शेव – दूध! Quintessential Parbhi style Pasta dessert!

The image below is an ancient kitchen tool called शेवारा… 

Parbhi style shev is somewhat like a South Indian Idiappam… 

This is served like a dessert… Accompanied with a dipping liquid  (sweetened coconut milk aka doodh or shire)!

The dish is prepared in many PP households at a Shravani Somvaar and is a part of the ceremonial meal held in the honour of a pregnant lady when she reaches her final trimester…

 

 Here goes the ultra simple recipe… Of course this is my version which is a contemporary adaptation of my mom’s age old recipe.
For the rice – vermicelli

Modakpithi (fragrant rice flour – basmati or ambemohar) – 1 cup

Water – 1 cup

Salt – 1/4 tsp

Sugar – 1/2 tsp

Ghee – 1 tbsp 

For the doodh

Coconut Milk / Cream  (fresh or out of a can) – 1 cup

Condensed Milk – 2 tbsp

Powdered Cashewnuts – 2 tbsp

Saffron – 1 healthy pinch

Cardamom and nutmeg (powdered) – a pinch each

Method

For the dipping liquid (doodh) – 

Whisk all the ingredients together till combined and simmer gently till it thickens slightly to a reduced milk like texture.

Set aside and cool completely.

For the shev – 

Bring the water to a boil with the salt, sugar and ghee.

  
Add the rice flour to the boiling water and quickly mix together.

  
Whisk this together quickly so that there are no lumpy bits left behind.

  
Cover this and cook on a low flame for a couple of minutes.

Once it cools slightly, knead well till it comes together to a smooth dough.

  
Divide into small portions and dip into boiling water for a 2-3 minutes… I’ve added a couple of turmeric leaves to the boiling water for that lovely aroma…

 
Drain out and set aside till they lose all excess moisture and steam…

  
All you gotta do next is mould these to vermicelli… The next few pictures depict how this is done using the ornate antiq shevara!

   
    
  
Serve this vermicelli warm with the flavoured coconut milk on the side./

  

Prawn Patwad – the PP obsession with prawns continues…

There are many variants of this dish across the West Coast… Parsis refer to these as Patrel. They’re called अळु वडी in Marathi and Patrode in Konkani.

All variants are essentially colocasia (or taro) leaves stuffed with a spiced besan filling and use tamarind to negate the toxic effects of the oxalates present in them (which may cause allergic reactions ranging from a minor throat itch to anaphylactic shock and seizures depending on the individual if eaten raw.

Yet this is a delicacy widely enjoyed by many across India… Cooking the leaves minimises the toxic effects and the use of tamarind renders them completely harmless.

Like all things #pathareprabhu these are non-veg and made with a stuffing of minced meat, deboned bombil or as in this recipe with prawns.

Warning: this is not a quick fix recipe. Needs some time and patience, not too difficult and simply delicious!

Ingredients: (for 1 roll)

Colocasia leaves – 5 nos (there are 2 variants commonly available in the markets, the tender green ones which are used to make a curry and the purple stemmed ones which are used in making these patwad)

Besan – 1 cup – traditionally one would use ground chana dal soaked overnight. I find that the coarse besan available in Marathi stores (used for laddoos) works really well and reduces effort significantly

Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

Dhania and Jeera powders – 1 tsp each

Red Chilli Powder and Parbhi Sambar – 1 heaped tbsp each

Ginger-Garlic paste – 1 tsp

Tamarind pulp – use a lime sized ball and extract pulp. You will need around 4 tbsp

Onion – 1 finely chopped

Coriander – 1 cup finely chopped

Karandi (tiny prawns) – 1/2 cup de-shelled and cleaned (if using large prawns, just chop them fine)

Oil – 1 tbsp for the dough and for deep frying

Salt to taste

Water as required

Method

Mix all the masala powders (turmeric, dhania, jeera, red chilli, sambar)  and add some water to make a stiff dough.

This needs to rest for a couple of hours (2 at least) so that the besan soaks well.

Add the onions, prawns, salt, a tbsp of oil and a tbsp of tamarind pulp and enough water to make a paste from the previously stiff dough. The paste has to be a spreading consistency (just slightly stiffer than say a kanda bhajia batter).

