An Avatar of Lord Vishnu. During the day Hindus get up before the sun rise take a holy bath and then clean or new clothes are worn followed by breakfast with relatives and friends.

(लक्ष्मी पूजा) Lakshmi Puja

The third day of Diwali is known as Lakshmi Puja, the most important day among the five days of festival. Lakshmi Puja is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi,the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune, prosperity and the embodiment of beauty.

Lakshmi Mata, the goddess of wealth is worship as Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati and Mahakali with Lord Ganesha, the God of auspicious beginnings with light lamps in the every corner of home to welcome prosperity.

(गोवर्धन पूजा) Govardhan Puja

The fourth day is Diwali is celebrate as Govardhan Puja and Bali Pratipada also known as Padava. Govardhan Puja is celebrated as the day Krishna defeated Indra asked the people to worship nature.

(भैयादूज) Bhai Dooj

The last day of the five days long Diwali festival end with Bhai Dooj, The day when sisters pray for long and happy lives for their brothers. Bhai Dooj is also called as Yama Dwitiya,Bhai Tika or Bhai Bij, brothers and sisters share their love for each other with an Aarti,meal and gifts.

Play a trivia game with kids and family this Diwali 🙂

Trivia game questions: (answers below)

  1. What is Hanuman’s mother’s name?

  2. Which Hindu month Diwali is observed on?

  3. What does the Sikh community call Diwali?

  4. Who killed Narakasura?

  5. What type of oil is traditionally used to light lamps?

  6. In Diwali celebrations what is celebrated on last days?

  7. In which country the Festival of Light is known as Lin Kriyongh?

  8. For how many days Diwali is celebrated according to lunar Hindu calendar?

  9. Which country celebrates the lantern Festival of Lights?

  10. Playing cards during Diwali is part of celebrations in which Indian metropolis?

  11. Name the sweet made during Diwali?

  12. Sita’s three sisters and their husbands –  name them?


  1.  Anjani

  2. Ashwin

  3. Bandichhorh diwas.

  4. Lord Krishna

  5. Mustard

  6. Yama Dwitiya.  Bhaiduj.

  7. Thailand.

  8. 5 days

  9. China

  10. Delhi

  11. Gujia.

  12. Urmila married to Lakshman. Mandavi to Bharat. Shrutkirti to Shatrughan.

Cooking with the Parsis. - Delightful article from NYTimes. - http://www.parsicuisine.com/cooking-with-the-parsis/

Cooking With the Parsis

Cooking With the Parsis; Parsi: Indian Spices, Mideastern Cooking; Tehmina Alphonse’s Parsi Recipes

  • Method for Making Ghee
  • Kheema Kebabs (Spiced meatballs)
  • Mango Kulfi
  • Dhansak (Chicken with lentil puree)

By Craig Claiborne


WOULD YOU come to dinner?” Tehmina Alphonse asked. “I will prepare you the traditional meal of the Parsis in India. Our culture is very distinct from the rest of the Indian culture, although we have adopted a lot of the customs of the land that we call ours now. Cooking with the Parsis is unique in toe sense LIICL it combines Middle Eastern cooking with Indian spices and herbs providing tastes and flavors very typical the Indian subcontinent

Helping ourselves from a platter of dhansak, warming, pacifying dish made with a velvet‐smooth puree of lentils and spiced chicken, we learned far more about aspects of Parsi‐Indian culture than’we had ever known.

The Parsis are followers of Zoroaster, one of the great teachers of the East. He is to his followers Jesus is to Christians and Moses is to Jews. The precise period of his birth is debated but, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th edition), some sources “place him 5,000 years after the Trojan War, [others] 6,000 years before the death of Plato,” who lived 300 years before Christ.

The encyclopedia adds that the religion of the Zoroastrians teaches them benevolence as the first principle and no people practice it with more liberality.

The Parsis emigrated to India from Iran in the ninth century during the time of the Asian conquest and were welcomed hospitably by the Hindu priests. No one knows, Mrs. Alphonse was saying, precisely what foods their ancestors brought with them to India, but they assimilated well and adopted well to Indian customs.

“This is, perhaps, the most typical of all Parsi meals, the foods that are hungered for the world over when Parsis travel,” she said.

“The name ‘dhansak,’ “ she went on, “derives from two words, ‘dhan,’ meaning rice, and ‘sak,’ meaning lentils; Actually, the main dish of the meal is the chicken with lentil purée and brown rice served separately. It isn’t brown rice as you know it in this country, but it is made with white basmati, or Indian rice, and the

color comes from browned onions and spices.”

