Category Archives: Bawa Bhonu – Parsi Food

Gateway to Heaven – Finally Dhansak on a plate

Dhansak in a plate

Dhansak is a Parsee specialty, for those of you who don’t know it’s a combination of different lentils cooked with either chicken or mutton or potatoes. You will never find it at a wedding and it will never be made on a auspicious day i.e: Happy BirthDay, Happy Anniversary Day, Buy Anything New Day or any other Happy Day..You would think that was crazy because it is one of the best meals on the recipe list and is specially dedicated to the dead.

When someone dies the family becomes vegetarian for the first three days. Tradition holds that on the fourth day when they do eat meat its always in Dhansak. Due to its untimely association with death Dhansak is considered mourning food.

Dhansak is eaten with caramelized basmati rice, a blob of butter and some sliced onions soaked in vinegar and lime. Adding some minced Kebab’s would turn this meal into a Funday paradise.

Note for all vegan’s – Skip adding meat and add potatoes instead


For Dal

250gms Toovar Dal / Yellow Pigeon Peas

100gms Whole Masoor Dal / Red Lentils

50gms Split Masoor Dal / Split Red Lentils

100gms Moong Dal / Split Green Gram

(All the above soaked for 1-3 hours)

200gms Baingan / Aubergine / Eggplant chopped

100gms Koru / Red Pumpkin chopped

1/2tsp of Salt

1/2tsp of Turmeric

1/2tsp Red Kashmiri Chili Powder

1 Tomato chopped

dhansak dal shot

For Dhansak Masala

1tsp Turmeric Powder

1tsp Sambhar Masala

1tsp Chili Powder

1tsp Dhana Jeera / Cumin-Coriander Powder

1/2tsp Pepper Powder

(Dhansak Masala is available at a local Indian store and can be substituted for the above masalas – Add 2Tbsp of Dhansak Masala in case of substitution)

Masala Box

For Dhansak

2tbsp. Parsi Lal Masala

2 Onions finely chopped

Chicken pieces

The Dhansak Masala

Tamarind Paste diluted in 1/4th cup of warm water

2″ block of Jaggery thinly chopped

For Caramelized Rice

1 cup of White Basmati Rice

1 Onion Chopped

4pc Whole Peppercorn

1pc Cinnamon stick

2-3 Cloves

2-3 Cardamoms

1-2 Bay Leaf

4tbsp Brown/White Sugar

1/2 cup of water

Masala box1


For Dhansak Dal

– Pressure cook all the soaked dal with some salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder, eggplant, green pumpkin and tomato with 2 cups of water, for 4 whistles.

-Allow the pressure cooker to cool completely before opening the lid.


– Once cooled strain the dal to a smooth paste.

Dhansak 2

For Dhansak

– In another dish fry the onions and add the Lal Masala and Dhansak Masala, allow the masala to cook for 4-5 minutes.

– Add the potatoes and cook for another 10 minutes.

– Next, add the chicken and stir till slightly browned.


– Pour in the dal and allow to cook for 20 min.

– Gently add the Tamarind paste and the Jaggery, stir in to allow the Jaggery to melt.


For Caramelized Dhansak Rice

– Soak 1 cup of White Basmati Rice in warm water for 1 hour then, wash the rice 2 – 3 times.

– In a pan fry the chopped onion (use very little oil) and add the drained rice, allow the rice to simmer on a medium flame till the aroma of rice fills the air.

Rice prep

– In the meanwhile on another small pan heat sugar till it is completely melted and turns to a dark brown.

– Immediately add 1/2 a cup of water into the melted sugar. Take a step back and be careful while doing this step. I usually add water above my sink to prevent my kitchen from the splatter.

Caramalizing Sugar

Note :-

– I use Demerara Sugar that is why I can achieve this dark color. White sugar tastes just as good but do not burn white sugar to such a dark color.

– If the sugar gets stuck on your spoon just leave it in the water mixture and allow it to heat. The sugar will melt of the spoon automatically.

– Next, add sugar water to the simmering rice and stir once gently.

– Add cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, bay leaves and salt,

– Next immediately add 2 cups of warm water.

rice prep 2

– Cook the rice covered on a medium flame for 5 min, then lift the top and allow it to simmer open so that the water can evaporate. cook for another 10 min or till the rice is done.