On a large flat surface use a rolling pin to flatten out the taro leaves. These have several prominent veins which may get in the way of rolling the ‘unda’ (patwad roll).

Use the largest leaf first – this should preferably not have any tears or cracks. Lay out the flattened leaf bright shiny side face-down on a flat working surface.

Splash the leaf surface with a tbsp of tamarind pulp and spread evenly (like you would butter a slice of bread).

Next spread out an even layer of around 2 tbsp of the besan-prawn paste over the leaf.

Use a smaller leaf and stick this on top of the first leaf. The second leaf (again shiny side face down, veiny side face up) needs to be inverted over the first leaf (you’ll now have tipped ends of the leaves on either side.

The next step is optional and I find it really helps in sealing the besan paste in the final roll.

Tear off one leaf and stick bits onto the exposed part of the first leaf (refer image below) till the entire exposed besan is covered  with leaf.

Repeat the same ‘paste spreading’ procedure 2-3 times to yield a roll with 3-4 entire leaves and bits of the 4th or 5th leaf.

Now carefully fold in the open sides to ensure that there is no open edge at the sides.

Start folding the leaves with stuffing into a tight roll.

Steam this roll in a steamer for around 20 minutes. Insert a sharp knife into the centre- if it comes out clean – you know it’s done…

What you see in this image is a beautiful antique steamer (fully functional) which belonged to my  Aaji and is at least 75 years old.

Let the steamed rolls cool completely before using them any further. If you try to cut them while they’re still warm, they tend to break.


Cut the cooled rolls into 1 cm thick slices.


Deep fry the slices over a medium flame till they’re golden brown and crisp.

Enjoy these crisp packets of goodness with some fresh green chutney and / or ketchup (the purists will kill me for the ketchup… But they really go quite well)

P.S. – you may notice that a lot of these images look professionally shot… Well they are. These images are courtesy APB cook studio where this batch was prepared as part of the buffet lunch catered by yours truly at their Culinary legacy series’ Maharashtrian Mejwani event, put together by their Chief Foodie – Ms. Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal and her team.

Please do visit the APB Cook Studio Facebook page for more pictures and details of the grand event held last week.

And last but not the least, the first image of the fried patwad were clicked by my dear friend and blogger Sassyfork, without whom I wouldn’t be part of this event…  Do visit these pages for details on the event.

Pangoji – Pathare Prabhu style fritters

I’m yet to come across recipes for high-tea/evening snack recipes as varied or elaborate as those in Pathare Prabhu households. 

The reason for this meal being so important to us is quite simple… Right from the times of the British Raj  our ancestors  were working professionals. 

This usually involved an early morning commute from their residence to the business district and the family had very little time for an elaborate breakfast.

The first meal of the day was part of lunch – some rice with dal/sabji and a fish prep on the side (this was prevalent even in my home where mom-dad had dal-rice and fish before the 9.14 local from Andheri to Churchgate). 

The entire family got back together only in the evening – parents back from office, kids from school and grandparents from their evening stroll.  They needed these snacks to keepthem  going till dinner time…

This is one such calorie laden recipe which is now the occasional Sunday treat at our home..

Like most traditional recipes, each family has their own favourite version. I’ve tweaked my Aai and Aaji’s recipe slightly and am quite happy with the results. 

The recipe is very simple but not a quick fix… The batter needs to rest for 2-3 hours or overnight in the fridge before it can be fried. 

Here goes…

Ingredients

2 cups wholewheat flour (Atta / कणीक)

1/2 cup small prawns or karandi (my favourite) or large prawns chopped in bits

1 small grated unpeeled (raw) potato 

1/2 tsp methi seeds – toast on a tawa and crush 

1/2 tsp jeera – toasted and crushed 

6-8 peppercorns – toasted and crushed

1 green chilli – finely chopped

1/2 tsp haldi 

Salt to taste

   
  Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl adding a little water to make a dropping consistency batter.  
Leave this in the refrigerator overnight and remove only when you want to fry them.

  
Fry spoonfuls of the batter in hot oil on a medium flame (they tend to absorb a lot of oil if the oil isn’t heated enough)

   Remove once golden (around 5-7 minutes on a medium flame) and drain on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.

They ought to be golden coloured, crunchy on the outside and well cooked spongy all the way to the centre.

