Question: Did you know why the parsis make Dar ni Pori (Sweet Pastry)?
Answer: On Ava roj(day) and Ava mahinoh(month) Poris are sent and eaten. The devout parsis go to the sea or any form of water to pray and pay respect to the water that nourishes the body, while enjoying the Dal ni Pori.
Happy Parab (Ava Mahino, Ava Roj)to all my Zoroastrian friends:
It is believed that a water body helps nourish and purify the world. On Ava Mahino, Ava Roj, which is today, Zoroastrians offer prayers to a water body such as the sea, river, lake or water well. After performing the obligatory kusti, small tokens — each having its own significance — are offered to the water body. The coconut, flowers, dry rice, dar ni pori (much like puran poli but filled with chopped nuts and lentils), saakhar (crystal sugar) and milk are offered for sagan (good luck), a stick of turmeric, a dried date, an unshelled almond and a supari (betel nut) wrapped in a green paan (betel) leaf for strength and resilience of the family is also offered. After this, the devotee prays to the water body, asking “Ava mai”, as it is fondly known, to grant him/her good luck, peace and calm. Some families fill a small bottle with this sea or well water, which is then sprinkled on the thresholds of their homes to bring purity and goodness.
Recipe of Dar ni Pori (Sweet Pastry)
Original recipe from my Mother Parin Homi Munshi and dedicated to her.
Also known as Dar ni Pori, Daar ni Poli in gujarati.
Dar ni Pori is a pastry to be served at tea-time.
A Zoroastrian custom at weddings: 5-7 Dal ni Poris are sent by the Bride’s family to the Bridegroom’s family.
On Ava roj(day) and Ava mahinoh(month) Poris are sent and eaten. The devout parsis go to the sea or any form of water to pray and pay respect to the water that nourishes the body, while enjoying the Dal ni Pori.
Ingredients for dal: 2 cups Toor dal (oily or plain) 2 cups sugar
3 tbsp or more shortening (Crisco is good) 2 tbsp sliced or chopped Almonds 1/2 cup mixed fruit (candied fruit peel) 1 tsp rose essence (or 1 tsp vanilla essence) – your choice 1 tsp powdered Nutmeg, cardamom and mace 1 tsp Charoli (optional only if you have it, Charoli can be found in Indian grocery)
Ingredients for pastry: 1 cup cream of wheat (ravo) 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (maido) 1 tbsp shortening
Ingredients for Maan: 4 tbsp shortening 2 tbsp all purpose flour or rice flour
Dal: Soak dal overnight. Next day put in pressure cooker with very little water, just enough to cover the dal completely. Keep cooker on lowest heat for 20 minutes. Take off heat and add sugar and 2 tbsp shortening. Cook on low heat stirring all the time, till thick. Now add Mava, Almonds, Charoli, mixed fruit, essence, Nutmeg, Cardamom, taste while adding. This dal can be cooked and kept one day ahead. Make 3 inch round balls.
Pastry: Mix together all the ingredients and knead with enough water to make a soft dough. Cover with wet cloth and let stand for at least 3 hours. Overnight is better. Roll out in 3 big balls.
Maan: Mix flour and shortening with hands, until very smooth and light to touch. I mix it in a wide thali (wide round dish). Keep immersed in cold water.
Assemble the Pori: Take one ball of pastry and roll it out flat. Sprinkle few drops of cold water and then spread some of the maan onto the flat pastry. Sprinkle flour. Roll out another ball of pastry same size and layer it on top of the maan, again go thru the steps of sprinkling water, adding another layer of pastry and sprinkling flour at the end. Roll out last ball of pastry and put it on top. Turn edges inward and roll up like a strudel roll. Keep covered with damp cloth. Cut out one 3 inch piece from above roll, put flour on hands and twist the roll, press down the twists and shape into a round ball. Flatten this ball out and lift it and form a cup shape in your hands, put in this cup the dal ball. Seal edges together with a little water. Now is the hardest part – flatten this out till it is 1 inch thick circle, 5 to 6 inches round.
Bake on a hot tava (griddle) on medium heat, keep it white as possible. Add a little ghee to help. I find it useful to wear oven mitts while pressing down the pori on the griddle and keeping it moving around. Do both sides. (NEW Use “Puff Pastry”)
The pastry layers will show cooked (when you cut it apart to test) if it is done.
“Puff Pastry” – replace the steps for the pastry assembly with the following:
I use “Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets”. One box makes 2 poris.
Flatten the pastry sheets out, take a big ball of dar flatten it at least 1 inch thick and fold the puff pastry.
Take a big tray or small round foil plate spray with Pam and bake with the folded side on bottom.
Bake at 400 F for 15 to 20 minutes till nicely light-brown. Watch carefully or the pastry will become dark-brown which is not preferred.
Practice makes this “Pori” perfect.(Pun is intended, for those of you who know that the meaning of “Pori” in Gujarati is also “Girl”!!!