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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Gingerind Cooler (Ginger~Tamarind Summer Drink)

Gingerind Cooler (Tamarind and Ginger drink)
It was a cool day in the month of June 1988, the skies were overcast and the rain gods were looming large over a group of four year old school girls. Our class teacher Mrs R. had brought our class of 50+ girls for a "picnic" under a huge tamarind tree that was housed at the main gate of our vast school compound. Some girls cracked open the brittle tamarind fruit shells and ate a pulpy secretion from inside, some happily caught toads ribbiting around the tree and stuffed them in their little pockets. The scene that followed later in the classroom was both hilarious and scary at the same time (imagine 5 toads and 50 four year olds in the same space!)

Years passed and the incident faded from our memories, we were tweens now and loved eating anything that was sour, sweet and spicy in that order. A local shed shop in our colony sold hard boiled candies and various hues and flavours and it was a ten year olds favourite haunt, I had newly discovered the magic of an Imli ki goli (tamarind candy) and bought myself a handful as I returned from school everyday, making sure to finish it all as I walked from the shop to our building lest my mum find out!.

Its common knowledge that I love playing around with ingredients, combining different flavours and textures almost feels like I'm fourteen again, like a giggly school girl with my friends in the chemistry lab mixing liquids, heating them and then jotting down notes to find out what happens next...

It was a sultry 42 degrees C afternoon that I thought of experimenting with some ingredients on hand, tamarind paste, ginger syrup, club soda and some desi masalas (spices) and viola this delicious, soul soothing cooler was born!

Read on for the recipe,

Serves 2

You will need:

1 tbsp tamarind paste
2 - 3 tbsps ginger syrup
500 ml club soda
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp roasted cumin seed powder
1/4 tsp black salt
A pinch of regular salt


In a large jug or bowl combine all the above mentioned ingredients and stir, making sure that the tamarind paste has dissolved well.

Check for sweetness and salt and adjust accordingly.

Pour your concoction over a tall ice filled glass and devour!  

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Mushroom Cafreal with pan tossed potatoes

Cafreal/ Mushroom Cafreal
Funny how some lessons (not necessarily good or bad) that one learns growing up remain with them forever and vibrate like temple bells when the brain scans its hard drive for a particular memory.

In my 9th grade we were taught by a sweet teacher called Mrs Falero, she often fondly spoke of her home, family and her particular likes and interests and though most fourteen year olds didn't pay much heed to what she said, her stories were ones I always loved hearing.

One day she spoke about the classic movie The Sound of Music and how at every stage of life the movie would resonate with a new, different part of her, she told us how she enjoyed the music as a little girl, the idea of sixteen and seventeen year olds romancing as a teen, the struggle of a young woman and finally the warmth and responsibilities of a wife and mother. Just like Mrs F. derived a new meaning from the same movie, don't the same people, the same things or same places hold new meanings for us at different life stages?

Goa, the Indian state of sun, sand and sea is a holidaymakers paradise. Loved for its pristine blue waters, relaxed attitude and fresh sea food its always been a favourite of both young at heart and mind. Most people will tell you how, when in Goa they drunk themselves silly, rode two wheeler's without abandon and ate like the apocalypse were upon them any day now.

For me Goa has always held new promises, my first visit as a twenty something was during a time when I was neck deep in studies preparing for my Post Grad entrance exams, here Goa and her pebbled Colva beach brought respite to my weary soul and hope for a better tomorrow, my second visit with my husband gave us some much needed together time (he's a forever on the move kinda guy), the third with our three year old bought feelings of unparalleled love and happiness and watching him try to catch foamy waves with his tiny toes was pure bliss. On our fourth visit we were fortunate to come across a sweet middle aged couple who ran a tiny restaurant by the beach, their hospitality, love and exhaustive knowledge of Goan food had me mesmerized, and one particular dish that I just couldn't get enough of was Cafreal.

Cafreal is a spicy chicken preparation consumed widely in the Indian state of Goa. The preparation originated from the Portuguese colonies in Africa and  was introduced into the Goan cuisine by the Portuguese and African soldiers serving under the Portuguese. 

