Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Parsi Prawn Curry

The 69,000 strong Parsi community of India is special indeed!

 Apart from contributing so much to trade and economy they have added a sense of honesty to business for centuries!

And more importantly they have shown us how to make eggs in a hundred ways .....given us iconic dishes like Salli boti, Patrani Macchi , Dhansak and more , each of these stunning dishes is a celebration of fusion of Persian cooking with Gujrati cooking techniques  !

Like all Indian cultures, the Parsi way of life is one of assimilation. Their language, customs, food are a combination of Persian and Gujarati traditions. 

We love Parsis for their generosity, idiosyncrasies,prominent noses, great hospitality , love for the good things in life- food, alcohol, travel,western classical music , a passion for two-wheelers , a rollicking sense of humour and for making Bombay a great city!

I am lucky to have know N for so many years....she is a great cook who knows so much about every day home style Parsi food.


This curry is my favorite , its fool proof and my go to recipe for fish and prawns!

And I must mention this is N's aunts recipe!

authentic parsi recipe

 So this  is Freny Mamis Parsi Prawn Curry...

300 g prawns de-veined , washed 

For the curry powder 

White sesame seeds 1.5 tablespoons
Coriander seeds 1.5 tablespoons
Poppy seeds 1.5 tablespoons
Cumin seeds 1 tablespoon
Kashmiri whole dried chillies 7-8 (with seeds removed )

1 tomato
1 onion
7-8 cloves of garlic
A few curry leaves

25g maggi coconut milk powder packet diluted in 1.5 cups of water 
1.5 cups coconut milk fresh or from a can

Lemon juice and coriander leaves to garnish 

2 tablespoons oil (refined oil)


Dry roast the ingredients together mentioned under Curry powder on a hot griddle/tawa for 2-3 minutes on very low heat . Once they are just a little toasted cool and blend to a powder in a blender.
Then add the tomato, onion and garlic cloves into the blender and blend with the curry powder to obtain a curry paste.

In  a pan heat some oil , add curry leaves and cook the curry paste for 5-10 minutes . Then add the prepared coconut milk and let it come to a 

Add prawns cook for a further 5 minutes till prawns are cooked,dont over cook prawns. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and some coriander leaves.

Serve with steamed rice!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Navroz Mubarak 2014

Happy Persian New Year (Nowruz)!
Nowruz, or "new day" in Persian, is an ancient festival that marks the beginning of spring and celebrates the rebirth of nature.

The Iranis celebrate Navroz in a special way. A circular table or the dining table dons an exquisite new look. A special table cloth known as ‘sofreh’ is spread on the table which sets in the festive spirit. 

The whole decorated table known as ‘Haftashin’ is a feast for the eyes and delight to the senses and the soul.

Navroz ushers in the message of gratitude, joy, hope renewal, spiritual rejuvenation and renewed resolutions, new life in the natural cycles, growth, prosperity, inner awakening and of course the triumph of the good over evil for all humanity.

A day of universal dawn: a dawn of a new awakening.

The joyous advent of spring and its traditions, customs and rituals are not only observed by the Parsi-Irani community in India and the Muslim community in Iran but is quite widespread throughout the globe, observed by several Nations of the world.

The table in each home varies in its contents and the availability of items.

All the 7 items start with the leter ‘s’ or ‘sh’ in the Persian dialect having its own special significance. 

The number 7 represents the 7 creations of Dadar Ahura Mazda as also signifies the ‘Seventh Heaven’ or the state of perfect happiness or heavenly bliss in Islamic belief.

The seven items represent
‘sib’ or red apples, Nature’s most wholesome fruit 
‘sirka’ or vinegar if wine or ‘sharab’ is not available
‘shir’ or milk with its pristine sanctity as milk is the first sip a new born sucks as it enters the world
a plate of ‘shakker’ or sugar to make your whole year as sweet as sugar,
‘shama’, a candle to light up your life but today a ‘shem’ or a diya is kept on the table besides Prophet Zarathushtra’s photo with a book of Avesta prayers,
‘sir’ or garlic, nature’s most trusted anti-biotic , 
‘sikkeh’ or coins to usher in wealth and prosperity ,
‘sonbol’ known as hyacinth, a plant grown from a bulb with heads of pink, white or blue flowers and if that is not available then a pomegranate surrounded with 5 or 7 roses or a Vase adorned with fresh scented roses – all reminding us to remain fresh and colourful and spread the scent of success and family happiness to all around us,
‘sabzi’ fresh green vegetables or shoots of wheat grass signifying robust evergreen health throughout the year,
‘sirbenj’ a traditional Irani sweet dish more like our rice-kheer or simply sev-dahi or ‘ravo’ as is the custom on all auspicious occasions.