Mrs. Alphonse speculated that the .dish might well have had its origins in a Persian dish, known in modernday Iran as adas polio ba morgh. It is made with rice, lentils and chicken, but is spare of spices other than a touch of turmeric. Dhansak is far more elaborate, with such Indian spices as cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon and chilies.

One of the compelling things about the meal served in the Alphonse home was its inspired marriage flavors. It involved fine juxtapositions of flavors—the delicate, subtle spiced lentil purée and chicken, complemented with cachumber, which is a simple, piquant “chutney” made with tomatoes and onions, green chillies, coriander leaves and a light lacing of vinegar.

That, plus kheema kebabs, Kebab, incidentally, is Persian word meaning meat or fowl, generally cooked over a charcoal fire. In this case they were ground meatballs about the size of Ping‐Pong balls, made with ground beef, chilies and spices.

Mrs. Alphonse said that though she now uses a great deal of beef, in her native India lamb is the basis of the vast majority of meat dishes.

The meal ended with seductive mango ice cream, smooth, satiny and creamy as if it had been handchurned, although it had been prepared in a standard home freezer. It is known as kulfi.

Our hostess, who became an American citizen last year, is married to a Haitian electronics engineer, Gerard Alphonse, who is a researcher at the nearby RCA David Sarnoff Research Center, The Alphonses ‘ have three children.

Mrs. Alphonse said that she encounters few problems in finding all she needs for her Parsi kitchen in Manhattan. On her visits to New York, which are infrequent, she stocks up on Indian spices from the small Indian enclave around 28th and 29th Streets and Lexington Avenue. Most of the foods come from the Kalustyan Orient Expert Trading Corporation, 123 Lexington Avenue between 2Sth and 29th Streets.

In addition, she receives, with fair frequency, a “care” package from her grandmother in Bombay, who taught her how to cook. Mrs. Alphonse’s mother, by the way, is a politician in Bombay and is deeply involved in charity work.

Mrs. Alphonse says that she likes highly spiced hot dishes. She learned early, she said, that some of her American friends were not equally enthusiastic about hot green chilies.

“The first meal I cooked I made to suit my taste,” she said. “A few bites later, all the guests were perspiring from the upper lips to the back of their necks. Since then I’ve been very careful about the use of chilies, red or green.”

Mrs. Alphonse asserts that she may have the only complete set of cookware from England by way of India. “My aunt passed through New York and Princeton several months ago,” she said, “and she was appalled that my kitchen wasn’t better equipped. When she got home she sent me all the utensils, mostly British, she had accumulated over the years.”

Put one pound (an arbitrary amount) of butter in a heavy saucepan and place it over low heat. When it melts, let cook about 45 minutes one hour. Do not cover and do not add any other ingredients including water. Stir often as it boils. Watch the butter carefully so that it does not darken or discolor. When the foam on the surface of the butter sinks to the bottom and the bottom is caramel‐colored, the butter is ready to strain. Pour the clear liquid through a very fine strainer. That is ghee. The solids that remain may be discarded, or you may add a 14‐ounce can of condensed milk and one‐half cup slivered, blanched almonds to the saucepan with these solids and cook until caramelized. Pour into a buttered dish. Let cool and serve as you would caramel candy..

2 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee (see method for making ghee) 1 cup finely chopped onion 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves, optional 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint or use half the amount dried 1 or 2 hot green peppers, seeded or not, finely chopped 2 teaspoons cumin seeds 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger ½ teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon garam masala, see note Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 1 egg, beaten 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce Oil for deep frying, optional.

1. Place the meat in a mixing bowl. 2. Melt the butter in a skillet and when it is melted, add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned. Cool slightly. 3. Add the onion to the meat. Add the remaining ingredients except oil. The mixture may be used now, but it is best if left to stand two hours. 4. When ready to cook, deep‐fry the balls. Or preheat the broiler or preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Or prepare a charcoal grill. Arrange the meatballs on a baking dish and broil , or bake, turning as necessary. Or cook them on the grill, turning often. Cooking time will vary according to the method used. Cook until medium well done. Yield: About 26 meatballs. Note: Garam masala is sold in Indian markets including those in the vicinity of Lexington Avenue and 28th Street. 1 cup mango slices in syrupy, see note 1 cup mango, pulp, see note 1 14‐ounce can sweetened condensed milk 1 cup heavy cream 2 cups milk ⅛ teaspoon grated nutmeg ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla exxtract

1. Put the mangoes with syrup and mango pulp into the container of food processor or electric blender. Blend to a fine puree. Add the condensed milk.