Rice 2

– Dhansak Rice must be allowed to sit for 10 minutes before eating

– Enjoy your Dhansak and don’t forget to snooze….

Tendli Bhaji – Vegetarian Food For The Bawa Soul

Parsi food is notorious for being non-vegetarian, few know that we bawa’s can also whip up awesome vegetarian bhonu. All thanks to the wonderful Gujarati ancestors who let us crash in their kingdom eventually saving us from going extinct centuries ago.

By the way, they are also responsible for our sweet food syndrome and the language we currently use.

For most bawa’s it is difficult to eat a meal without some form of meat or egg, yet I have heard of no bawa who will happily agree to a meal without potatoes. ‘Papeta ma anything’ is the easiest answer to when a bawa is questioned about what he wants to eat.

To all my vegetarian readers, I thank you for being patient and for those bawa friends who love their vegetarIANS – bear with me. This recipe is called Tendli ma Papeta.

Buying and Storage:

Tendli, tindora or ivy gourd should be bright green on the outside with white small seeds on the inside. In order to store it correctly it should be placed in a plastic bag and kept refrigerated.

– 1 lb Tendli/Ivy Gourd
– 2 Large Potatoes
– 1 tsp. Jeera/Cumin Seeds
– 1 tsp Dhania/Coriander Seeds
– ½ tsp Haldi / Turmeric Powder
– 1tsp Rye / Mustard Seeds
– 1 tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder
– Salt to taste


– Wash the tendli and cut it into medium to thin circular rounds and keep aside.

Kaccha Tendli

– Peel and chop potatoes into small squares, drop them into a bowl of salted water for 10 minutes.
– Drain the potatoes and fry them in a covered pan with very little oil and a dash of haldi.
– In another pan heat some oil then add jeera, dhania and rye.
– Next, add the haldi and kashmiri chili powder, allow this to simmer to 2 – 3 minutes.
– Add the chopped tendli and cook for 20 minutes in a covered pan, mixing the tendli at intervals.
– After 20 minutes, add the potatoes and cook for a further 10 min or until the tendli is cooked.


The Masala Box – 911 Spicy Kitchen Essentials


The masala box also known as the Indian spice box is a handy piece of equipment in any kitchen. Obviously, you can add your choice of spices, which should generally be the ones you use most often. I prefer to only add dry spices to my spice box and keep my saucy masalas each separately in an airtight box in the fridge.

If you are wondering, what you should do with leftover dry spices that don’t fit in the masala box, I would suggest putting them in tiny Ziploc bags and then arranging them individually labeled in a large plastic box, this prevents my refrigerator from catching any odors.

I am also going to share some of the other important ingredients you will want to keep handy in order to set up your own Indian kitchen. I had excellent help setting up mine but for those who don’t, this article should make life much simpler.


My masala box is simple; it is made of two boxes one with seven small bowls which store most of my powdered spices the other which has three compartments stores ingredients like bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cardamoms and cloves.

A masala box can be found easily at any Indian grocery store, simply ask for a masala or spice box. While you are at the store, you might want to pick up the ingredients that go with it.

spice box2

Below is a list of basic ingredients I believe to be a necessity in my kitchen, you may add or deduct according to your recipes.

Haldi or Turmeric – Used often, it’s the medicinal superstar, add it for some color in food or on a cut or open wound to prevent an infection, even my dentist recommends it for bleeding gums. Have to be careful not to get it on your ceramic teeth or your clothes; the stains do not wash off easily.

Kashmiri Chili Powder – Used often, this chili powder may sound a little hot on the tongue but it really isn’t that spicy. If this ingredient is called for in a recipe, it’s usually to add flavor and color to the food. I use this spice in absolutely everything. Note to remember – do not substitute it with cayenne chili powder the results will never be the same.

Dhana Jeera Powder – A spice that is a blend of coriander and cumin powder, it’s also used separately in Indian households. If you plan to make your own Dhana-Jeera powder, you might want to roast the spices a little before you grind them into very fine powder. Roasting the seeds adds a taste like no other. Nonetheless, store bought versions are equally desirable.