Serve hot with some chutney / ketchup accompanying some chilled beer on a hot summer afternoon!

  

पारल्याची आजी and her करंदी pie

lot of PP recipes popular in my Aaji’s time were influenced by western cooking techniques. This indianised version of the shepherd’s pie using local ingredients is one such example. 


Karandicha Pie was usually the treat that awaited me when I visited Parlyachi Aaji (my naani) right after school (which was a 10 min walk from her place). I often make mine as a convenient non fried starter.

Aaji’s version was made in an old gas top oven – which looked somewhat like this – the pic is courtesy a friend (Asmita Rane) who is the lucky owner of one such heirloom!

  

I make mine in a conventional OTG…

Ingredients 
Potatoes – 4 medium (boil, peel and mash – dry out any excess moisture)
Red Onions – 3 large chopped fine
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Parbhi Sambhar – 1 tsp (alternately use a tsp of garam masala powder)
Hing – 1 pinch
Jeera – 1/2 tsp for tadka and 1/2 tsp roasted and mixed in mash
Prawns (or karandi I.e tiny shrimp if you’re fond of it like me) – 1 cup shelled and deveined

In case you’re wondering- this is what karandi or baby shrimp looks like –

  

Egg – 1 yolk
Oil – 2-3 tbsp
Salt to taste

For the filling – 

Heat oil in a nonstick kadai, add a pinch of Hing and half a tsp of jeera wait till they splutter and add the chopped onions with a pinch of salt and sauté till translucent.

Add turmeric, red chilli powder and PP sambhar powder.

Add boiled peas and chopped prawns and cook on a high flame. Dry out completely so that there’s no excess moisture taking care that you keep stirring so that the onions and masala do not burn.

For the pie crust

Season the potato mash with salt, crushed jeera, red chilli powder, Haldi and Sambhar (garam masala powder)

In a well greased baking dish, put in half the seasoned potato mash and arrange in an even layer.

 

Top with the filling and spread evenly.

Cover with an even layer of the remaining half of the seasoned mashed potatoes.  

Pour a tsp of oil and spread over the top of the lined pie.

Bake at 180 degrees in a preheated oven for around 20 minutes or till browned on top.

  

Brush with a beaten egg yolk and bake further for a minute or too till glazed.

Cool and cut in squares. Serve at room temperature with chutney or ketchup.​

 

Bhujane – Gholiche 

This is my favourite food. I’ve had as long as I can remember!

Bhujane (भुजणं) – is the Pathare Prabhu staple and every PP’s comfort food / go-to dish. Ready in a jiffy and tasty like you can’t imagine till you’ve had it!

It’s the simplest recipe ever and needs ingredients available readily in every Indian home… Although the perfect bhujane is only something your mother/grandmother makes. As much as you’d like it’s impossible to replicate the taste of a bhujane made with love and gobbled up with a mound of steaming white rice at the end of a long tiring day.

Here’s how you can fix some for yourself –

Chop an onion as fine as you can and add it to the pan you’re cooking your bhujane in…

To this add 2 tablespoons of crushed garlic (crushed to a paste), salt to taste, a chopped up green chilli, a handful of chopped coriander, half a tsp of haldi and 2 tsp of red chilli powder and a healthy glug of oil (around 3 tbsp)

Now crush these together with your fingertips till the entire mix is a homogeneous paste. This is critical as if you don’t mix the ingredients together sufficiently – the resultant curry will be a runny mess rather than the perfect gel it ought to be.

Now slide in your Ghol fish pieces and coat them in the masala

 

Add just enough water to cover the fish pieces (around 1/2 cup) and being this to a boil on a medium flame.

 

As soon as its bubbling, turn the heat down, cover and cook the mix on a  slow flame for around 4-5 minutes.

Remove the lid and without stirring with a spoon, tilt and turn the vessel so that the oil and the rest of the mix comes together.

 

This is critical as any stirring could break the fish… At this point, switch off the flame and let the curry cool down a bit.

Serve without reheating at room temperature with steaming hot white rice.

Konfal Pattice

Konfal aka purple yam is a tuber popular among the #pathareprabhu clan as fasting food… 

The texture is quite unlike a potato or sweet potato and the flavour’s pretty unique too.