2. Add the cream and milk and blend well. Add the nutmeg and vanilla extract.

3. Pour the mixture into small molds (in India there are special aluminum molds in individual sizes for freezing kulfi) and place in the freezer and freeze. Unmold and serve.

Yield: 8 or more servings.

Note: Mrs. Alphonse recommends the Alphonso brand of mango slices and mango pulp. These are available at Kalustyan Orient Expert Trading Corporation, 123 Lexington Avenue. Note, too, that the mango slices and pulp may he omitted and the contents of a threeounce package of ground almonds substittited. Ground pistachio nuts may be substituted for the ground almonds.

2 three – to – three – and – one half‐pound chickens, see recipe for chicken for dhansak) 2 cups toover dal (yellow lentils), see note 1 cup channa dal (yellow split peas), see note 1 cup masoor dal (red lentils), see note . ¼ cup val peas (dried field peas), see note ¼ cup mung beans (dried and split), see note Water to cover plus 2 to 3 cups 1 or 2 potatoes, about half a pound, peeled and quartered or cut into eighths 1 small eggplant, trimmed, or use a slice from a larger eggplant, weighing about one‐third pound 6 spinach leaves, rinsed well ½ cup cooked red pumpkin or use half a package frozen cooked squash 1 small sweet potato, about onequarter pound, peeled and quartered 4 scallions, trimmed and chopped 1 medium‐size onion, about six ounces, peeled and quartered 2 tomatoes, about . three‐quarters pound, peeled and chopped 2 or more teaspoons garam masala, see note 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic ¼ teaspoon turmeric 2 to 4 green chilies, seeded or not, chopped, see note 1 cup chopped, loosely packed fresh coriander leaves, see note 2 bay leaves Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Prepare the chicken, which must marinate for a time, according to the first step in the recipe for chicken for dhansak. The cooking time for the chicken is about 40 minutes. The cooking time for the dhansak is one hour. Cook the two entities so that they finish at the same time. 2. Combine the three kinds of dal, the val peas and mung beans in a bowl and add cold water to cover to about one‐quarter inch above the mixture. Let stand one hour.

3. Empty the lentil mixture with the soaking liquid into a kettle. Add two to three cups of water or enough to cover the mixture about half an inch above the solids. Add the potatoes, eggplant, spinach, pumpkin, sweet, potato, scallions, onion, tomatoes, garam masala, ginger, garlic, turmeric, chilies, coriander and bay leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remember that the spices indicated here will produce a mildly spiced dish. Add more spices according to preference.

4. Bring to the boil and cook about one hour, stirring often from the bottom to prevent sticking and burning. Remember that peas and beans tend to stick and burn easily. The lentils must be thick when ready, but if they become heavily thick. add a little water as necessary.

5. As the lentils cook, prepare the chicken according to the recipe for chicken for dhansak.

6. When both mixtures are done, purée the lentil mixture, using a food processor. Or put it through a food mill to produce a very smooth purée. Combine the lentil puree with the chicken pieces in a clean kettle. Stir in the chicken broth and heat thoroughly. Serve with brown rice, cachumber and chutney. Serve the kheema kebabs if desired.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

Note: The lentils, beans, peas and spices listed here are available at the Indian markets on Lexington Avenue and 28th Street, including Kalustyan Orient Expert Trading Corporation, 123 Lexington Avenue between 28th and 29th Street.. Fresh coriander is available in Chinese markets in Chinatown and the open‐air markets on Ninth Avenue, plus other sources where fresh Chinese and Indian produce is sold.

2 three- to three-and-one-half-pound chickens, each cut into eight pieces 2½ tablespoons finely minced garlic 2½ tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1½ tablespoons clarified butter or ghee [see method for making ghee] 1 cup coarsely chopped onion 1 to 3 hot red peppers, depending on size and taste 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander leaves, see note 2 bay leaves 2½ teaspoons garam or dhansak masala, see note.

1. Put the chicken pieces in a bowl and add the garlic and ginger. Add salt and pepper. Rub the seasonings into the chicken pieces and cover. Let stand one hour.

