Monthly Archives: March 2012

Navroz (or Novroz)

Nav means New and Roz means day therefore Navroz means a new day.  It is the beginning of  the Persian New Year and the first day of spring.It is celebrated on March 21.  Iranians start  celebrating  with New Years Eve on March 20.

Persians and other Indo-Iranian groups start preparing for Navroz with a major spring cleaning of their houses, buying new clothes to wear for the new year and buy flowers (Hyacinth and tulips).

On Navroz families dress in their new clothes and start the twelve-day celebration. On the day of Navroz  people gather around the table, with Haft Sin on the table or set next to it and await the exact moment of the arrival of spring.  At that time gifts are exchanged and  they start  by visiting the elders of their family then the rest of their  families and finally their friends.  On the thirteenth day families leave their homes and picnic outdoors.

Because of the house visits, you make sure you have a sufficient supply of pastry, cookies, fresh and dried fruits and special nuts on hand, as you typically serve your visitors with these items with tea or sherbet.

Some Novroz celebrants believe that whatever a person does on Novroz will affect the rest of the year. So, if a person is warm and kind to their relatives, friends and neighbors on Novroz, then the new year will be a good one. On the other hand, if there are fights and disagreements, the year will be a bad one.

 

  • The Haft Sīn items are:-
  • sabzeh – wheat, barley or lentil sprouts growing in a dish – symbolizing rebirth
  • samanu – a sweet pudding made from wheat germ – symbolizing affluence
  • senjed – the dried fruit of the oleaster tree – symbolizing love
  • sīr – garlic – symbolizing medicine
  • sīb – apples – symbolizing beauty and health
  • somaq – sumac berries – symbolizing (the color of) sunrise
  • serkeh – vinegar – symbolizing age and patience.

Other items on the table may include:

  • Sonbol – Hyacinth (plant)
  • Sekkeh – Coins – representative of wealth
  • traditional Iranian pastries such as baklava, naan-nokhodchi
  • Aajeel – dried nuts, berries and raisins
  • lit candles (enlightenment and happiness)
  • a mirror (symbolizing cleanness and honesty)
  • decorated eggs, sometimes one for each member of the family (fertility)
  • a bowl of water with goldfish (life within life, and the sign of Pisces which the sun is leaving). As an essential object of the Norvuz table, this goldfish is also “very ancient and meaningful” and with Zoroastrian connection.[68]
  • rosewater,  believed to have magical cleansing powers
  • the national colours,  for a patriotic touch
  • a holy book   Qur’an
  • On the day of Navroz,, Persians prepare and set a special spread known as the Haft-Sinn – the seven S’s. Seven is considered a lucky number and the spread contains seven items which begin with the letter S in farsi. Today the seven S’s included are: Sabzeh (home grown sprouts); Samanou (wheat germ); Sib (apples); Sonbol (hyacinth); Senjed (jujube fruit); Seer (garlic); Somagh (sumac). In addition to the seven S’s, each Iranian family according to their religious belief e.g Muslims,  place the Quran, rosewater,
    ..

In Surah Ya-Sin of the Holy Qur’an, Allah says:

Let the once dead earth be a sign to them. We gave it life, and from it produced grain for their sustenance. We planted it with palm and the vine and watered it with gushing springs, so that men might feed on its fruit. It was not their hands that made all this. Should they not give thanks?

    — Surah 36, Verses 33–35

Ismailis across the globe celebrate Navroz with the recital of devotional poetry in the form of ginans, qasidas.. Dried fruits, nuts and grains are distributed among Jamati members, symbolising blessings of abundance and sustenance. Navroz is also a time of family gatherings and celebratory meals, thus strengthening family bonds and fraternal ties.

All Muslim countries have different food on the day.  In Iran they cook white Fish and rice.  In Pakistan they have Egg and Daal  Biriyani,  Most people will use egg in the cooking.  In our family we make Egg and Daal Biriyani and Lapsi.

