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Fire and Spice: Parsi Cookery

Savoury Scrambled Eggs

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Savoury Scrambled Eggs
Akoori Eedani

2-3 tbsp ghee or butter
1 finely chopped medium onion
4 cm / 1½ inches finely chopped ginger
2 small potatoes, cut into tiny cubes
2 finely chopped green chillies
1 cup chopped coriander leaves
1 finely chopped medium tomato
1 tsp cracked pepper
½ tsp salt
4 whisked eggs

There are many variations to the typical Parsi breakfast dish of scrambled eggs. A moister texture can be obtained with the addition of a little milk or cream to the beaten egg. The dish can be made even tastier with the addition of 2 tablespoons of finely chopped green garlic stem or chopped chives and is then called Akoori Leela Lasanni or green garlic-flavoured scrambled eggs.

Heat the ghee or butter in a heavy-bottomed pan and sauté the onions and ginger with the cubed potato until the potato is cooked and the onion begins to change colour. Add the chilli, coriander leaves, tomato, pepper and salt and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Reduce the heat and add the beaten eggs. Stir the mixture until the egg is set and serve immediately.

Copyright © Joyce Westrip, 2007

Spicy Aubergine and Tomato

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Spicy Aubergine and Tomato

1 or 2 large aubergines with a total weight about 500 g / 1 lb
3 tbsp
ghee or vegetable oil
1 finely chopped large onion
3 finely chopped green chillies
6 cloves finely chopped garlic
5 cm / 2 inches finely chopped ginger
2 tsp dry-roasted cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp
garam masala
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp cracked black pepper
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
1 tbsp finely chopped mint
3 finely chopped large tomatoes
Salt to taste

The first stage of this recipe involves searing, but not burning, the skin of an aubergine over an open flame, giving the flesh a rich, smoky flavour.

Push a long skewer through the aubergines and smear a little of the ghee or oil on them. Sear the skins over an open flame, turning frequently until the skin wrinkles and begins to peel. When cool, remove the skin and mash the flesh. Set aside.

Heat the remaining ghee or oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and fry the onion, chilli, garlic and ginger until the onion starts to change colour. Add the cumin seeds and fry for a few seconds. Stir in the turmeric, coriander powder, garam masala, sugar and cracked pepper and fry for 2 minutes, adding a little water if the mixture is inclined to stick. Add the fresh coriander, mint and tomatoes and salt and simmer for 2 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and slightly pulpy. Finally, fold in the aubergine flesh, stir and simmer for about 2 minutes.

Copyright © Joyce Westrip, 2007

Steamed Fish Coated in Chutney

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Steamed Fish Coated in Chutney
Patra Ni Machhi

500 g / 1 lb thick, firm white fish fillets
2 tsp salt
8 tbsp desiccated coconut
1 cup roughly chopped coriander leaves
¼ cup roughly chopped mint leaves
4 roughly chopped green chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
6 cloves garlic
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
1 tbsp
ghee for greasing

Fish pieces are coated in a paste of coriander, mint leaves and chillies. Traditionally they are wrapped and cooked in banana leaves, which are sometimes available from oriental stores, although kitchen foil cut into squares large enough to wrap each piece of fish separately makes an acceptable substitute if banana leaves are not available.

Cut the fillets into individual serving sizes, sprinkle with salt and set aside. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Blend the coconut, coriander leaves, mint, chillies, cumin seeds, garlic, sugar, salt and lime or lemon juice to a paste and rub it over the fish pieces. Wrap and seal each piece of fish in a greased squared of foil. Place the fish on a metal rack in a baking tray with enough hot water to cover the base while leaving the rack clear. Steam in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.

Serve individually, allowing your guests to unwrap the parcels themselves.

Copyright © Joyce Westrip, 2007

Firm-Textured Ice Cream

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Firm-Textured Ice Cream

10 cups / 2 ¼ litres / 5 pints milk
125 g / 4 oz sugar
1 cup double cream
125 g / 4 oz blanched and finely chopped pistachios
2 tbsp rose water or a few drops of rose or vanilla essence

Indian ice cream is quite different to its Western cousin, which is often thickened with egg yolks or gelatine. In kulfi, the milk is boiled down until it reduces to a thick, creamy texture. Apart from chopped nuts such as pistachios and almonds, kulfi can also be flavoured with puréed mango or saffron. Nowadays, kulfi is normally bought ready-made, but there is always something special about the homemade version, which more than deserves its place in a collection of Parsi recipes.

Mix the sugar, milk and cream together in a heavy-bottomed pan and boil until the milk thickens or condenses to half the original quantity. This can take some considerable time. Keep stirring across the bottom of the pan to avoid sticking and scorching. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. When cold, add the pistachios and rose water. Freeze in individual moulds or ice-block trays. Remove from the freezer shortly before serving to allow the kulfi to soften slightly, making it easier to release from the mould.

Copyright © Joyce Westrip, 2007

Tamarind-Flavoured Coconut Chutney

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Tamarind-Flavoured Coconut Chutney
Nariyal Ni Chutney

1 tbsp tamarind pulp soaked in ½ cup water
4 tbsp desiccated or fresh grated coconut
2.5 cm / 1 inch roughly chopped ginger
4 cloves garlic
3 roughly chopped green chillies
1 roughly chopped small onion
1 cup chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste

This chutney is usually served with snacks and freshly made as required, rather than being kept in storage jars, although I have kept it in the fridge without any problems.

Steep the tamarind pulp in the hot water. When the water has cooled, squeeze and rub the pulp between your fingers and thumb to dissolve the tamarind. Strain through a sieve and retain the liquid. Discard the solids and set aside.

Blend the coconut, ginger, garlic, chilli, onion, coriander leaves, salt and the reserved tamarind juice to a paste in a food processor.

Copyright © Joyce Westrip, 2007

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