Monday, August 25, 2008

Traditional Dhansakh


(Dhaan + Shak or Rice + Cooked Vegetables)
The name dhansakh implies rice eaten with the famous daal cooked with veggies in it. The rice is not plain white steamed rice but is a rich caramelized rice, cooked with a mix of whole spices. The daal of course is famous..

So here’s how the two are made-

For the rice-

Good quality Basmati rice, washed
whole spices- Bay leaves, cassia Bark, Cloves, pepper corns, Black cardamom (elcha), Star Anise, Javitri (mace)

In a pan make caramel with the sugar. About 1 tbsp of sugar for a cup of rice. Add a cup of water to the caramel moments before it burns. Take off the heat and keep aside. You want a liquid, not thick hard caramel.

Make rice as usual adding the caramel water and whole spices, salt (optional)and a tablespoon of oil or ghee. The rice should be brownish in colour.

Garnish with long fried onions.

The Daal

masoor daal
Tuvar daal
Red Pumpkin
Brinjals, small pink ones
spring onions
baby methi sprouts
Curry leaves
Dhansakh masala powder
Kairi Sambhar powder (not south Indian sambar masala) Available at Motilal masala, Grant rd, East, available under the Mangal brand.

Wash equal quantities of both daals, about a cup each. Add chopped pumpkin (200gm), brinjals (200gm), spring onions (1/2 bunch), one bunch methi sprouts, half a tsp of haldi, salt and pressure cook with enough water.
Once cooked, puree the whole thing.

In a kadai heat ghee and add the curry leaves and the masala powders, and fry. Add chopped tomatoes and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Smash up the tomatoes while cooking. Add the mashed daal puree to this and mix well. Add water if required. Let it come to a good rolling boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Traditionally dhansakh is made with mutton, though chicken is often used these days. To use either, marinate the meat in ginger-garlic paste, salt, and braise before pressure cooking along with the daals and veggies. (Remove before pureeing). Alternatively you can cook the meat separately and add to the cooked daal/veggie puree later. But the first way tastes far better!

Dhansakh is not a celebration dish, contrary to popular belief. Traditionally dhansakh is served on the fourth day after a funeral.
Of course, it is not restricted to such sombre occasions and is often on the menu for a family Sunday lunch :)

Parsi New Year and a lot of food....

We're just recovering from a very hectic week indeed. There were 3 important days of the Parsi calendar- Pateti, Navroze and Khordad Saal. All are celebrated with enthusiasm and of course, food!
Pateti is the last day of the Parsi calendar. A lot of people mistake it to be the New Year day. It is, in fact, a slightly solemn day, the last day of the year. One reflects on the year past, thinks about what one has done in that time and looks back in penitence over the mistakes made, the sins committed and promises to do better in the forthcoming New Year. The day is also full of hope for the coming New Year, so it is sombre and hopeful, sad and happy together.
The menu this year for Pateti was-

Russian Pattice
Patra ni Machhi
Pisela Badam Darakh ma Marghi
Mutton Pullao with Dhansakh Daal
Lagan nu Custard

Navroze is New Year's day...a joyful and hopeful day looking forward to a brand new year. As is done in all commuities, Navroze is celebrated with much celebration and plenty of good sumptuous food.

The Menu this Navroze was-

Bheja Cutlets
Sahs ni Machchhi
Chicken Mhaiwahlan
Sali Jardaloo Mutton
Prawn Pullao with Dhansakh Daal
Lagan Custard

The 6th day of theNew Year is Khordad Saal, or the Prophet's Birthday.

We had-

Mutton Cutlets with gravy
Baked Fish Florentine
Coq au vin
Paella or Spanish rice
Chocolate Mousse.

For the Vegetarians, yes, Parsis do eat vegetarian food (!!), there was-

Vegetable Cutlets
lagan nu Istew
Paneer Makkhanwala
Vegetable Pullao with Dhansakh Daal.

The recipes will follow soon..

Since work was insanely hectic I didn't get a chance to take any pictures.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Potato and Green Pea Samosas or a Lesson in Kitchen Geometry

These are my hubby's favorites. He loves them over any shop bought samosa, even the non-veg ones :)
I make them rarely as both he and I are struggling with being fat!!
But anyway, they're quite easy to make, I think. And they're delicious!!

a little ghee
a pinch of salt

Potatoes, boiled and peeled. mashed roughly.
green peas
chilli powder

To make the dough for the samosas mix the maida with the other ingredients till you get a smooth and soft dough. It shouldn't be very soft as it will turn sticky. You can also add some wheat flour for a healthier and quite tasty variation. Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes.

For the filling, heat a little oil in a kadai. Sizzle the jeera and then add the potatoes. Add the spices and salt and mix well. Add in the boiled green peas if using fresh ones or thawed peas if using frozen ones. Mix well and let it cool.

To make the samosas, take a largeish lemon sized ball of dough. Flatten a bit on your board and roll out a small disc. Fold in half to make a half-moon. Roll out to elongate the semi circle and then join the two 'points' and fold. You'll get a rough triangle. Roll it further to make a larger triangle, about 6 inches on each side.

from triangle to pyramid

Put some of the filling in the centre and bring two points of the triangle together. Pinch along the sides to seal. Pick up the third point and shut the samosa. You should get a 4 sided pyramid.
Make up the samosas.

Ready samosas waiting to be fried

Heat oil in a deep wok and fry the samosas two or three at a time.

Frying samosas

Serve hot with a chutney or tomato ketchup.

Note: I have no pictures of the samosas after they were fried...err, we forgot. We ate them to soon, too fast!!! But I'm sure you all understand :) :)

Tarela Boomla - If you're Parsi you gotta love these!!!

Every monsoon my family (the in laws side) goes crazy with yearnings for Bombay Ducks or 'Boomlas'. These small longish 'gel-like' fish are a gastronome's delight and a gourmand like me's heaven :). I can, with pride, out eat anyone in the family where these babies are concerned!! Boomlas are a no-fuss fish. The best way to have them is fresh, deep fried, hot off the pan with some flavourful fresh-squeezed lemon juice. MMMMMMMMMMM!!!

Here's how I make them.

20 fresh Bombay Ducks, cleaned.
salt/turmeric/chilli powder
Chana atta/besan/chick pea flour
Oil to deep fry in.
Fresh limes to serve with.

Marinate the ducks in salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Use salt sparingly as the boomlas are naturally salty. Be sure to drain off any excess water after washing the fish or the marinade becomes watery and falls off the fish.

In a flat plate or on newspaper spread the chick pea flour and roll each fish individually, pressing a bit to coat well.

Bombay Ducks in Besan

Heat any neutral oil in a large flat pan. Let the oil heat up well and then fry the fish till golden. regulate the heat so you don't burn the outside. Turn the fish and cook the other side too. Be gentle when turning as the fish is delicate and might break.

Frying Bombay Ducks

Serve immediately with lemon wedges and INSIST that they are eaten hot!!

Ready to Eat!!

They are just delicious!! You can make simple daal and rice to go with them. I eat them with no distractions!!