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 PRINCETON, N.J. WOULD YOU come to dinner?” Tehmina Alphonse asked. “I will prepare you the traditional meal of the Parsis in India. Our culture […]

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Parsi Dhansak Recipe. (Also spelt as  Dhansaak, Dhanshak,  Dhunsak, Thansak)

Parsi Dhansak Recipe. (Also spelt as  Dhansaak, Dhanshak,  Dhunsak, Thansak)

Dhansak is a popular  Parsi dish, originating among  the community centuries back. This is served with caramelized brown rice, which is rice cooked in caramel water to give it a typical taste and color. The dal cooked with mutton and vegetables served with brown rice, altogether is called dhansak. In Parsi homes, dhansak is traditionally made on […]

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The place of Tea in Indian Culture

The place of Tea in Indian Culture

The place of Tea in Indian Culture

Indians love tea, they are crazy about it – and they even have a special word for it – chai.
India is one of the largest tea growers in the world. Tea is grown in the north and the south – in exotic places like Munnar in Kerala, Darjeeling, Assam, and Nilgiri Mountains. The tea gardens are a sight to see. Beautiful terraces are carved into the earth and from far they look like manicured gardens. Tea from Darjeeling and Assam is world famous for its aroma and taste.
Tea was introduced in India by the British during early 1900’s, those were early days of the British Raj. Large swaths of land were converted for mass tea-production. Ironically, the British introduced tea in India to break the Chinese monopoly. Tea was originally consumed by the westernized Indians, but it became widely popular over time. Today, looking at the popularity of tea one cannot tell of its origins from China.
But the story of story of tea in India goes beyond the tea gardens in exotic mountains and valleys, covered with mist and lush greenery. Tea is woven intricately into the Indian social fabric.
Chai is the common equalizer in India – from the rich to the poor. No matter what their position in life, an Indian relishes a cup of tea. The rich ones have their tea served in fancy tea-pots, delicate porcelain cups on well laid out tables with cookies and pastries. The not-so-affluent have it in more humble settings. But the joy and satisfaction is the same.
No matter where you go in India, even the remote village, you are likely to find a tea-stall, with a Chai-walla brewing the concoction, squeezing every last flavor. There is always a crowd of eager and tired folks waiting patiently for their chai. Tea re-vitalizes your body. It is a great anti-oxidant.
India has one of the largest railway networks in the world. Every train station has tea-stalls. Hawkers carry tea-buckets doling out hot cups to weary travelers as the trains pull into the train stations. One of my enduring memories growing up in India is traveling on the train in the sleeper-coach and waking up to the lilting calls of the tea-hawkers.
There are many stories of how tea brings people together. When you visit friends – tea and snacks are probably the most common offering. A cup of tea bonds friendships and heals differences. A guest rejecting an offer of a cup of tea may even hurt their feelings. The ultimate bonding is sharing a cup of tea – between two people – albeit in different saucers. When you visit a commercial establishment, as a sign of respect for the customer, tea is offered. Read more in my cookbook for Tea.
Recently, I was invited to speak and present “The Place of Tea in Indian Culture and the Kerala Tea Gardens” at the Boston Athenaeum. Here is a short synopsis. I am delighted that my Cookbooks were displayed and showcased in the museum! Thanks Hannah Weisman! Hannah is the Director of Education at Boston Athenaeum.
The museum is a historical place and encourages historical books. The Boston Athenaeum is steeped in history. Founded in 1807, the Boston Athenæum is one of the oldest and most distinguished independent libraries and cultural institutions in the United States.
Tea / Chai Recipes:
Ginger Tea
Masala Chai
Parsi Chai
Cardamom Tea
Teas of India Cookbook

More on The place of Tea in Indian Culture on ParsiCuisine.com

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Nan Khatai

Nan Khatai

Nan Khatai These soft cookies are similar to the European dutch shortbread cookies. I flavored them with Rose and Cardamon. Very easy and fun to make.  Makes 12 Ingredients 1 cup all purpose flour 1/2 cup confectioners sugar 1/2 cup unsalted butter (salted is fine but omit the pinch of salt) 1/2 tsp. double-acting baking […]

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Health benefits of sumac

Health benefits of sumac

Meet Sumac, the Superfood Spice That’ll Help You Fight Inflammation—and Bland Food—for Good The ancient herb sumac—made from ruby-colored berries that are ground into a beautiful, coarse powder that bursts with color and flavor—has been underappreciated in American cooking (if you immediately thought of poison ivy, you’re wrong!) for centuries. We’re here to fix that. […]

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Mango Murraba (Parsi Murambo) Recipe

Mango Murraba (Parsi Murambo) Recipe

Celebrate  with this glorious Mango Murraba anyday. #mangoseasonison #ilovemangoes #mangoisthekingoffruits #mangolove #mango Ingredients 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 […]

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Coconut Mango Burfi – diamonds make the best display

Coconut Mango Burfi – diamonds make the best display

Coconut Mango Burfi Note: No artificial colors used. This post and recipe were created for #SummerDessertWeek! I was sent samples by some of the sponsor companies but as always the opinions are 100% my own. Ingredients 1/2 kg aamras (mango puree) 1/2 cup sugar 250 gm desiccated coconut 1/2 cup milk powder 1/2 tsp cardamom powder 1/2 cup […]

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