 

 

 

 

 

Bartha

Eggplant is the fruit of a plant which originated in India.  Eggplant is a berry eaten as a vegetable.  There are a few varieties of eggplants.  The purple skinned eggplant, which as an elongated form like a large pear, is the most well-known variety.  The Asian eggplant refers to   varieties that can be as small as an egg, long and thin.  The thin, smooth skin can be dark or light purple, cream, white, green or orange.  The yellow-white flesh is spongy and contains small brownish edible seeds.

Western Eggplant

western eggplantwhite eggplant

 

White Eggplant

 

Thai Eggplant
 
Thai eggplant

Asian  long Eggplant
Asian long eggplant

 bartha with chappati

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1               egg plant (western)
  • 4               tbsp oil
  • 1               medium onion chopped
  • 1               medium tomato chopped
  • 1                tsp green masala
  • 1/2             tsp dhana jeera (corriander and cumin powder
  • 1/4             tsp haldi (turmeric powder)
  • 1/2             tsp salt
  • 1                tbsp chopped cilantro

Instructions

  1. Rinse the eggplant and cut in half.  With a pastry brush(or your fingertips), brush  the eggplant with oil and bake  in a preheated 350 degrees oven for 20 minutes(Cut side down).  The egg plant will be soft when done.
  2. In a small saucepan heat the oil and sauté  the onions till they are transparent.  Add the chopped tomatoes, green masala, dhana jeera, haldi, and salt and cook it for five minutes.
  3. With a fork loosen the flesh of the egg plant and add this to the saucepan.  Discard the skin.  Mix well, cook for a couple of minutes.
  4. Garnish with cilantro before serving.
  5. Serve with chapatti or rotlo.

BANANA BREAD

Makes 2 loaves

Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • ½          cup buttermilk
  • 2           tsp baking soda
  • 4           cups white flour
  • 2           cups Sugar
  • 1           cup walnuts (chopped)
  • 3           bananas
  • 4           eggs
  • 8           oz butter

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Mix baking soda with buttermilk and leave it aside for about ten minutes . The mix should double.
  3. In a bowl mix white flour, sugar and ½ cup nuts.
  4. Mash the bananas and add this to the mix.
  5. Beat the eggs and add it to the mix.
  6. Melt the butter and add to the mix.
  7. Add the buttermilk and mix everything together.
  8. Divide this into 2 greased  loaf pans, sprinkle the chopped nuts and bake for 50 minutes.  The bread is done when a tooth pick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Bhinda Curry

Bhinda is also known as Okra or Lady’s Finger.  You can buy them fresh from Chinese, Indian and Iranian grocery stores or you can buy them frozen from the supermarket.  

 Bhindi and Chapati

  Ingredients                                                              

  • 1           lb bhinda
  • 2           medium onions
  • 4           tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2        tsp cumin seeds
  • 2           medium tomatoes
  • 1           tbsp green masala
  • 1           tsp coriander and cumin powder
  • 1/4        tsp turmeric powder
  • 1           tsp salt
  • 2           tbsp yoghurt
  •              juice of 1 lemon
  • 1           tbsp chopped cilantro

Instructions

  1. Take a wet kitchen towel and clean the bhinda.  Slice them into 1/2 rings.
  2. Peel and thinly slice the onions.
  3. In a medium saucepan heat the oil, add the cumin and the sliced onions and fry till the onions are transparent.
  4. Chop the tomatoes and add this to the onions.  Add green masala,  dhanajeera ( coriander and cumin powder), turmeric powder, salt, yoghurt and lemon juice.  Stir and cook this on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the bhinda, mix and cook covered for about 10 min.  The bhinda should be soft.
  6. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

Serve with chapatti or paratha

Meat Samosa

A samosa is a stuffed, deep fried snack that is very popular in the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Southwest Asia and Africa. It generally consists of a fried triangular, pastry shell with a savory filling, which may include spiced potatoes, onions, peas, coriander, and lentils, or ground lamb or chicken. The size and shape of a samosa, can vary considerably, although it is mostly triangular. Samosas are often served with chutney,generally as an appetizer. Given the popularity of Indian cuisine, samosas are widely available in Indian restaurants and snack-bars in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa.

