When Smruti posted a Parsi Thali I bookmarked it and decided to post at least part of it. With the Protein-Rich theme as our main theme and Thalis as my sub-theme, I did not want to miss posting Parsi Cuisine. This is one Cuisine I had never cooked, not only that I had hardly tasted it too.
Parsi Cuisine is influenced by Middle East and is a mix of vegetarian Gujarati cuisine and non-vegetarian Iranian cuisine. Parsi cooking is very easy, simple, and delicious too. Even though I had bookmarked Smruti’s post I had to choose another menu as I was looking for Protein Rich recipes. The menu has been made taking their most popular dishes, however, I have substituted the meat and fish with vegetarian options.
The Irani cafes were once very popular, especially in Mumbai. Their Mawa Cakes, Maska Bun, Chai, and Samosas are still a great hit. I remember as a little girl there was an Irani Cafe right under my aunt’s flats in Mumbai. I still remember it’s Maska Bun and Samosas.
Parsis love eggs, potatoes, and meat. Almost all their vegetable dishes are topped with eggs, and their meats have matchstick potatoes. Famous dishes like Dhanshak are made with meat, but vegetarians substitute it with vegetables. One of their popular dishes is Paatra ne Macchi, which is marinated and steamed in banana leaves. I substituted paneer for fish! Seriously, the paneer came out awesome. I must admit this cuisine has amazing flavors and it was rather interesting to substitute it for vegetarian food.
Let’s check the menu
Dhanshaak is one of the most popular dishes, which is cooked mostly on Sundays in Parsi homes. It is a stew made with vegetables, lentils, and meat. The vegetarians minus the meat. It is served with caramelized rice. A high protein dish.
This is a typical Parsi dar, yes this is how the Parsis pronounce daal. Light on the tummy this is simple, low in spices, tempered with garlic and cumin.
Lagan ka Keema
Lagan ka keema is an elaborate dish made from mutton. I have substituted soya, the complete protein for it. This dish has a long list of ingredients but definitely worth making it. This ranked number 2 in the meal.
Spinach and Peas Pattice
Parsi’s love potatoes and pattice is a must in their meals. I gave a twist by adding spinach and peas, thus adding a protein element.
Paatra nu Paneer
The famous Patra ne Machi is a Parsi delicacy and I substituted this with paneer. Marinated in green coconut chutney the cottage cheese is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. A delicious dairy-rich protein that ranked highest in our family.
A simple mix of onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers is the salad enjoyed by this community.
Colacassis leaves layered with gram flour and curd paste, a desi version of swiss roll. These are steamed to get a nice sweet and sour taste.
Basmati rice cooked in caramelized onions, lending them a unique flavor. These compliments the Dhanshaak and Parsi Dar.
Whole wheat Indian flatbread.
A must in Parsi cuisine.
A protein-rich dense cake flavored with cardamom. You could call it a baked mithai.
An exotic rose-flavored dessert with vermicelli, chia seeds, milk, and ice cream. A perfect dairy protein which can be enjoyed as a shake too.
Lagan nu Custard
Eggless version of a typical Parsi custard, which is normally loaded with eggs. Baked in ramekins the custard has a unique flavor.
Ravo in every Parsi household is very different. It is similar to our Sooji ka Halwa, with a slight difference. It is normally served at every special occasion.
For today I shall share the recipe for Dhanshaak. The rest of the recipes shall follow soon.
1/4 cup Tuvar dal
1/4 cup green moong dal
1/4 cup masoor dal
1/2 cup pumpkin, peeled and diced
1/2 cup bottle gourd, peeled and diced
1/2 cup potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup onions, diced
1/2 cup spinach, washed and roughly chopped
1 tbsp kasoori methi
4 large tomatoes
Salt to taste
For the Spice Mix
4-5 pods garlic
1 small stick cinnamon
11/2 tsp coriander seeds
1-2 green chilly
1 tsp cumin seeds
4-5 dried red chilies
1 tbsp ghee
1 onion, chopped
Roast and grind all the ingredients under Spice Mix to a fine powder. Set aside.
Wash and soak all daals for 1 hour.
Add the soaked daals and all vegetables along with 2 cups of water and salt to a pressure cooker.
Pressure cook for 1 whistle and then simmer for ten minutes.
Open the pressure cooker after the pressure has released.
Check the daals should have cooked and the vegetables soft and mushy.
Mash these with a potato masher.
Sieve this mixture to get a smooth consistency.
Adjust the consistency by adding water.
Add tamarind pulp.
Heat ghee or oil.
Add the chopped onions and sauté till translucent.
Add the spice mix, sauté.
Add to the dhanshak and cook for at least 30 minutes.
The longer it cooks the better it tastes.
Do keep stirring at regular intervals to avoid burning.
Serve with caramelized rice and kachumber.