2. In a heavy casserole, large enough to hold all th‐e chicken, heat the butter and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until onion starts to brown. Add the chicken pieces and the remaining ingredients.

3. Cook, turning the pieces in the casserole so that they cook evenly. Cover and continue cooking, turning the pieces as necessary, until chicken is tender, about 40 to 45 minutes. Generally speaking, it will not be necessary to add water or other liquid to this dish. If the chicken becomes dry, however, add a littlE water.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings in dhansak. (Note: See note for dhansak.)

2 onions, about three‐quarters pound 5 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee (see method for making ghee) 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic 1 teaspoon finely minced ginger 1½ teaspoons whole cumin seeds 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce I teaspoon paprika 6 whole cloves 6 whole peppercorns 3 cardamon seeds 1 one‐inch length of cinnamon stick ½ teaspoon dried thyme 4 cups rich beef broth 2½ cups basmati rice (see note) or Uncle Ben’s regular, converted rice Salt to taste 1 teaspoon lemon juice.

1. Peel the onions and cut’ them into thin slices.

2. In a skillet, heat two tablespoons of butter and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are nicely browned without burning. Remove from the heat.

3. Heat one tablespoon butter in kettle and add half the cooked onions. Reserve the remaining onions for garnish.

4. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, cloves, peppercorns, cardamon seeds, cinnamon and thyme.

5. Add the beef broth, rice, salt and lemon juice. Bring to the boil. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Fluff the rice with a two‐pronged fork and stir in the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Serve on a platter garnished with the remaining cooked onions.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings. Note: Basmati rice is sold in Indian markets, including those in the vicinity.of Lexington Avenue and 28th Street.

Malai Khaaja

Pastry filled with Cream or Malai Khaaja

Malai Khaaja

Malai Khaaja
Malai Khaaja

Method 1 (with puff pastry)


1 small cream

1 tin evaporated milk

1 lb. Mava / Khoya

3 tsp Sugar or to taste

1 tsp Elaichi Cardamom powder or to taste

1/2 tsp Nutmeg powder or to taste.

3 threads of Saffron or to taste.

(Note I prefer only cardamon/elaichi)

Puff Pastry (shells as shown in picture)

Heat the cream.

Add evaporated milk, mava or khoya.

When it boils and becomes thick, add sugar, elaichi/cardamon and rest of the ingredients.

Add almonds and or pistachios. (optional)

Cook everything together and remove from stove.

Fill in the mixture in the pre-baked puff pastry shells as shown.

Sprinkle finely chopped almonds and pistachios on the top.

Serve within 7 days.

Method 2 (with phylo dough)

Pastry filled with Cream
Pastry filled with Cream – Malai Khaaja


1 small cream

1 tin evaporated milk

1 tsp. custard powder

3 tsp Sugar or to taste

1 tsp Elaichi Cardamom powder or to taste

1/2 tsp Nutmeg powder or to taste

3 threads of Saffron or to taste

1 cup powder milk

Phylo dough (defrosted sheets)

Heat the cream.

Add evaporated milk.

When it boils and becomes thick, add sugar, elaichi/cardamon. (Note I prefer only elaichi).

Add almonds and or pistachios. (optional)

Lastly, mix custard powder in water, drop by drop as needed to make a paste, and add to the mixture.

Cook everything together and remove from stove.

Cut phylo pastry in your preferred shape. Some like it rolled up, filled like a strudel and cut, I like the square look.

Bake as per phylo dough box instrutions.

When ready, apply sugar syrup (chasni) on top.

Sprinkle almonds and pistachios on the syrup and serve immediately.

NOTE: The phylo dough gets soft and will not stay crisp. I prefer the puff pastry shells, without egg wash and sugar syrup.

Diwali Recipes

The word “Diwali” is a contraction of “Deepavali”, originating from the Sanskrit word Dīpāvalī (दीपावली) which can be translated to “Festival of Lights”.

Hence the Diwali Festival is also called the “Festival of Lights”.

Diwali is the name for the festival in North-India. In South-India the festival is called “Deepavali”.

Cook up some delicious Diwali Delights using the recipes here, and wish you a very Happy Diwali


Happy Diwali and a very Happy prosperous New Year !
Happy Diwali and a very Happy prosperous New Year !

