Parsi Jashan Parsis are a fun loving community and celebrate every possible festival with equal fervour. They eat sweets for Diwali, dance for New Year and dress up for Christmas. Their marriages, fashions and other celebrations are accompanied by legendary feasts of meat, sweets and fish specialities. Though cosmopolitan, Parsis believe strongly in their religion and children are trained to understand the scriptures. Every child is initiated into the Zoroastrian religion at a function called the Navjot. Parsi weddings too are occasions for fun, frolic, dancing and merrymaking. Bottles of colourful aerated drinks are served with fish cooked in banana leaves, mutton pulao, fried chicken and dal. The sweets too are rich and creamy. Parsi pickle, made with carrots, sugar and raisins and vinegar is finger licking and tasty.
Almost all Parsi families hold a Jashan or festive celebration on birthdays, anniversaries or to mark success in business or education. Recitations from scriptures, intoned musically by priests are a highlight. The holy fire is venerated and fruit, nuts, sweets are offered in thanksgiving . Naturally a feast of typically Parsi delicacies is also served on this occasion.
CHICKEN FARCHA Ingredients:6 large legs of chicken <LI>1 tbsp. chilli powder <LI>1 tbsp. turmeric powder <LI>1 tbsp. gara asala powder <LI>1 cup breadcrumbs <LI>1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste <LI>6 eggs beaten <LI>Oil for frying <LI>Salt to taste Method:Mix chicken with all ingredients except breadcrumbs, eggs and oil. Reserve for an hour. Steam cook till meat is just cooked but not soft. Roll each piece in breadcrumbs. Then dip in beaten eggs and deep fry in hot oil till crisp and done.
SALI BOTI Serves 6 Ingredients:<LI>1 k utton, cubed <LI>5 onions ground to a paste <LI>1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste <LI>1 cup tomato puree <LI>½ cup curd <LI>1 ½ tsps. chilli powder <LI>1 tsp. Turmeric powder <LI>1 tsp. gara asala powder <LI>2 tsps. Sugar <LI>200 gms potato straws (sali) <LI>Oil as needed <LI class=h3>Salt to taste Method:Marinate meat in all ingredients except oil and sali. Leave for an hour. Heat one cup oil in a pressure cooker and add meat. Stir fry till brown. Add 2 cups water and pressure cook till done. Turn out and serve covered with potato straws.
LAGAN NU CUSTARD Serves 6 Ingredients:<LI>4 cups milk <LI>¾ cups sugar <LI>1 ½ cups khoya (Milk Casein) <LI>½ cup mixed sliced nuts,raisins <LI class=h3>½ tsp. vanilla essence <LI>3 eggs beaten Method:Boil milk and sugar till blended. Add broken khoya and stir till creamy. Add most of the nuts and raisins. Cool and add beaten eggs and essence. Stir well and bake in a medium oven till firm. Decorate with nuts and serve warm.You could also bake it in individual portions.
MAWANI BOI Serves 6 Ingredients:<LI>4 cups sweetened khoya <LI>2 tbsps mixed pistachios and almonds <LI>2 leaves of silver varkh (Silver leaf) <LI>1 fish shaped mould Method:Fish is an auspicious motif for Parsis. This dish is a symbol of luck and good fortune. Knead khoya with half the nuts. Grease the mould lightly and line with the varkh. Press khoya tightly in the mould and turn over on a dish. Garnish with remaining nuts. PATRA N ACHCH akes 8 portionsIngredients:<LI>8 large slices of pomfret, cleaned <LI>1 tsp. turmeric powder <LI>1 tsp. red chilli powder <LI>Salt to taste <LI>Banana leaves, lightly oiled on one side.
For the chutney:
- 1 tbsp. ginger - garlic paste
- 4 cups coriander leaves
- 2 green chillies, chopped
- 1 tbsp. amchoor or lemon juice or tamarind pulp
- ½ cup mint leaves
- 1 tsp. vinegar
- Salt and sugar to taste
Method:Marinate fish with turmeric, chilli powder and salt for an hour. Grind all chutney ingredients to a paste. Apply chutney generously to each slice of fish. Wrap in a small piece of banana leaf and secure with string. Steam these packets till fish is done.