 I usually pressure cook the whole yam – cut into chunks and devour them with salt and fresh coconut chutney – this is my favourite fasting food and occasional breakfast… 

This particular recipe I’m posting here doesn’t qualify for upvaas ( it has peas and coriander)… But it’s a family favourite nevertheless.

The added advantage of using this yam to cover a stuffing for pattice – you can’t go wrong!! The starch content is so high – they’ll never disintegrate unlike say a potato…

These make a wonderful crisp on the outside – delicious on the inside snack… 

Ingredients 
1/2 kg purple yam or कोनफळ 
2 medium potatoes
2 slices of bread
1 green chilli 
1 tsp jeera

For the filling 
1 cup shelled green peas
2 medium sized chopped onions 
1 cup chopped coriander 
1 cup grated fresh coconut 

Salt and sugar to season and oil for frying

Method

Pressure cook the yam and potatoes (1 whistle and 10-12 minutes), peel and grate, add salt and a chopped chilli.


Soak the bread slices in water for a minute and squeeze dry. Crumble and mix into the mashed potato yam mix. Add a tsp of jeera.

Knead for a minute and add a few drops of oil. Divide into 20 equal balls and set aside.

Heat a tsp of oil in a nonstick pan, add a pinch of hing and 1/2 tsp jeera… Add chopped onion and once translucent, add boiled peas, grated coconut and chopped coriander. Season, Mix well and roughly mash together.

Stuff each mash ball with a portion of stuffing and deep fry / pan fry till golden brown.

Serve hot with some green chutney or ketchup

  

कोलंबीचे लोणचे – story of the Pathare Prabhu Prawn Pickle!

Now this was one of the first edibles Manju and I ever ‘sold’!

  

This is a delicious fresh pickle. You may choose to finish it the day you make it or leave it in your fridge for a month picking out tiny portions to savour on the side with simple varan bhaat for those days when you feel too lazy to cook an elaborate meal and yet feel like something चमचमीत!

The recipe like all PP recipes is fairly simple and straightforward! Doesn’t take more than 15-20 minutes once all your ingredients are sorted… This recipe should result into 200-220 gms of pickle or a fill a small sized jam jar.

Ingredients 

Medium sized White Prawns – 30 nos

Garlic paste – 1/2 cup (around 100gms garlic pods crushed to a paste)

Haldi – 1 teaspoon

Kashmiri red chilli powder- 1 heaped teaspoon

Parbhi Methkut – 1 heaped teaspoon

This is a tricky one to find – not really available at a store and is made just by those few families which cater to most Pathare Prabhu households. Refer to the packet at the top right corner of this pic.

If you don’t have this, you may use any commercially available Maharashtrian style mango pickle masala (popular brands are Bedekar and केप्र) 

Oil – around 1/2 to 3/4 cup (it’s a pickle after all… )

Lemon juice – squeeze out if 1 and 1/2 nimbus

Sat to taste

Method

Deshell and devein the Prawns and rinse gently in water one single time (or scrub the hell out of them and hold under running water till you lose all the precious flavour) 

Remove on an absorbent paper and pat away excess moisture.

collect the prawns in a bowl, season them with a little salt and all the haldi. Set aside for 5 minutes.

  

Heat oil in a kadai. Once hot, slide in the prawns and fry them till cooked. Use individual preference to gauge when you want to stop cooking these. If you want to preserve your pickle (longest I’ve kept in a refrigerator is for a month) longer, fry the prawns for a longer time… You could bring them to a point where they turn out crisp and devoid of moisture – these will take the masala longer to steep into the prawn and means it can be had only after resting it a couple of days.

If consuming immediately, fry only to the point that they’re completely cooked and the prawns are ready to go into your masala.

  

Set aside the fried prawns and in the same kadai, add all the crushed garlic. Cook the paste till that raw garlic smell is gone, taking care that the mix doesn’t brown.

Turn off the flame and add the powdered masala and add back the fried prawns.

Adjust the seasoning and cool the pickle completely.

Squeeze in the lime juice and mix well. Your pickle is ready to eat.