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi

Lord Ganesha’s favorite sweet, Modaks are sweet flour dumplings stuffed with coconut, jaggery, nutmeg and saffron. This modak recipe is a steamed version, which is also known as ‘ukdiche modak’, however there is a wide variety of this Indian dessert which includes fried modak as well.

A popular dessert from Maharashtra which is consumed highly during the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, Modaks are now made in many parts of the country as well.

Due to Lord Ganesha being ‘Modakpriya’, the one who likes modak, 21 pieces of modak are served as the offering after the puja during Ganesh Chaturthi. The easy recipe, rich flavors of nuts and saffron, all of this appeals to our taste buds and make this dish an irresistible one.

Modak Mold/Ganesh Chaturthi Recipe (Aluminium Modak Mold)

  • The taste, flavor and texture of mould made modak is similar to the hand made modak

  • This is a special neivedyam that’s offered to Lord Ganesha on Ganesh Chaturti These moulds are made up high grade Plastic & Aluminium materials.

  • The Outer layer is round but inner shape is of modak

  • These molds can be stores easily to save space and are very easy to wash and clean Make Your Modak In The Best Shape With This Exquisite Modak Mould Different Cavities modak as per necessity



For the filling:
1 Cup Coconut, grated
1 Cup Jaggery
A pinch of Nutmeg
A pinch of Saffron
For the shell:
1 Cup Water
2 tsp Ghee
1 Cup Rice flour

Method to Make Modak
Prepare fillling:
1.Heat a pan, add the grated coconut and jaggery.
2.Stir for about five minutes. Add the nutmeg and saffron, mix well.
3.Cook for another five minutes and keep aside.
Prepare modak:
1.In a deep dish, boil water with ghee. Add the salt and flour. Mix well.
2.Cover the dish and cook till its half done.
3.Spread some ghee on the base of a steel bowl and while the dough is still hot, knead it well.
4.Now take a little dough, roll it into a ball, flatten it well, shape the edges into a flower pattern.
5.Put a spoonful of the filling onto the dough and seal it.
6.Put the dumplings in a muslin cloth and steam them for 10- 15 minutes. Serve.

Mushkil Asaan & Behram Yazad | Zoroastrian Friday Prayer | The Woodcutter & His Fortune

This is a Zoroastrian tradition, dedicated to
~ Mushkil Asaan & Behram Yazad ~

To hear and play the video story – please click below: 

(Note: adjust your device sound volume setting, to hear clearly)

Thanks to Yazdi Tantra and Vohuman Media

Two Angels, who are out there..
with the power to remove obstacles
and ease over all our difficulties.

May all our problems be solved.
May all our good thoughts,
sprout into good words,
and blossom in good deeds.
May all beings be happy.

Unbound gratitude to my parents and ancestors.

Mushkil Asaan & Behram Yazad | Zoroastrian Friday Prayer | The Woodcutter & His Fortune
Mushkil Asaan & Behram Yazad | Zoroastrian Friday Prayer | The Woodcutter & His Fortune
Khordad Sal Mubarak

Khordad Saal Mubarak

Khordad Sal

The birthday of Zoroaster

Khordad Sal is celebrated as the birthday of Zoroaster. This is known as the ‘Greater Noruz’ and happens six days after Navroze.

The chosen date is symbolic since the actual date of the Prophet’s birth cannot be identified accurately.

This festival is considered one of the most important in the Zoroastrian calendar. Zoroastrians gather in Fire temples for prayers and then celebrate with feasting.

Stum Food in the Muktads and Gatha days explained from Udvada

Today’s afternoon Stum – Goan potato curry with basmati rice and kachumber – a lightly tossed onion, cucumber and carrot salad with coriander leaves; some pomegranate seeds, cow’s milk, a rose and freshly drawn well water… Bon apetit!

There is deep spiritual significance behind each of these offerings as they represent the Zoroastrian religion in different classes of creation. An item from either the plant or animal or mineral or vegetable kingdom must resonate or have the same Jiram – a measure of spiritual frequency as the Zoroastrian religion in order for it to be used in any ceremony.

That is why some plants, flowers, fruits or items are never used in our ceremonies despite having good health benefits.

It is also not correct to put any dead matter like meat or fish or fowl in the Stum. It must be remembered that the Stum is for the Ruvan of the person, not the person himself. Hence the personal likes or dislikes of the person when he was alive have no bearing on what is put in the Stum which is prayed for the benefit of his Ruvan.

