Guide to OLD Measures for cooking with Vividh Vani Cookbook

Ancient cooking book “Vividh Vani” by Meherbai Jamshedji Wadia (as is from original volumes in Gujarati)

First published at the turn of the 20th century, this mammoth book of two parts totaling 1500 pages carries over 2000 recipes, ranging from traditional Parsi to continental and Indian cuisines. Written in an era where all cooking was done on wood stoves and without fancy gadgets, no running water and no refrigeration, Vividh Vani offers us an in-depth look at the hard life of the traditional Parsi lady of those times.

I have put out a guide to OLD measures and weights used in the old cookbook  Vividh Vani. (Tipri, Ratal, Maund, Seer/Sehr, Navtak and Tola). Do write back if you have used the cookbook and let us know how the dish comes out.

Old weights converted to 21st century measures.

TIPRI is 1 Cup approx.

RATAL is 500 grams

In 1956, For metric conversion, Government of India defined the Seer as follows:

  • One Seer = 0.93310 kilogram exact

    The UN (1966) set One Seer = 2.057 pounds on average. This is approximately 2 pounds and One ounce

  • 1 Maund = 40 Seer = 100 Troy Pounds Exact

  • 1 Seer = 80 Tola

  • 1 Tola = 11.66375 gram

  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_units_of_measurement#Current_conversion_standard

Click here for handy conversion tool.

Cake Molds and antique tools used in the kitchen by Parsi Cooks  Circa 1867

Old Tools

Printed Paperback of the Ancient cooking book “Vividh Vani” by Meherbai Jamshedji Wadia

Products from Amazon.com

Source: Vividh Vani by Meherbai Jamshedji Wadia has been a classic reference book for thousands of Parsi ladies over one hundred years. (Click here download 2 volumes in gujarati language. Please be patient as the volumes are large)

Rita Jamshed Kapadia

Cookbooks are available on Amazon. 

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Yasmin says:

    I love this web site and the recipes you post daily.

  2. Rita says:

    Thank you Yasmin. appreciate it – please do let your friends know about this site.

  3. Ketty says:

    Thanks for this valuable information.
    Does anyone have Vividh Vani , old parsi recipes cookbook PART ONE? BY MEHERBAI JAMSHETHJI WADIA

  4. Rita says:

    Ketty, I have the Vividh Vani downloads on this site. See the tab “Resources” and scroll down. or click on this link – http://parsicuisine.com/downloads/

  5. Thank You for the apt information. Very useful when we refer old recipe books like “Ghar ni Rani “.

  6. This is a perfectly handy chart, Rita, sure glad to have it around:) these measure-words always remind me of my grandmom in the kitchen…

  7. Rita says:

    Khurseed, glad to know it is useful. I found it was very difficult to know what a ratal is even though I asked so many kf my relatives and friends. So I did a little digging around and figured putting it out will help others too. I like to read our old parsi recipes and learn how to apply the techniques and cooking process. I dont have Ghar ni Rani book, Lucky you!

  8. Rita says:

    You got it right Peri! These measure words bring back memories of my mamaiji and even my mother-in-law when they would tell us how to cook well and how they ate a particular saas that they enjoyed. Mona ma taste aave tevo saas hato( the taste of the saas lingers in your mouth, it was so good…)

  9. Is there any option for image sending i have my great Aunts hand written recipes script in Gujarati would like to share here.

  10. Rita says:

    Sure, you can email them to “webmaster@ParsiCuisine.com”. We will do the rest and put them online here. Thanks.

  11. Arnaaz mistry says:

    Have bought both books of Vividh Vani from amazon now need a person who can read Gujarati to translate for me as I do not know the text of the Gujarati language though one speaks Gujarati at home

  12. Armin says:

    Hey I have my grand mother’s recipes and in it are some measurements unheard of today. Do you know what Navtak means? Though it features in your initial statement, it doesn’t appear in the conversion table you have written about other measures

  13. Rita says:

    Armin – navtak may be an abbreviated way of writing nav chattak which would be 9 x 58.32 grams or half a kilo. 18 Oz.

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