People often substitute the chicken with fish or prawns with delicious results, but I thought of using mushrooms to fix myself a quick lunch, delicious is an understatement for this spicy, tangy dish!

Here's how I made it,
Serves 2

You will need:

250 grams button mushrooms
2 potatoes
3 tbsp vegetable oil

For the marinade:
A big handful coriander leaves
1 inch fresh ginger
3-4 garlic cloves
1 green cardamon (elaichi)
1 inch piece cinnamon (taj)
7-8 black peppercorns (kali mirch)
1 bay leaf
2- 3 cloves
Salt to taste
1 tsp turmeric
1- 2 green chillies
Juice of 1 lime

Coriander leaves
Lime wedges


- Slice the potatoes and pan fry them and add salt to taste, fry until golden brown.

- Chop coriander leaves and slice garlic and ginger.

- Grind together black pepper, cardamom, cloves, cumin, cinnamon, bay leaves, turmeric, green chillies and lime juice with a little water to make a paste.

- Marinate the mushrooms with the green paste and little salt.

- Next heat a pan, add oil and add in the marinated mushrooms.

- Fry the mushrooms on a medium flame until they turn golden.

Your Mushroom Cafreal is ready to be served.


Friday, 14 April 2017

Bhakhra (Parsi Tea-time snacks)

Hybrids, or crossbreeds are things made by combining two or more different elements and have fascinated the human race since time immemorial. From cross breeding animals, birds and insects, to creating hybrid vehicles (half SUV, half hatchback anyone!), from every type of folklore you ever heard which by default contained a hybrid species to lab made hybrid gemstones (yes they do exist) and my personal favourite, half of the worlds movie makers imagining human alien hybrids, the fascination is endless.

Why you ask am I rambling on Hybrids today?, well the answer is simple, that's because I cant seem to figure out whether to christian today's recipe as a tea-time cake or cookie.

Bhakhras are to us Parsis what idlis are to Tamilians, evening snack time is so much better when they are around.

Now much like any community favourite, every grandma has her own recipe, the most interesting ingredient is Toddy (Toddy palms line the length of India's coastline, Neera the sap of toddy palm trees is extracted before sunrise, it is sweet and translucent in colour and is susceptible to natural fermentation, once fermented it becomes toddy having atleast 4% alcohol content). The addition of toddy gives the bhakhras a light as air bite, viz-a-viz not using toddy, resulting in a slightly dense albeit equally delicious output.

Since early Parsi settlers lived along the coast in the state of Gujarat, Toddy trees were a common find and hence the use of this ingredient. However as most of our clan moved to cities like Mumbai, Pune and New Delhi, toddy palms were hard to come by, toddy was substituted for yogurt and today is the most commonly used substitute to make Bhakhras. I must mention here that some enterprising folks have used Beer in place of toddy too with excellent results.

If you are a regular reader of ADOT!, you know how I cringe at the thought of deep frying and am always looking for alternative cooking methods. Since these lovelies are deep fried, I've put off making them for a long time, but last week I got a little too adventurous and made them in an Appe pan (a.k.a Æbleskiver pan, used by Dutch people and popular by this name in the western world.) with great results!

Find the recipe below,

To make 18 -20 appe sized Bhakhras,

You will need:

1 cup Atta (whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup Rava/ Suji (semolina)
1/2 cup Dahi (Yogurt)
2 eggs
6 tbsps castor or superfine sugar
1/4 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Nutmeg powder
1/4 tsp Cardamom powder
1/2 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter) + 1/2 tsp ghee per bhakhra to fry
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Shahi jeera (cumin seeds) - optional
1/4 tsp Ajwain (carom seeds) - optional


In a bowl start by mixing all the dry ingredients, whisk well and set aside.

In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs and add in the sugar, whisk until all the sugar has dissolved.

Now make a well in the dry ingredient bowl and pour in the egg and sugar mixture along with the yogurt and ghee.