Editor’s Note: Marzban started Frashogard – The Journal of Ilm-e-Khshnoom, a serious quarterly publication containing for the first time, scholarly level articles on the Zarathushtrian Mystical Revelation in simple, concise English. In order to spread the reach of this Journal even further, he has set up this website and blog.

Understanding Parsi Food & Customs in the light of Zoroastrian religion

by Ervad Dr. Ramiyar Karanjia

Many a Parsi customs, because they are not properly understood or traced to Avestan times or scriptures, are believed to be of Hindu origin. This is not entirely correct as we will shortly see. Only perhaps 20% of the customs are of later origin. Some have undergone minor changes on the basis of time and place. I feel it is quite possible that many of the customs may be a part of some Nasks which are now lost. We can say so, because some of the above customs can be traced back to ancient Iran.
At the outset we will examine some customs for auspicious occasions, appropriately referred to as ‘Sagan’. The word sagan is similar to the Sanskrit word Shagun, shakun and means auspicious. Customs of auspicious occasions can be divided into four categories:

  1. FOOD

  2. SES


  4. SONGS


The different foods used for sagan represent the different creations and it is an occasion of thanksgiving to Ahura Mazda for His different creations as also a pledge to look after the creations. Sev (Vermicelli) or Rava is made of Wheat and reminds one of grains and vegetation. Also it is sweet and reminds one to have a sweet nature not only throughout that auspicious day, but throughout life. As it is made finely it also reminds us of industry.

Bananas, used along with Sev are to represent the fruits and vegetable on which we depend. Curds made from milk reminds us to take care of animal kingdom. Eggs from chicken remind us to treat our winged friends with care, whereas fish remind us to take care of creatures of water.

I will dwell a bit more on the symbolism of fish. Cooked fish, motifs of fish, replicas of fish, sweet meats made in the shape of fish are widely used for several auspicious occasions, especially those connected with Marriage. The use of fish on auspicious occasions is generally misunderstood to be a Hindu custom. However, the use of fish as a motif can be traced back to more than 2,500 years in ancient Iran. In a bas relief of Cyrus the Great at Pasargadae, not only his crown is adorned with fish, but there is also a relief depicting the lower half of a torso of a person, who one leg is fish and another of a goat.

While on food let me also dwell on Dal white rice with bland toovar dal (lentils)are generally cooked with turmeric, one of the favorite food of Parsis. It is food which all, poor and rich, can afford. Since dal is cooked on auspicious occasions as also on the sad day of Charam on the fourth day after death, it tries to tell us to treat happy and sad occasions as same. Not to get too elated when happy nor get too sad by calamities. The great Sasanian Dastur Adarbad Mahraspand compares good times to a bag of air which could easily get deflated by the slightest prick.

Editors Note: Dal is pronounced as Dar by indian parsis.

Spicy Dar like Dhansak is made on Charam, the fourth day after a death. This masala dar is also made at public Gahanbars.

Bland Dar like Dhan-dar is made with a pimch of sugar on good days like birthdays and celebrations of Navroze.

Dhandar is also one of the simplest as well as most nutritious foods. It conveys the message of being simple in food as well as life. Moreover, one needs to have nutritious food whatever the occasion in life, as without nutritious food one cannot have health, and without health one can’t live a proper life either on a physical, mental or spiritual plane.

For more articles on Zoroastrian Religion see Dr. Ramiyar Karanjia site – http://www.heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrianism/index.htm

Rice Flour Rotli

Rice Flour Rotli

Recipe tried and tested, translated from the Vividh Vani cookbook by Rita Kapadia

Chokha ni Rotli * or Rice Flour Rotli * is an age old bread enjoyed in India by the parsi community.

Yes, all rice (in its natural form) is glutenfree. This includes brown rice, white rice and wild rice. In this case, the “glutinous” term refers to the sticky nature of therice and not the gluten protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Rice is one of the most popular glutenfree grains for people with celiac disease.

The soft white rotlis are made with pure (Mill ground to number 1), a very fine ground rice flour and are very delicious to savor with meat dishes or spicy vegetables. In the rainy season they go well with the diet and are easy to digest.

How to make them is tricky, folks who make these do it so well one would think it is easy but no, it is not. I have seen the indian women and men make loads of this to serve for meals. Many people prefer white rice rotlis to the wheat ones for dietary reasons.

The trick is to knead the dough very well, the harder you knead the softer the rotli. So ladies and gentlemen get ready for some stress busting exercise with your palms and fingers!

