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, ‘yo─čurt’, 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

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