Combine using your fingers to for a soft but knead-able dough (we will need to cutout small rounds) 

Once the dough is formed, cover the surface with a damp cloth or cling film and allow to rest in a warm dark place for a minimum or three hours. (This activates the fermentation process, which makes the final bhakhras light and fluffy)

Once your dough is well rested, roll it out to a 3/4 inch thickness (not any thinner than this) on a floured surface, and cut out shapes using a cookie cutter. (Traditionally people cut out shapes with a glass.)

Now heat an appe or Æbleskiver pan by adding 1/4 tsp of ghee per cavity.

Slowly put in each bhakhra.

Cook on a low flame at all times till the bhakhras attain a reddish brown colour.

Flip and cook the underside as well adding 1/4 tsp per cavity again.

Once done remove onto a paper towel and allow to cool at room temperature.

Once cool, transfer the bhakhras into an air tight container.

Enjoy with your cup of evening tea or as we Parsis say, Choi.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Sun Tea

Strawberries, cherries and an angels kiss in spring,
My summer Sun tea is (not really) made from all these things,

Take off your silver spurs sandy beige loafers and let me pass this time
Oh, oh summer tea time....

Okay okay agreed that was a rather horrific rendition of Nancy Sinatra's 1966 crooner Summer Wine, but hey I a'int no lyricist fellas, I'm just a girl (okay, woman), thinking of ways to beat the 40+ degrees this summer, thinking of novel ingredients and techniques to fill my glasses with!

Now don't we all make the most of seasonal produce?. I know I over abuse the use of those bright red strawberries each winter and let no monsoon pass without making at least a dozen things with available cherries (they also make for the most beautiful garnish - note and never forget!).

Wise folks make the most of rainwater by harvesting it! and fashion bloggers make the most of the 4 pm sun, which brings us back to our task at hand for today, have you ever made use of good old, pure, golden, sun-kissed, vitamin D bearing sunlight?, I mean besides using it for drying clothes, chilies and poppadoms? No? Then here's a fun idea to try with your perennially "vacation bored" kids. Make some Sun Tea!

What is that you ask?, well Its a delicious fruit infused tea that is brewed via sunlight!

Intrigued? read on for the recipe then...

Serves : As many as you may like!

You will need:

250 ml of water per person
1 - 2 tea bags (use any flavour you have on hand) again per person
Sugar or sweetener to taste
Fresh seasonal fruits to fill up a quarter of the glass (think limes, oranges, apples, pears, mangoes)

Glass bottles, mason jars or canisters are a good way to start your brew, any other material I wouldn't suggest.

I started by filling two mason jars (read old jam bottles) with sliced oranges, limes and apples.

This was then followed by adding in two tea bags per jar.

Next I covered both the jars with their lids and put them out in the sun for 3 hours.

After the tea was steeped, I removed the teabags, put the lids back on and refrigerated the jars for an hour.

Post cooling time I added in a little sugar and viola! my sea tea was ready!

Note: This can be made for a summer party by making a large batch in an appropriately sized glass jug as well.

You will need to add all the water, fruits, sweetener and tea bags in one.

Go make yourself a tall glass today!


Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Parsi style Dahi ni Kadhi ne Khichri~(Yogurt soup with lentil rice)

Dahi ni Kadhi / Parsi Kadhi Khichdi/ Khichree
India, so ethnically diverse, so rich and colourful, full of life vitality and vigour!, a country so beautiful and so blessed with each city having its own unique character and each state upholding its culture like a treasure trove. Nope I've not started to write on travel yet, its just that I'm constantly in awe of this place I call home and there is no where else I'd rather be.

Being a die hard culinary and colour lover there is just so much variety to choose from, ingredients to combine, cuisines to experiment with and rich home grown produce to fall in love with. Each day as I spend at least 30 odd minutes (a blissful form of meditation for me) researching on foods (both Indian and world cuisine), I constantly come across a plethora of similarities between a whole range of recipes, each creator unknown to the other, each adding their own touch their own unique character to their masterpiece.