Rye Seeds – You know good food is on its way when you can hear the rye seeds crackling. I simply love eating my vegetables with some cumin, rye and curry leaves. Crackle these ingredients in a pot; add some potatoes and you have a dish everyone loves.

Cumin Seeds – Ask me what I would do without some Jeera in my spice box and I would have to call that having a nightmare in the kitchen. The burst of flavor and the aroma of this spice is all you need in many Indian recipe.

Sambhar Masala – A blend of Methi (Fenugreek), Haldi (Mustard), Hing (Asafetida) and Til (Sesame) Oil. This masala is called for in a number of Parsi recipes and can be found at your local grocery store.

Dhansak Masala – For all those who don’t know Dhansak, is a staple Sunday diet for Parsi’s all over the world. However if you plan on going to a Parsi navjot or wedding don’t expect to see it on the menu as it is never prepared on a good occasion. Making Dhansak can take anywhere from 4 – 5 hours, but if you have the right pre made masalas stored in the fridge as I do, prep time just gets cut to half.

Lal Masala Paste – While this paste does not lie in my masala box, it is the King of my Kitchen and I would faint the day I ran out of it. The recipe is already at if you look for it in the search menu.

Ginger-Garlic Paste – it is as the name states it a paste made with ginger and garlic and can be made at home or bought at the store. Always remember to store it in the refrigerator once it has been opened in an airtight box.

Tamarind Paste – Even when it comes to food we never know what side to take, do we like it sweet or savory no one can ever make up their mind, hence the answer is simple add tamarind paste and Jaggery into almost all your dishes and voila! You have reached delicious.

Jaggery – Jaggery can always be substituted with sugar. The use of Jaggery adds a sweetness to the food but I add it because someone very dear to me once said that adding Jaggery or sugar prevents food from falling short at the table. Call me superstitious if you want but in my house as children we were taught a very important life lesson that, nobody at our table should be allowed to go hungry and well they simply never have.

Coconut Powder – I always need these for curry’s, recipes with gravy and soups. I also find it’s much easier to use powder instead  of fresh coconut to make coconut milk.

Other must have spices

Whole pepper corns

Cinnamon sticks



Bay Leaves



MunchTime – Spicy Poha

Poha, also called flattened or beaten rice is one of my favorite hunger foods. Eaten at lunch or munch time which is between 4 pm and 5 pm my time. It takes a few times to get this recipe right, mostly because you need to be careful not to over-soak the rice as that makes the rice lumpy. The trick is to use a strainer and wet the rice just before cooking the poha.

In order to make following recipes easier for everyone I have taken the advice of my good friend Irina Kovaleva and added directional pictures to this recipe.

I would also like to thank all of you reading ‘The Bawi Bawarchi’ for the wonderful emails and comments about this blog. It’s always a good feeling when you love what you do and follow your heart while doing it.


2 Cups Thick Poha/ 3 Cups Thin Poha

2 Small Potatoes

10- 15 Roasted Peanuts

1 tsp. Jeera/Cumin Seeds

2 tsp. Rye/Mustard Seeds

10 Curry Leaves

1 Large Onion

2 Green Chilies

½ tsp. Haldi/Turmeric Powder

1/4th tsp. Sambhar Powder

½ tsp. Kashmiri Chili Powder



In a small pan, fry the potatoes with turmeric powder.

In a strainer, wet the poha and drain all the excess water (do not soak it in water).

In a larger cooking vessel, heat three tablespoons of oil and fry mustard and cumin seeds for 1-2 minutes on a medium to high flame.

Add the onions and allow to cook until translucent, then add the curry leaves, green chilies and peanuts, then allow to cook for 5 minutes.


Now add the sambhar and kashmiri chili powder.

Stir for a few moments before you add the poha and cook for 5 minutes then add the fried potatoes.


Serve Hot

My Twisted Recipe – Papeta Par Eeda Cupcakes

I like to see the New Year, as a day that helps me dream up the future and ponder over my past. I think it is important to learn not only from my mistakes but also from the challenges that get to see my shining set of teeth smiling back at them.