*Also called “Roti”

I have translated this from the Vividh Vani Cookbook

There are 2 recipes for this Rotli. One is made with Milk and the other with Water. The milk rice rotli recipe will be coming up soon. Stay tuned.

Recipe with Water


1 cup Rice flour plus extra rice flour for dusting while rolling out the rotlis

3 tsp Ghee (optional)

1 cup boiling hot water

1/2 tsp Salt (optional)


Normal dough method

  1. Shift the rice flour and put in a flat container to make the dough. Typically  a thali is used.  

  2. Make a pile of the flour with a pit in the center.

  3. Boil the water piping hot with the salt and ghee. 

  4. Immediately pour this into the flour. Let the water mixture come up to the rim of the pit.

  5. Keep this for 2 minutes to get absorbed and form the dough. Add more water if needed but do not let it get too runny.

  6. Knead with both hands and palms. Wet your palms with water if needed. Knead to a soft dough.

  7. Make small balls and dust with extra flour. Keep the balls covered with a damp cloth so they do not dry out.

  8. Heat up a non stick pan or indian  tava

  9. Now start rolling out the rotli on a marble or a wooden patlo. Dust with rice flour to prevent sticking. Make it thick to start with, practice makes a perfect rotli eventually.

  10. Put on the hot tava and bake for 10 seconds. Using a spatula or tavatha Flip and bake the other side for 30 seconds. Flip again (back to the first side) and puff the rotli.

  11. In a clean Rotli Box, store the rotli in muslin cloth so it does not dry out. Any box will work, but a chapati box works the best for me. (See the chapati products from Amazon * below)

  12. Serve immediately or keep for 1 day.

There are 2 techniques for this Rotli. One is made with a normal dough process and second which is called “Khichi”.

Khichi Dough Method

In a large pot, boil rice flour, salt, and ghee.

Cover pot and keep for 1 minute to form the khichi.

Turn out onto your counter and dust the flour, knead to a smooth dough. These khichi rotli come out very soft, white and fluffy. Since the dough is semi-cooked the rotli will always be cooked thoroughly.

Proceed to make the rotli balls and rotlis as described above.

Note: Vividh Vani mentions using Rangoon Rice Flour, Mill Rice Flour, Patni Rice Flour which were products from the Eighteenth Century and an Bygone Era. Please use the best and fine ground rice flour you can locate. Here are some examples of the amazon products.

*Disclosure – “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”

Mango Murraba (Parsi Murambo) Recipe

Celebrate  with this glorious Mango Murraba anyday. #mangoseasonison #ilovemangoes #mangoisthekingoffruits #mangolove #mango


1 kg semi-ripe mangoes (any variety, but for best results and taste, either alphonso, or, even better still, the `bottle’ mango, `batli keri’. Best to use are small green, totally unripe mangoes. But then add more jaggery, according to taste.)

White or red pumpkin can be substituted.

Peaches can be substituted.

200 gms jaggery (more, if mangoes very raw and sour. Can use sugar to substitute for jaggery, but the flavor will not be the same. If using sugar, I would suggest palm or cane sugar or raw sugar.)

1-inch piece of cinnamon

2 cups water (approximately)

Salt to taste (coarse salt or rock salt)

5 Cloves (optional)

2 Bay leaves (optional)

5 Black peppercorns(optional)

5 Cardamoms (optional)


  1. Peel the mangoes, remove the seed and slice lengthwise. (Depending upon size of the mango, you can halve the lengthwise slices, as per requirement. Mango should be in chunky pieces, do not slice too thin.)

  2. Pour water in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add jaggery, cloves (optional), cinnamon, bay leaves (optional), peppercorns(optional), and cardamoms (optional) and cook over a medium flame, stirring occasionally. Once the jaggery has melted, add salt, mangoes, and cook over a low flame, stirring occasionally, being careful not to break the mango slices. Cook till a syrupy consistency is achieved, then remove from heat and cool completely.

  3. Serve as an accompaniment to papeta-ma-ghosh.

  4. The mango murabba (murambo)  can be stored in glass jars and refrigerated for one month.

  5. This is a yummy and fairly healthy snack for children, spread out on toast and butter instead of jam.

  6. Substitute Peaches or Apricots, pumpkin for variety !

Now, let’s party @ Fiesta Friday 

YouTube Channel for Parsi Cuisine



Rita’s Dar ni Pori