Another fun get together…, Parsi food for our gujarati friends….these friends of mine I know them since decades.. my school friends have married my college friends ..that’s kind of awesome and another big reason why we still in contact.
dinner time and baby’s sleeping time was the same time, thus I could not spend much time with them…yet it was a fun night…chit chat…drinks and Parsi food….
Dhanshak, Parsi dal was for dinner. This dish is a specialty of our cook Raghu maharaj. During his younger days he had stayed in Mumbai with a Parsi family, it’s there he learnt this authentic recipe. In fact so many of our friends and relatives when they visit us from out-of-town, they request his dhanshak, I love his Dhanshak so much I eat it for two days or till it lasts. It has got so many ingredient, thus it is only made when we invite people at home.
This cook of our is growing old and with age his nature has become panicky. Thus that day I dare not entered the kitchen, I felt like my kitchen was high jacked, yes in am a bit possessive about my kitchen, I feel that part of the house only belongs to me…but this panic person wouldn’t calm down, running from one corner to another, he becomes like this when he had to cook for guests as he gets nervous as he wants everyone to enjoy the food. In the middle of all this panic I actually had to go in the kitchen like George and Garry of Masterchef Australia does, calm him down by asking him to take a break and breathe. He has been with me since 23 years, he worked at my parents place for 18 years. As he could not mange a big kitchen due to his age, he is with us now.
Sometimes I wonder having him around I don’t miss living with a mother in law or an old grandmother. He nags, he bosses, he is caring as well as interfering, he takes care of getting household things but he bosses poor helpers like the electrician or the plumbers who would come for some repair work, he cannot trust anyone from outside, thus he will stand on their heads till they are done…he will put away half of the vessels in the store as he is afraid someone will take them home.. The funny part is for all this we pay him to boss us. In fact the other day in our new place he was introducing himself to someone he says, ” I am the cook as well as I am also the boss so if you have anything come to me”…I just could not stop laughing….
I encourage him to go cook for other houses, to earn some extra money, when I meet my neighbours if they are inquiring I give them his number. At home he has a room where we have given him a television and where he takes his naps ( his timing are 8.30 to 4, he takes two naps). That is the time when I cook in the kitchen cause with panic resting kitchen is peaceful.
One fine day his phone rang asking him to come and cook some snacks ( fast easy money) for one of our neighbours. I was overhearing the conversation. The lady was literally begging him to come and do it and she was offering him good money so he tells, “oh not now I am watching a Bollywood movie and I don’t want to miss the end, then later I need to take my nap.she asked after your nap can you come? He said no that is my tea time…oh my.! all day like a granny he sits and does nothing still he did not give her time till the next 3 days..she finally gave up on him..crazy man I though …I could not stop laughing at his terms and conditions. When the lady met me she asked me, ” he does realise he is at his job?” I was thinking yes he does, for us it’s important to have a trust worthy caring person help us with our house hold. During my bed rest pregnancy, this cook of ours cooked for us, he would pack my husband’s lunch, also make cold lemon water for him to beat the heat, he even took care of my in between juices and salads, before leaving for his house he would prepare a hot water bag for my back ache, he will check thrice to make sure the hot water is not leaking, he would keep my food on the dinning table if I was asleep and will call in the evening to check if I had eaten, all this was not signed up on the job he was, he did it out of care, thus I don’t mind him bossing around or he sleeps or watching television cause he knows when he has to work he will…I am blessed to have him in our family…
It was a fun night, old friends catching up, I was glad all made it in spite of us inviting them on a weekday…love pulling our friend Brijesh’s leg..one of the most sporty and funny person I know…he invites us to tease him by making such funny comments…it was good catching up since we had the baby for us to meet our friends for night movies or get together is difficult..thus once in a while it’s refreshing…
Dhanshak is eaten with caramelized brown bread brown rice.
below is the recipe of my cook
(serves many…8-10 )
1/2 cup split mong dal
1/2 cup channa dal ( gram dal)
1/2 cup uradh dal
1 cup tuvar dal
2 big onions
7-8 cloves of garlic
3 arvi leaves ( pandada)
300 gram pumpkin
200 grams methi leaves ( Fenugreek )
1 black brinjal
2-3 tbsp oil
tamarind water 1 cup
1 tsp hing ( asafoetida)
3-4 whole red chilies
2 cinnamon sticks
red chili powder according to taste
4 tsp Turmeric powder
3 tbsp dhanna jeera powder
1 tbsp garam masala
salt to taste
soak all the dals together for an hour
But the onion directly on the flame, charcoal them , once done add the garlic and crush both together in a mixi
pressure cook all the dals and vegetables, pressure cook for 4 whistles or till everything is cooked well.
Crush the dal and vegetables mixture into a purée, sieve it and put in a pot, add the tamarind water and let it simmer
For the tempering, in a non stick pan heat the oil, add hing, add the onion paste and fry in for 30 seconds, once it browns add the red chilies, cinnamon stick, red chilli powder, dhanna jeera, turmeric, garam masala cook for another 30 seconds and add it to the dal mixture.
add salt , adjust all the other ingredients and take it off the heat.
this can also be eaten with paratha or plain rice like any other dal.
p.s. When I asked him the recipe like any old school cook he had no proper measures, everything was very vague but luckily years back my mom had written this recipe in her recipe book when he was teaching her this dish….good job mom!…cause this recipe is so good and authentic it is something to treasure….yumm…