While samosas are traditionally fried, many people  prefer to bake them, as this is more convenient and healthier. 

In many countries samosa is sold as a street food.

Samosa is not an easy food to make.  You need a lot of practice to make it.  Now a days you can buy the pastry at an Indian grocery store and some supermarkets.

Samosa

Makes about 20

Ingredients

  • 1               package samosa pastry
  • 1               lb ground beef
  • 1/4            cup water
  • ½              tsp salt
  • ½              tsp crushed ginger
  • ½              tsp crushed garlic
  • ½              tsp crushed green chilies
  • ½              tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1               tsp freshly ground cumin
  • 1               tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1               large onion finely chopped.
  • 1/2            tsp  garam masala
  •                  Few leaves of mint finely chopped.

Paste

  • 3               tbsp white flour
  • 4               tbsp water

Method

  1. Cook meat on medium heat with ¼ cup water.  Stir and break the meat until the meat changes color.
  2. Add all the spices and cook till meat is dry and cooked.
  3. When mixture is cool add chopped onions, cilantro, mint and garam masala.
  4. Make a paste with flour and water.
  5. Fold according to the diagram. 
  6. Fold the small side in half and mark the center
  7. Fold C to F
  8. Apply the paste over this diamond.
  9. Fold A to E
  10. Fill the pocket with meat mixture.
  11. Apply paste to the flap. Close the pocket fold and seal.
  12. Deep fry.

 

Samosa wraping

Cream Chicken

Cream Chicken 

Serve 6

Ingredients

  • 4                  tbsp vegetable  oil 
  • 1                  cup finely chopped Green Onions
  • 1                  cup finely chopped Green Pepper
  • 1                  tsp finely chopped Garlic
  • 1                  tsp finely chopped Ginger
  • 1                  tbsp Tabasco
  • 1                  tsp freshly ground Cumin
  • 1                  tomato finely chopped
  • 1                  tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1                  tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1                  tsp salt
  • 1                  chicken cut up in 10 pieces
  • 1                  cup chicken stock
  • 2                  cups frozen corn
  • 1                  cup whipping cream*

Instructions 

  1. In a saucepan heat the oil and sauté  the onions and green pepper till they are transparent.
  2. Add  garlic, ginger, Tabasco, cumin, tomato, tomato paste and lemon juice and  salt .  Cook on medium heat for about 5 min.
  3. Remove the skin and fat from the chicken and rinse it in cold water.
  4. Add the corn, chicken, chicken stock and cook on medium heat,  covered,  till the chicken is cooked about 20 minutes. 
  5. Add the whipping cream before serving.

Serve with rice or bread.

*A can of evaporated milk can be used instead of whipping cream.

The chicken is cooked when the meat changes colour and it is firm to the touch.

BLACKBERRY, ALMOND AND CARDAMOM CAKE

This recipe is from the Hello Magazine and is by a Norwegian food writer Signe Johansen.  This is a wheat free cake.

Blackberry almond cardamom cake Slice of Cardamom Cake

 

 

 

 




Ingredients

  • 125                gm butter                                                 4 oz
  • 20                  gm golden casters sugar                        1 oz
  •   1                  tsp vanilla extract
  •   3                  medium Eggs
  • 250                gm ground almonds                                 8 oz
  •    2                 tsp baking powder
  •    1                 tsp ground cardamom
  •    ¼                sp salt
  • 200                gm fresh or frozen blackberries               6 oz
  • 200                gm summer berries to serve (optional)    6 oz

Instruction

  1. Preheat the Oven to 350 degree F and lightly oil a 23-cm-round cake pan.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time along with a tablespoon of ground almonds to stop the mixture from splitting..
  3. Mix the rest of the ground almonds with the baking powder, ground cardamom and salt in a medium bowl, and then use a large metal spoon to fold these dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Stir until just blended. Add the blackberries and stir once or twice more to incorporate them. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared pan and bake on the middle oven rack for 30 to 35 minutes or until the cake has risen, looks golden brown and feels firm to the touch.
  4. Cool in the pan on a wire rack before turning out.