How many times, have you heard someone tell you the past was shitty and tomorrow is going to be a better day? Note to ourselves, hasn’t the past made us who we are today? Should we not be stronger than who we were last year? Are we so blind that we are unwilling to see that we are, who we are? Loosened nuts and bolts and all of that.

I read a smart line in a very dumb book last year, it said “Life is beautiful, as long as you see it that way.” and if like me, you do not judge your book by its cover, you too will find the beautiful things that occurred this past year. Figure them out and boldly go where you have never been before.

Therefore today, to lead by example I am going where I should have gone before, to my own judgments and results from trials and errors, all with the same Bawi Bawarchi flair – The Twisted, Papeta Par Eeda Recipe that will blow the delish out of your taste buds and add some chub to your cheeks.. Can’t end it without saying it – Eat And Be Merry For Tomorrow Is  Definitely Another Day To Eat – Navroze Mubarak Everyone, Have a Happy New Year

Papeta par eeda

Ingredients –

For Crust – 1 cup flour
– 1 stick of cold hardened butter
– Salt
– 3 tablespoons of water

For Potatoes
– 4 potatoes thinly sliced
– 2 tablespoons of butter
– 2 green chilies
– 1 red onion
– Salt to taste


1 Egg per pie
Cheese for topping
Cupcake baking tray ( Lined with butter or cooking spray)

For Crust
– Sift the flour with the salt and add cubes of cold butter
– Using your fingertips lightly rub the butter into the flour until it  resembles breadcrumbs
– Sprinkle the cold water and knead briefly
– If you find the dough too sticky add some flour on the other hand, if the dough is dry add more water
– Roll the dough into a ball, wrap it in cling wrap and chill for 30 minutes

For Potatoes
– Heat butter in a pan and add the onions and chilies till the onions lose their color
– Next add the potatoes and cook for till done and ready

-Roll the crust into circular rounds and place them in the cupcake baking tray and bake them blind

(Baking blind is a term used when you add weight to your baking dish. Simply wrap uncooked rice or beans in silver foil to add weight to the piecrust to prevent the pastry from rising)

– Bake in a preheated oven 350 degrees F for 10 – 15 minutes till it  resembles the shape of a cup
– Remove the foil covered rice and add the potatoes, then break an egg on the top and bake for 30 min
– Cheese may be added for decoration

Valhalla Sandwiches – Poetry In Motion

While inspired by a sea of hunger
Patiently craving this slumbering soul
The mind beseeches creatively
The other side of my hungered whole
This path to Valhalla is born out of verse
Conveying me visions that sound like a curse

Its poetry in motion in an archaic sense
When a morsel of brie slips through like a wench
From the crevasse of your tongue when the chocolate smolders
Beware of the crumbs this journey through boulders

To find what you seek and to seek what you find
Are two very different paths of two very different kinds
In an honest to thought, if food is your heaven
To appeal to this piece is left to your discretion

Valhallla Sandwiches


– Nutella
– Wholegrain Bread
– Brie / White Stilton (with cranberries)
– Strawberry Jam (preferably with chunks of strawberry)
– Butter


– Spread a good portion of jam on both sides of the bread
– Add a few thin layers of cheese
– Butter the outsides of the bread and toast them preferably in a toasty machine or a griller that shuts
– Layer it with a scoop of Nutella while it is hot.
– Then simply bite in a piece of heaven.

Chana Masala



Chana Masala


2 Onions

2 tsp Cumin/ Jeera seeds

1 tsp Haldi powder

1 tsp Sambhar powder

1 tsp Kashmiri Chili powder

1 tsp Coriander powder

1 tsp Garam masala

2 Tomatoes

1 tsp Adu-Lasan/ Ginger garlic paste

3-4 Green Chilies

1 ½ cups Kabuli Chana/ Chickpeas/ Garbanzo (soaked in water overnight)



Grind the onions to a paste

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan and add cumin seeds wait till you can smell the aroma before you add the onion paste then add the ginger garlic paste and cook for a few minutes.

Add all the spices and cook for another 5-7 minutes.

Then add the tomatoes and allow it to cook for another five minutes.

Add the Chickpeas and cook until they are soft Mamalicious and Delicious.

Add salt to taste.

Best eaten with Hot Pooris

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