By Perzen Patel
Bawi by birth and foodie by calling, I have had a passion for cooking since my mother taught me how to chop onions at the age of thirteen. It probably runs in the blood as both my grandmother and my mother have been home chefs at some point in their lives as well!
Baking has always fascinated me – something about a few very plain ingredients coming together to create a gooey rich dessert has always been a thing of wonder for me. In the family, I was known as the ‘international’ cook that liked to experiment with various desserts, dips, relishes and so on. Cooking Parsi food was never my forte, until I got married and realized I had no idea how to make the bawa favourites both me and my husband had grown up with. This is why I originally started the Bawi Bride blog to document my journey of cooking every day Parsi food. My husband who is also a food lover and will eat anything that I make motivated me to start something of my own which is why a month ago I decided to launch the Bawi Bride Kitchen.
Through the Bawi Bride kitchen I make and sell dips, preserves, desserts and Parsi delicacies. The menu rotates each week with new items such as Forgotten Cookies, Chocolate Cheesecake bites, sun-dried tomato ricotta being introduced continuously.
What sets me apart from other home chefs is that I don’t have a set menu and generally serve up my goodies only on a Saturday. Each week, subscribers to the Bawi Bride blog and kitchen receive a new menu of dips, desserts and Parsi dishes, which they can order until Friday. All the treats are bite sized, individual serves and a rich weekend treat for your tastebuds. The idea is that all the goodies are limited edition – you order it now or otherwise you have to wait until it comes back a second time later (kind of like a Groupon sale – but for food!)
I do take orders for special occasions on other days of the week but that is only for large orders placed in advance and only for a few dishes.
Here’s a traditional Beetroot relish recipe passed down to me by my mamaiji. While it goes great on some crackers with cottage cheese, on Parsi New Year I am serving it with some crispy sariya. This is an interesting twist to those that expect every Parsi meal to start with some gajar achaar and sariya.
1/2 kg Beetroots
1 small Onion
3/4 cup Red Wine or Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 cup Water
1 tsp English Mustard
2-3 cloves of Garlic
1/2 stick Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
Salt and Pepper for seasoning
Wash and boil the beetroots until they are partially cooked. Roughly chop ½ the beetroot, capsicum and garlic. Give it a quick blend in the mixer along with the cloves and cinnamon stick until it becomes a smooth puree.
Finely chop the other ½ batch of beetroots. In a heavy bottomed pan, sauté some onions until they are soft. Add in all the ingredients and place over medium heat. Bring to boil until the liquid reduces (about 40 minutes). To reduce the liquid a bit more remember you can always add cornflour as it acts as a thickening agent.
Once the relish is ready, cool and then pour into a glass bowl for serving. Serve with some hot sariya for a starter that will leave your guests wanting more or over some crackers with cheddar or ricotta cheese.