Serve this cake either on its own or with mixed summer fruits pile on top and with sour cream or crème fraise. This is quite a moist cake, so it will keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight tin or wrapped in foil.

Undhiyu

 Undhiyu is a Gujarati mixed vegetable casserole that is a regional specialty of Gujarat, India.  The name of this dish comes from the Gujarati words “matlu” meaning earthen pot and “undhu” meaning upside down since they have been traditionally cooked upside down underground in earthen pots fired from above.

The dish is a seasonal one, comprising the vegetables that are available on the South Gujarat coastline during the winter season, including (amongst others) green beans, unripe banana, muthia  and purple yam. These are cooked in a spicy curry that sometimes includes coconut.

Undhiyu with puri and shrikhand is often eaten in Gujarati houses during winter season.

you will find a few different recipes for Undhiyu. 

Undhiyu has a lot of ingredients and takes longer to make.  It is prepared in stages.

 Undhiyo

Ingredients

Mutiya

  • 1 1/2                 cup chana flour(gram flour
  • 1/2                    tsp salt
  • 1/4                    tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/4                    tsp chili powder
  • 1/4                    cup chopped spinach or
  •                          fenugreek leaves (methi bhaji)
  • 1/4                    cup shredded cabbage      
  • 2                       tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4                    cup water
  • 2                       cups oil for frying

Vegetables

  • 1                        yam 
  • 8                        small potatoes
  • 8                        small egg plant
  • 1                        cup green beans
  • 1                        cup Pigeon peas(cooked)
  • 1                        cup water 

Masala

  • 1                        cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2                     cup spring garlic
  • 1                        cup peas (crush it a little)
  • 1/2                     cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2                     tsp salt
  • 1                        tbsp green masala
  • 2                        tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2                     tsp garam masala
  • 1/4                     cup sugar
  • 1/4                     cup lemon juice or
  • 1 tsp                  citric acid
  • 1/2                     tsp crushed  cumin
  • 1                        tsp coriander powder

Vagar

  • 1/4                     cup oil
  • 10                      curry leaves
  • 1                        tsp ajwan
  • 1/2                     tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2                     tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2                     tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4                     tsp hing(optional)
  •  
  • 2                        tbsp chopped cilantro for decoration

Instructions

Mutiya(dumplings)

  1. Mix all the ingredients for mutiya except the water.  Make a stiff dough using a little water. 
  2. Put a teaspoonful of the dough in your hands and squeeze firmly to make an oval dumpling about 1” x 1/2”.  Repeat until all the dough is used.
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan and deep fry the dumplings.

Vegetables

  1. Peel and Cut the yam into 1 inch cubes.  Coat it with oil and bake it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 or until cooked through.
  2. Rinse and slit the eggplant into fours.  Do not cut it through.
  3. Peel and slit the potatoes in the same way as eggplant.
  4. In a small bowl mix everything for the masala.
  5. Use some of this masala to fill the egg plant and potatoes.

Make the Vagar:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil.  Add the curry leaves, ajwan, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds cumin seeds and hing, 
  2. Add the leftover masala and 1 cup of water and mix well.  Layer all the vegetables, eggplants, potatoes, green beans and pigeon peas. (Do not mix this, let it cook layered).  Cook  covered on medium low heat for about 15 minutes.  Add the yams and the dumpling and let it cook for another 15 minutes.

Serve it hot on a platter sprinkled with chopped cilantro.