Grains are also kept in a plate to usher in the spirit of harvest and abundance.

‘Sheesha’ or a mirror is placed in such a way to reflect Prophet Zarathushtra’s photo as well as the pomegranate. Some even keep a bowl of gold fish.

It is also believed that if you look into the mirror which has already reflected Navroz and make a wish, you will have good vibrations and reflections throughout the year.

Excerpts from the Afternoon Dispatch & Courier
By Dr. Shernaz Baji Avari

Tomato and garlic chutney recipe


Hello! I thought of sharing this very simple recipe......I love garlic in all its glorious forms .
This chutney is very potent and only for garlic and chilli lovers!

A small amount goes a long way ....its awesome with yellow daal and chawaal !

I hope you try it!

Tamatar and Lassan Chutney

2 red juicy tomatoes cut into 4's
10-12 cloves of garlic
a pinch of cumin seeds
2 teaspoons refined oil
1/4 teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder
Salt to taste

Grind the tomatoes and garlic to a fine puree without using any water.

Heat oil in a Kadhai/wok and add cumin seeds. Once they splutter add the kashmiri red chilli powder, now very quickly tip in the tomato + garlic puree.

Watch out it may make you cough and sneeze :))

Cook the chutney for another 5 minutes till oil separates and raw flavor of garlic n tomato goes away.

You can double the recipe and store in the refrigerator !

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Punes best Pani Puri

I love street food and I especially love Gol gappe / Pani Puri / Puchka so it comes as no surprise then that I am a little fussy about my favourite street food!

I like the outer shell of the pani puri to be perfectly "khasta" (crisp)....I only like suji ke gol gappe and not the atta ke gol gappe!

punes best street food
 I like the water to be at the perfect temperature , not too cold but still a little cold. The paani must also be  the right blend of minty freshness and tangy khattapan (sourness) from the Imli .

 And Om Jai Shankar hits all the right notes ! After eating pani puri at so many places in Pune over the last 22 years this is just the best! Its not a recent discovery I have been eating here for the last 20 years almost.
punes best paani puri
 It remians consistent and excellent what I also love is despite the popularity of this place you will very often find the owner behind the counter mixing his magical mix!

What started as a humble Chaat thela or handcart opposite the Pune Railway station by a sindhi gentleman by the name of Mr Motiram Devnani is today Om Jai Shankar Pani Puri in BabaJaan Chowk , MG road!

Mr Devnani sold his chaat business to Sanjay Yande and he has been running the business for the last 40 years with the help of his son Sachin!

poona best paani puri

They do catering as well and the whos who of Pune have eaten their Paani Puri. Ofcourse they have other things on the menu which are nice as well but ofcourse its the Paani Puri that is phenomenal and pulls in the crowds!

poona paani puri best
Add caption

 Do visit if you are in the area . Open everyday 12 noon onwards up until 10.30 PM.

mg road pune street food

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

EVVIVA Sky Lounge Courtyard by Marriott Pune City Centre

EVVIVA sky bar Marriot Pune

There is something very special about open air rooftop bars and restaurants ......nothing comes anywhere close to the exhilarating feeling of dining under a twinkling canopy of stars with the bright Moon for company.

EVVIVA marriot pune

The feeling of leaving the every day din of city life far below , the panoramic city views a rooftop lounge offers you....its the perfect place for basking in the glorious feeling of love ......

EVVIVA sky bar MArriot Pune

I have to admit I have been to Courtyard by Marriott Pune City Centre on several occasions since it started 2 years ago......but I never ventured beyond their lovely coffee shop....maybe a quick wedding by the pool side followed by an equally quick but amazing buffet dinner in one of their banquet halls......little did I know that the lovely hotel boasts of one of the finest roof top lounge bars in Pune.....EVVIVA  Sky Lounge perched pretty on the roof top.

Pune food blogger

This breezy roof top bar gets all the details just right......soft lighting ,a great view, lounge music , a fantastic bar and scrumptious food.....its everything you need for a romantic rendezvous...

I was lucky to be able to preview their specially crafted Valentines Day menu......

 Minute details and excellent planning to ensure the best date night ever....the cocktails  were all excellent...3 for the ladies...all blushing pink and perfect and 2 manly looking and tasting cocktails for gentlemen patrons.