Kadhi or Karhee is one such dish that is inherently desi, it hits home on all the right notes feels comforting to indulge in any way you have it, the base recipe remaining constant with sour whisked yogurt and gram flour. Each state in India boasts of its very own version of this humble yet delicious yogurt soup.

Punjab's Pakode wali kadhi is probably the most well known of the lot combining deep fried gram flour fritters with the tangy kadhi.

Rajasthani Gatte wali kadhi is insanely delicious as it combines the kadhi with steamed gram flour dumplings.

Then you have Sindhi kadhi made with gramflour and gavar (cluster beans) but sans any yogurt.

The south Indian state of Tamil Nadu has its own, unique style of preparing kadhi, commonly known as Morekozhambu, which uses a ground paste made of coconut, chilies, ginger, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds.

Gujarati kadhi is sweet and sour and made of only a handful of ingredients and tempered with cumin and caraway seeds, hands down my favourite when had at a Gujarati home, I just cant seem to crack the code on this one in spite of making it a dozen times over!.

What I do crack however is this Parsi style Dahi ni Kadhi, easy to make and delicious to boot and also the easiest meal to whip up when I cant think of anything else to prepare. Served with Khichri rice, Parsi's have their own unique take on India's favourite frugal fare too, where state to state and region to region makes their own version of a rice (or other grain) and lentil porridge, we Parsis combine rice and masoor dal and cook it just like one would make steamed rice, each grain of rice separately smiling at you from the colander you just drained off its water in ;-)

Parsi Khichri/ Kichree
Here's our very own Kadhi recipe for you to create and make your own :-)

Serves 4

You will need:

For the Kadhi
1/2 kg sour curd (yogurt) - fresh curd works too!
1 tbsp gram flour (chana atta)
2 medium sized onions (roughly chopped)
4-5 slit green chillies
1 stalk curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds (rye)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp oil
A handful of finely chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste

For the Khichree
1 cup rice, washed and drained
¼ cup orange masoor lentils, washed and drained
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon vegetable oil


For the Kadhi
Mix the curd and gram flour and beat with a little water. Keep aside.

In a pan, heat oil till it starts to crackle then put in the onions mustard seeds and green chilies.

Once the onions attain a light brown colour, add the rest of the ingredients, except the coriander leaves, into the pan.

Cook for 5 minutes on a low flame stirring it continuously.

Lastly, add in the coriander leaves and cook for another 2 minutes.

Remove from the flame and serve hot with Khichree (yellow rice) and Popadums!

For the Khichree
In a large pan, add the washed and drained rice and lentils, cumin seeds, ground turmeric, salt and oil, along with 2 cups of water.

Let it soak for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking.

Now cook till the rice is 80% done, drain off the excess water in a colander and cover with a lid.

Let the rice stand covered in its steam for 15 minutes, then fluff the Khichree rice with a fork. Leave covered till ready to serve.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Mithu Dahi (Parsi style sweet yogurt) {Jamshedi Navroze bloggers colab special}

Mithu/ Mithoo Dahi (Parsi style sweet yogurt)
 Yogurt has been dated back to India and Iran circa 500 B.C. In India, yogurt and honey are known as "the food of the gods" and are a part of festivals and offerings. The word ‘yogurt’ is derived from the Turkish word, ‘yoğurt’, which means “to curdle or coagulated; to thicken” 

It never ceases to amaze me how ancient people always knew what food was to be eaten when, what natural medicine was to be given or when and why certain periods of the year were to be celebrated and others spent in quiet prayer. Now when we think of it every little tradition that our grandmothers followed have proven scientific reasons to them, it wouldn't be wrong to say then, that ancient civilizations were far far advanced than their swashbuckling, smartphone addicted, lost without You Tube, great great grand-offspring.

"Wait wait", my mother would call out to me every time before I crossed our threshold for an exam, "Mithu dahi kaine ja" (wait have have sweet yogurt before leaving), this practice continued till the first day of my last job!

