Friday, 5 January 2018

Lagan nu Istoo / Lagan sara Istoo / Lagan nu Stew

Lagan nu Istoo / Lagan sara Istoo / Lagan nu Stew
Ever wondered why the big fat Indian wedding is always held in the winter months?, Is it because its easier (for the bride) to carry off boat loads of bridal jewelry or perhaps because the guests would have a better time if they weren't perspiring as profusely as they would have had it been any other season (because, tropical climate), or is it because its the year end so might as well party all night!. No, I don't think any of these reasons even closely hold a candle to the fact that food, glorious food is available this time of the year, fresh as a daisy and in abundant supply.

How else would you get to sample Gajar halwa, strawberries and cream, Gujarati undhyu and palak paneer on the same night?

Now, Parsi weddings are a grand affair, not however by their lavish scale but by their lavish dinner spread. Known though best for their non vegetarian fare like Dhansakh, Patra ni Machchi, Akoori and Sali Boti, our fore mothers were no less awesome when it came to inventing purely vegetarian dishes as well, these however are not even much heard of within the community folk, let aside some one who's not a Parsi. So I'm taking it upon myself to rectify that faux pas by sharing a few of these priceless vegetarian nuggets that are replete with robust flavors and aromas and a gastronomic indulgence minus any meat.

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 like sweet potatoes, red pumpkin, yam, winter carrots and green peas cooked in an onion and tomato gravy flavoured with a generous dose of jaggery, sugarcane vinegar and dried fruits to boot, this dish is known as Lagan nu Istoo or Lagan sara Istoo (meaning vegetable stew served at weddings).

Parsi cuisine is an amalgamation of Gujarati, Persian and British fare and in my opnion this very dish of Lagan nu Stew is a perfect blend of all three influences, its purely vegetarian and includes a sweet agent hence the Gujarati touch, it includes dried fruits like cashews and apricots this is vastly seen in Persian (Iranian) cooking and the name Stew is where the English touch comes in, so read on and if you aren't salivating just yet, scroll further for the recipe and I promise you will ;-)

Serves: 4 persons

You will need:

Sweet potato - 1 small
Regular potato - 1 medium
Red pumpkin - 1/4 small sized
Red winter carrot - 1 medium
Yam - Half - medium sized
Green peas - 1/4 cup
Cashew nuts - 2 tablespoons
Raisins - 1 table spoon
Dried apricots - 10 to 12 pieces
Jaggery OR sugar - 2 teaspoons
Sugarcane OR Malt vinegar - 2 table spoons
Onions - 2 medium (finely chopped)
Tomatoes - 2 medium (finely chopped)
Coriander leaves - 2 tablespoons (finely chopped)
Ginger garlic paste - 1 teaspoon
Green chili - 1 (roughly chopped)
Red chili powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Parsi Dhana Jeera Masala OR garam masala powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tablespoons to roast the vegetables + more to fry the onions


Par boil the green peas, set aside.

Lightly fry the cashews and raisins in a little oil and keep aside.

Peel the sweet potato, potato, pumpkin and yam.

Scrape and clean the carrot.

Cut all the root vegetables into small cubes and transfer a bowl, to this add 2 tablespoons oil and toss well so that all the vegetables are evenly coated.

Once all of them are oiled well, transfer onto a baking tray lined with tin foil.

Roast in a pre heated oven @ 200 degrees C for 30 mins or until the vegetable cubes turn golden brown at the edges.

Transfer the cooked vegetables back to the bowl along with par boiled green peas, fried dried fruits and dried (seedless) apricots. Keep aside.

In a large wok or kadhai heat some oil and fry the onions till golden, next add in the ginger garlic paste and green chilies and saute for one minute, now add in the chopped tomatoes along with all the powdered spices and salt to taste.

Cover the wok and cook on low heat till all the water dries up and the tomatoes turn to a paste like consistency.

Now add in all the contents of the bowl along with the jaggery and vinegar, cover and cook on low heat till all the ingredients come together in a sticky mass (this will not take more than 5 mins).

Switch off the flame and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve hot with freshly prepared rotlis (chappatis)



1. Parsi Dhana Jeera Masala is a mix of:
 bay leaves
 cinnamon sticks
 whole cloves
 coriander seeds
 fennel seeds
 mustard seeds
 whole star anise
 cumin seeds
 green cardamom pods and 
 white poppy seeds
 dry ground to a powder, you can find it in Indian at most supermarkets and kirana stores.

2. Traditionally all the cubed vegetables are individually deep fried, I however am not a fan of oil wastage and also prefer oven roasted vegetables.

3. I've used seedless apricots, in case you are using the ones with seeds, boil them for sometime till they turn slightly soft.


  1. Superb recipe !!! And since I am writing this after actually trying it out, I can vouch for the sheer deliciousness of this wedding fare :).


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