  

 Bilimbachi Sheer

Averrhoa Bilimbi (बिलिंब in Marathi) is an exotic sour fruit – the Pathare Prabhu clan uses this to make a curry that goes by the name बिलिंबाची शीर. The bilimbi may be replaced by any fruit / veggies (tomato / grapes / pineapple). Here goes the recipe –

Ingredients

Coconut Milk – 2 cups Grated coconut – grind with one cup of water and squeeze and strain out thick extract, grind the residual coconut with one two cups of water, squeeze and strain again to yield thin extract

Besan – 2 heaped tablespoons to be dissolved in the thin coconut extract

1/2 tsp each of hing and haldi

1 tsp each of red chilli powder and Pathare Prabhu Sambhar (may be replaced with a garam masala powder)

10-12 ripe bilimbi chopped roughly

1 small onion – chopped roughly

Salt and Sugar to season

Method

Add the chopped fruit and onion in a vessel, cook in a little water with the hing, haldi, chilli and sambar (no oil) till done.

Once cooked, add the besan dissolved in thin extract and mix well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes till the slurry thickens and there is no raw residual smell of the besan. Season with salt and sugar to your taste.

Add the thick extract and take off the flame.

Serve at room temperature with a spicy pickle and steaming white rice.

PS – the pic has the original recipe from गृहिणी मित्र (first version published circa 1910) – from my 1948 version of the book.

 Kolambi/Karandiche Hirwe Kalwan

Just like the earlier shiryache post, this is a fairly simple and utterly delicious coconut curry. It’s a Pathare Prabhu staple and apart from prawns (kolambi/karandi) variations can be made with egg or you could choose to keep it vegetarian.

Personally, I prefer the version with karandi (small prawns) in it.

This recipe serves around 6 people if you are having it as a side and have a main course to go with it.

It will easily serve 4 people if you are serving it on it’s own. I love eating this with fresh pav. But it goes well with chapatis/steamed rice too.

Ingredients –

1 Grated Coconut –  roughly 3 cups

Shelled and cleaned prawn (kolambi/karandi) – 1 cup

Juice of 1 Lemon

Rice – 1 tbsp (washed and soaked in water)

Garlic – 5-6 cloves

Coriander leaves – 1 small bunch (cleaned and washed)

Salt to taste

Hing – A pinch

Oil – 1 tbsp

1. Grind together a cup of grated coconut, garlic, coriander, soaked rice and salt to a chutney and set aside.

2. Use the balance 2 cups coconut to extract coconut milk. Start with a cup of water for the thick extract and then 2 cups water for the thin extract

3. Heat the oil in a deep vessel and add hing. Once it splutters, add the ground green chutney and saute for a minute over a medium flame

4. Add the thin extract (2 cups) and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, cover it and simmer over a low flame for 2 minutes. (I usually boil some prawn heads in the thin extract – find that the flavour’s better without having to overcook the prawns)

.

5. Add the prawns in at this point and the thick extract . Stir this in and cook uncovered for a minute or two untill the prawns are cooked. (After the thick extract is added, the flame needs to be low. Thick extract requires gentle cooking. If it boils over post this point, the curry tends to have a split appearance and texture… Doesn’t really impact the taste!)

6. Take it off the flame and let it cool down a bit. Add the lemon juice and adjust the seasoning.

This needs to be served at room temperature with steaming hot rice or warm with pav.

 

 

 

Tomatochi Sheer (टोमटोची शीर)

Shire (शिरे) simply means coconut milk. The PP community uses a few words and terms which are quite different compared to the regular colloquial Marathi…  Shire being one such instance. (Most Maharashtrians would refer to coconut milk as नारळाचे दूध… And barring the PPs, very few coastal regions would be aware of the existance of coconut milk… Typically, before the advent and eventual popularity of Thai food, mostly the expression ‘coconut milk’ would draw a blank!)

Coming back to the topic at hand.. ‘Shiryache’!

No PP meal is complete without shiryache (coconut milk gravy). On vegetarian days, typically Mondays, Chaturthi or some specific religious events there are vegetarian versions. Shiryache is very versatile… There are versions which can be had as ‘fasting food’, some are cooked using seasonal fruits and vegetables, some with prawns (कोलंबी or करंदी) and go by the name ‘sheer’ (शीर) or ‘sambhare’ (सांभारे).