All those years it never occurred to me why my mother fed me sweet yogurt, sweet I understood (sugar provides energy)... but why yogurt?, I never questioned her though, I mean, why would I question such a delicious practice?.

To understand why yogurt is so important for special days, a little knowledge of the ancient Indian medicinal system of Ayurveda helps. It states that each living being is made of three type of doshas (meaning biological energies found throughout ones body)

Doshas are derived from the five elements of nature and their related properties.

1. Vata Dosh, reflects the qualities of Air,
2. Pitta Dosh, reflects the qualities of both fire and water and 
3. Kapha Dosh, reflects the qualities of earth and water.

Even a minor write up on each of these will require multiple blog posts, so I'll get to the point here, Yogurt with is multiple benefits is also used in balancing ones Vata Dosha and is known as Vataghna, meaning lending balance to ones Vata, now what happens when the element of Air increases in ones body?, A person may experience one or any of these; nervousness, anxiety, panic, fear, twitches, tremors, spasms, dry or chapped skin, constipation, gas, bloating, dry, hard stools, low body weight, dislike of cold and wind, difficulty tolerating loud noises, light, interrupted sleep, zoned out or scattered feeling, excess thinking or worrying. 

Now does it light a bulb? haven't all of us had these anxious feelings at some point during our exams, a job interview, when getting married, on way to deliver our babies? the list can go on. So mum did know the best way to soothe those jittery nerves, a spoonful of creamy yogurt, delicious on the outside and a secretly powerful weapon on the inside.

So the next time you are bundle of nerves just have a dollop of dahi!

Mithu/ Mithoo Dahi (Parsi style sweet yogurt)

In a Parsi household no auspicious day (read New Year, Navroze, bithdays, weddings, Navjotes or anniversaries) are complete without a bowlful of Sagan (meaning shagun or auspious in Gujarati) ni Sev with a dollop of Mithu Dahi on the side.

Sinfully delicious, Mithu Dahi or sweet yogurt is made of full fat milk with the addition of sugar, cardamom and nutmeg powder, many Parsis add in a few drops of vanilla as well, but I feel it takes away from the old world charm and memories of me sitting secure and happy in my grandmother's lap.

We, Zoroastrians celebrate the onset of spring with a festival known as Jamshedi Navroze, also known and celebrated the world over as Nowruz (celebrated on 21st March every year).

Jamshed-e-Navroz is celebrated on the first day of the first month of the Shehenshai calendar followed by the Zoroastrian faith. Named after the Persian ruler Jamshed, in whose reign the festival began, Jamshed-e-Navroz is symbolic of rejuvenation and rebirth.

As in all the other spring festivals, at Navroze too there's much excitement in the air. Homes are cleaned and decorated with ornate rangolis, new clothes are worn, and greetings- along with the customary sweets- are exchanged, prayers are offered at the Fire Temple, and it’s usual for people to go thrice to the temple during the day to worship Khorshed and Meher, the two divine beings who preside over the sun and the moon respectively.

Festivities of Navroz begin with cleaning and decorating of homes, jasmine and rose are flowers primarily used for decoration besides other symbolic objects of Navroz.

Parsi's visit the fire temple for thanksgiving prayers and offering sandalwood sticks to the fire, after which, they greet each other ‘Navroze Mubarak’ and wish good tidings.

It is a custom to lay down a table and place a copy of the Gathas (hymns composed by prophet Zarathustra), a lit lamp or candle, a shallow ceramic plate with sprouted wheat or beans, small bowl with a silver coin, flowers, painted eggs, sweets and rosewater, and a bowl of water containing goldfish in it. They all signify prosperity, wealth, colour, productivity, sweetness and happiness.

What better day then, than to enjoy some Mithu Dahi and a big bowl of Sev?

For making the Mithu Dahi,

You will need:

4 cups (1 ltr) of full fat milk
6 tbsps melavni i.e. pre made non - sour curd (this is used as a strater) - store bought works well.
1/2 cup (regular granulated) sugar
1/4 tsp powdered green cardamom (elaichi)
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (jaiphal)
A few strands of saffron or a handful of chopped mixed nuts (to garnish)


Heat the milk and bring it to a boil, 

Next add in the sugar and stir. 

