Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Lagan nu Achar {Gajar Mewa nu Achar} - Relish with Carrots and dried fruit

Parsi Gajar Mewa nu Achar
 As quirky and hilarious the community folk of the Parsi community are, so are their names, surnames and names given to their food, honestly where else would you find a Mr. Peshotan Lilaowalla and Mrs Perin Peshotan Lilaowalla nee Toddywalla getting ready for a grand feast a.k.a a Parsi wedding. I say grand because there are such a handful of us left that a wedding of one to another could be nothing short  of grand! and feast because a modest Lagan nu patru (wedding leaf, because the food is served on banana leaves) will most certainly have Lagan nu Achar (wedding pickle), rotli (flatbreads roasted on a wooden fire), saria (tapioca chips), a chicken dish, a fish dish, some Parsi style lamb palaao with masala ni daar and finally an icecream or kulfi for dessert. Phew and none of these are optional mind you, even a person with most meager means will entertain his guests with the above vaani's (courses/ dishes).

Now aside from the above enlisted food items some wedding spreads also include Lagan nu Custard (a baked custard replete with gallons of milk, kilos of sugar, a high number of eggs and garnished with a generous dose of nuts), thankfully we are only served a bite sized piece.
Lagan nu Achar
For a rare to find version of a Parsi a.k.a a vegetarian one, our fore mothers came up with a tantalizing menagerie of winter root vegetables cooked in an onion and tomato gravy flavoured with a generous dose of jaggery, sugarcane vinegar and dried fruits to boot, the dish is known as Lagan nu Istoo or Lagan sara Istoo (meaning vegetable stew served at weddings), now a days however the Custard and Stew are not always spotted on the wedding leaf.

Further quintessentially Parsi inventions like Tamota per Eedu (Baked eggs atop a tangy tomato gravy), Papeta per Eedu (same thing on fried potato slices) and Chicken Maivahlan (Maivahlan means very dear to ones mother - here in reference to the eggs which are very dear to the chicken who laid them - a Parsi bake made with shredded chicken, boiled eggs, whisked eggs and finally eggs broken on top just before baking in addition to some fresh cream) are also occasionally spotted at a wedding or two.
December is here, which means its wedding season in full swing and if you do happen to ever receive an invite to a Parsi wedding, please do attend, its the best thing to do in ones lifetime!, however if you know not any Parsi, worry not as I bring to you today the very first item to be served on the wedding patru (leaf) i.e. Lagan nu Achar a.k.a Gajar Mewa nu Achar or wedding pickle made with winter carrots, a mix of dried fruits like dates, apricots, rasins and figs stewed in a good amount of sugarcane vinegar and sugar or jaggery and spiced with Indian spices (masalas).

Read on for the recipe,

You will need:

2 cups grated carrots
1 cup granulated sugar OR powdered jaggery (gud or gor)
1 cup + 1/4 cup sugarcane OR malt vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped dried apricots
2 table spoons chopped seedless wet dates
2 tablespoons raisins
1 teaspoon dried garlic OR dried garlic powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (haldi) powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
A pinch each of nutmeg (jaiphal) and cardamom (elaichi) powders
Salt to taste

Method:

Start by roughly chopping up the apricots and dates


In a container with a lid add the chopped dried fruits along with the raisins and dried garlic or garlic powder, also add in 1/4 cup of vinegar, mix well, cover and allow to soak overnight.


The next day take a large wok or heavy bottomed pan and to it add in the grated carrots, sugar or jaggery powder and 1 cup vinegar.


Allow this mixture to cook on a low flame till the carrots are soft. (this will take an hour approx)



Once the carrots are soft, add in the dried fruits along with the soaking vinegar and allow to reduce to a sticky jam like consistency.


Once a sticky mass is achieved add in all the spices along with salt to taste, check for sweetness and adjust accordingly. (This relish needs to be more sweet than spicy).


Cook for a minute more on low flame and then turn of the gas.

Once the mixture reaches room temperature transfer into canisters. This relish stays good for upto a year without refrigeration, however if you like you could refrigerate it.

Jamva Chalo Ji.... (Come lets eat).

Enjoy!




6 comments:

  1. I guess everyone shud put this one on their bucket list 😃.Not just the relish but an entire Parsi wedding meal.

    ReplyDelete
  2. But for now, I will make do with this delectable pickle.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A word of advice. I always put the dry fruit after the achar is cooked. They absorb the juice better and remain nice and crunchy, especially if you add whole dry dates. Worth waiting for.

    ReplyDelete

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