The shiryache is never too spicy. On the contrary, more often than not, it has a sweet undertone balancing out the spice of the fish/mutton/chicken/veggie which usually form the hot and spicy elements in the meal. This goes well with chapatis, pav but I personally like it best with a mound of steaming hot white rice!

Another peculiarity is that once made, the shiryache is rested for at least 30 mins to an hour (in a process which PP’s refer to as निरसायला… I’m not sure that word is used by any non PP). Shiryache is usually not served piping hot. The entire flavour and taste of the dish is apparent only when served lukewarm or at room temperature! It needs to be treated delicately even when reheating as it can split if it boils over ruining the texture and look of the dish!

This recipe for tomatochi sheer is simple to prepare, is a lovely colour and has a nice mild flavour. You could even serve this as a soup. Leave the prawns out of this recipe and you have a lovely vegan version. Here’s the recipe (Serves 4) –

Ingredients

  • Ripe Red Tomatoes – 4 large nos (Roughly chopped)
  • Green Chillies – 2 nos (Roughly Chopped)
  • Coriander Leaves – 2 tbsp (washed and chopped)
  • Besan – 1.5 tbsp
  • 1/2 Grated Coconut
  • 1/2 cup peeled, shelled and cleaned prawns
  • 4 cups of water
  • Methi seeds – 1/2 tsp (optional – most traditional recipes would exclude this.. It’s just something that I personally like)
  • Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  • A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Salt and Sugar for seasoning

1

Method

  • In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat a tbsp of oil. To the heated oil, add a pinch of hing and methi seeds and splutter for a couple of seconds.
  • Add in the tomatoes (set aside a tbsp for garnish), chillies, chilli powder, coriander, turmeric, besan, salt to taste and around 1/2 tsp of sugar.
  • Cook these stirring once in a while on a medium flame and add 1/2 a cup of water. Once this reaches a boil, cover and simmer over a low flame for around 5-7 minutes till the tomatoes are cooked and the besan loses its raw smell.

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  • Remove the lid and cook further for around 5-7 minutes on a medium fame, till most of the liquid evaporates. The idea is to extract the maximum flavour from the tomatoes at this point. You will notice that by now the besan has cooked and thickened this mixture,
  • Once this cools, run the mixture through a blender till smooth. (This step is optional. Many prefer the chunky texture in the final dish. I set aside a few chopped tomatoes and add them in later to get that effect.)
  • I will attempt to explain the process of extraction of shire from the grated coconut. You need to make 2 extracts ( first thick extract known as आपशीरे  and 2nd thin extract which we refer to as पाणशिरे…)
  • In the same blender, add the grated coconut and a cup of lukewarm water. Blend these for a couple of minutes and strain into a bowl. Extract the maximum liquid you can from this grated coconut and water blend into a bowl (this is the आपशीरे) and put the coconut back into the blender.
  • Add 1.5-2 cups of lukewarm water again to the blender and blend the same coconut again for a couple of minutes. Again repeat the process of straining and extracting the liquid from this blend into a separate bowl. This is the thin extract or पाणशिरे.

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  • Alternately, to simplify matters, you could use cans or tetrapacks of coconut milk readily available in stores. I find that these seem to alter the taste a bit but work just fine if you’re short of time or just plain bored.
  • Add the thin extract and the reserved chopped tomatoes and prawns (if using) to the tomato-besan blend and on a medium flame, bring this to a boil stirring continuously. As soon as it starts bubbling gently, reduce the heat and simmer gently for a 3-4 of minutes still stirring the mix. The tomatoes and prawns should be cooked by now.

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  • Add the thick coconut milk extract. Mix well. Continue to simmer  for 2-3 more minutes stirring continuously without allowing the mix to come to a boil. If it boils over, the coconut milk tends to split. If this happens, there is no way I know to rectify the dish (although it just affects the look… the dish still tastes almost the same)
  • Adjust the salt+sugar seasoning. Most PPs generally prefer to add a couple of teaspoons of sugar and have this really sweet.
  • Now take it off the flame and let it cool down till its lukewarm or at room temperature. This resting phase is also important as the flavours get stronger as it cools down.
  • Tomato sheer is best served with a spicy gholiche bhujane (more on this later) and steaming white rice.

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