For starters there is delicately smoked Norwegian Salmon served on Latkes with caramelized onions and spinach and leek cigars with a fabulous plum and mint chutney for the vegetarians.....

Smoked Norwegian Salmon served on Latkes with caramelized onions

The  cigars are perfectly blended.....just the right mix of salty creamy feta with spinach and leeks is indeed a match made in heaven and to take it one level higher is the lovely dipping sauce ...

Spinach and leek cigars with a fabulous plum and mint chutney

Main course was fantastic as well we tried the following ....Chicken breast stuffed with walnuts and Camembert Chives Polenta and Paneer Steak infused with basil and rosemary......

Chicken breast stuffed with walnuts and Camembert Chives Polenta

 What can I say about the dessert........ Mille Feuille of chocolate and strawberry......I enjoyed every last spoonful .....

Mille Feuille of chocolate and strawberry

Just call Courtyard By Marriott Pune City Centre for EVVIVA Sky Lounge : 020-67248181/ 020-67248250
Their Valentines special is on from 14th to the 16th of February.

Pune food blogger

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Gajjar Ka Halwa

 Gajjar ka halwa is an iconic part of winters in North India.

 Come the winter months and the market is flooded with bright red, sweet and juicy carrots....Delhi and Gajjar ka Halwa are synonomus .....to such an extent that in all other parts of India the juicy red carrots of the winter months are sold as "Dillie ki Gajjar"

Winter in India also happens to coincide with the festive and wedding season. Growing up I have such fond memories of greedily eating bowl after bowl of Shaadi walla Gajjar ka Halwa at every single wedding.

No winter wedding up North is complete without Gajjar Ka halwa, Moong dal Halwa , Garam (hot) Jalebi and Kadhai walla Doodh ( Milk painstakingly cooked till it thickens in a cast iron wok)

The fact that this Halwa is seasonal because of the seasonal nature of the carrots (only available for 3-4 months of the year in the winter) makes me lust after it more so....

Ofcourse any carrots can be used but the winter carrots with their earthy sweetness and deep color result in the best halwa! Hence this fudgy sweet dessert with hints of cardamom and the creamy sweetness of milk/khoya can be best enjoyed in the winters!

Nothing and I mean nothing can warm your soul better on a winter night than a bowl of Gajjar ka Halwa!

I have tried making Gajjar ka Halwa on several occasions and made a mess of it.....I used to wonder what do I need to do differently for my halwa to have that perfect color and consistency .....so this winter I decided to call all my Buajis and aunts and after putting together every single tip and trick they were generous enough to give me.....I am happy to say this recipe is now perfect!

Please watch my youtube video so you dont miss any of the little top secret steps :))

Its got the same  taste that only patient , loving  slow cooking roasting can impart.....and a beautiful color just like the Shaadi walla Gajjar ka Halwa  I have enjoyed growing up....

I hope you try this :)

Authentic Gajjar ka Halwa recipe that results in a deep red color halwa .

Carrots - 2 kgs washed, peeled and grated

Sugar 160-180 grams ( Regular Sugar)

Ghee 1 tablespoon

Dry fruits

Elaichi Powder - Optional

Khoya 120-150 grams

Add grated carrots to a dry heavy bottom Kadhai or wok. Cook covered with a plate for 20-25 minutes on very low flame.

Keep checking and stirring the carrot mixture at regular intervals even during these 20-25 minutes to make sure nothing burns.

Once the carrots have lost a lot of their moisture add the sugar. Once you add the sugar the carrots will leave still more moisture.

Cook covered for another 20- 25 minutes on low flame .Do not leave halwa unattended at this stage it needs constant care and stirring.

Once the carrot sugar mixture looks a little dried out add the ghee and dry fruits. Mix well to incorporate everything.

Next add the crumbled khoya. Once you add the khoya the halwa needs about 20 minutes of dry roasting .

When the halwa changes to a deep red color with no more white specks of the khoya showing , its ready.

Garnish with some more dry fruits and reward yourself for all the hard work with a bowl of halwa straight off the flame!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Morrocan Fruit Salad

Fresh mint and orange juice lift the flavors of an ordinary fruit salad to make it absolutely extra ordinary and very refreshing

No Fixed Quantities ....just cut up seasonal fruits....I used 

Grapes (slices in half)

I also added a few walnuts for crunch and texture

Dressing : Mix together orange juice a tiny dash of cinnamon and combine with chopped fresh mint leaves...mix well into the fruits!