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29 April, 2013

Parsi Fix

Posted in : Food, Recipes, Restaurants, Travel on by : Reema

My first introduction to Parsi cuisine was at a friend’s dinner party in Mumbai a few years ago. The Parsis are descendants of the Persian Zoroastrian community that emigrated to India in the 8th century to avoid religious persecution. Mainly settled in Mumbai, they are a small but significant and highly eccentric group with unique customs and lovely food!

On a recent visit to Mumbai, I visited Brittania Cafe in Colaba for my Parsi fix. This famously quirky restaurant has been around for many years and has fortunately remained unchanged. It is one of the few remaining Parsi restaurants in the city and has a tremendous fan following. We gorged ourselves on classic Parsi dishes such as Salli Chicken (chicken in gravy with crispy fries), Dhansak (meat and lentil stew), Berry Pulao and  my absolute favourite,  Patra Ni Macchi (steamed fish coated in green chutney).

Patra Ni Macchi is typically served as part of a Parsi wedding meal. I am always blown away by its simplicity and great taste. Luckily, it is quite easy to recreate in your own kitchen. Here is a delicious and healthy recipe that I tried out last week for dinner. Perhaps, the most painful bit of the recipe was breaking and grating the fresh coconut. Banana leaves should be easily available at Asian food stores – I found frozen leaves at a Korean shop near Wimbledon.

Patra Ni Machi (Green Chutney Fish)

1 cup coriander leaves

1/2 cup mint leaves

1/2 cup fresh grated coconut

3 cloves garlic

1 inch ginger

3 green chillies

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt to taste

4 Banana leaves

4 Fish Fillets (Lemon Sole or Cod or Pomfret)

  • To make the chutney, grind the coriander, mint, coconut in your mixer/grinder along with ginger, garlic, salt and cumin seeds and a little water if required. You should aim for a thick paste.
  • Soften the banana leaves by slightly heating them on the pan to make them more pliable.
  • Put individual cod/sole/pomfret fillet on to the banana leaf and coat each side with a thick layer of the green chutney.
  • Wrap up the fish in the banana leaf using a toothpick to hold the parcel if necessary.
  • Steam for 10-12 minutes.
  • Serve fish in the banana leaf. Unwrap and enjoy!

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