Lower the heat and gently simmer till it reduces to 3 cups. 

Remove the milk from the heat and cool it till tepid warm. 

Start heating your oven to reach 300F/150C degrees then switch it off, alternatively run your microwave on full power for 4 mins just before putting in the vessel containing the yogurt. 

Apply 2 tbsps of ready curd all over the dish (you wish to use to serve it in), add another 4 tbsps of curd into the milk and mix well.

Gently add all of the warm milk into the vessel you wish to set it in. 

Place into the already heated oven or microwave which is preheated and shut off. The oven or microwave should not be switched On at this stage.  

This should set in 3 hours.

The set yogurt will have a slight jiggle in the center, but not be runny.

Remove from the oven or microwave and allow to cool completely before refrigerating.

Serve cool with some Sagan ni Sev.


Also joinning me for a very special colab are my friends Sweta and Saswati who have very sweetly shared two lipsmacking Parsi favourites,

Check out our lady extraordinaire, Sweta's, Patra ni Machchi at Oriya Rasoi and,

Dessert Queen, Saswati's Lagan nu Custard at Delish Potpourri!

Are you hungry yet?

Navroze Mubarak to all the readers of A Dollop of That, wishing you majja, masti and tandorasti!

A little video on Navroze

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Charvelu Eedu (Parsi style scrambled eggs with green garlic, chilies and coriander)

Charvelu Eedu (Parsi style scrambled eggs with green garlic, chilies and coriander)
"What's for breakfast tomorrow Pari?", my other half asks me, "Poha, upma, idli, take your pick I challenge him", "Err I meant what are you making for me?", "I just told you, take your pick". "No, I meant what with round white eggies?" he asks like an eight year old on Christmas Eve and I finally break out in in peals of laughter with a caught you expression, which is met by a just you wait, I'll think of something novel to get back at you while I'm at work scowl.

A Parsi and his love affair with eggs is legendary, the minute a baby is 8 months old his grandmother will start feeding him half boiled eggs mixed with Ceralac (eww but true!)

Sali per Eedu (eggs on potato sticks), Bhida per Eedu (eggs on okra), Ressa per Eedu (eggs on shredded lamb) and wait for it Malai per Eedu (eggs on milk cream) aren't food items that Navroze will sit and come on this year, these are all ingenious inventions, that we Parsis are hold very dear (in our bellies) the cost of being poked fun at by our Non- Parsi friends notwithstanding.

One such easy peasy gem is one we make for breakfast and the one I made him that day after some fun teasing is this Charvelu Eedu made in a dollop of butter with copious amounts of freshly available seasonal herbs and condiments. Green garlic or young garlic is the star of this particular dish and the lack of it on hand can easily be replaced by regular garlic cloves, albeit as any Parsi will tell you "Je majja temma te emma nai", meaning the fun in devouring a scrambled egg with green garlic, isn't the same with regular garlic. However if you haven't had a scrambled egg with green garlic before, you will certainly enjoy this simple but delicious Parsi breakfast (with an addition of its freely available older sibling).

To make enough for two,

You will need:

4 large eggs
1 teaspoon finely chopped green or regular garlic
2 tsps finely chopped coriander leaves
1 long green chili
1 heaped tbsp butter
2 tsps milk
Bread toasts to serve.


Heat the butter in a small frying pan, once it melts add in finely chopped green chilies and finely chopped green or regular garlic.

Once the chilies and garlic are both slightly golden in colour, break in all the eggs and cook on a medium low flame, at this point also add in a little milk for extra creaminess.

Using a wooden spoon slightly keep stirring the mixture, once it starts to come together, add in chopped coriander leaves and mix again.

You can make the scrambled eggs as dry or runny as you like.

Switch off the flame.

Serve hot with toast and mint tea on the side.