CELEBRATING THE FESTIVITIES (NAVROZ)

Festivals are the periods of celebration and are an important part of life of Indian people. When religion intervened to invest the festivals with spiritual meaning, this joy came to be identified with the joy of worship.

The Festivals of India are still associated with religion and participation in the productive activities and with the seasons of the year.

The month of August calls for numerous festivals. We recently celebrated Navroz or Pateti. It is basically the Parsi New Year, which is all set to close all the accounts of the last year and begin with the new year. On the day of Pateti, the parsis visit the fire temple. It is said that the sacred fire was brought from Iran once upon a time and is always kept burning in the temple by the priest.
This festival signifies that it is the time to forget and forgive wrong and sins of previous year and start a new year of love and peace.

There’s nothing quite like a splendid Navroz meal. It all starts at breakfast when plates of sweet sev (vermicelli) are served at breakfast table together with sweet dahi. Home is decorated with colourful chawk patterns (rangoli) and torans (flower garlands) swing from the door.

Here are some dishes that are prepared to celebrate this festival.

1) RAVO
Ravo is a sweet dish which is their utmost specialty. Ravo or semolina marks the start of the auspicious day which is prepared by lightly frying the semolina before dousing it with great amount of creamy milk. The complete dish looks like pearls adorned on thick creamy layer . One can enjoy it with dry fruits soaked with ghee and buttered bread or tea.

2) PAATRANI MACCHI

When it comes to non-veg every culture has their own recipes since traditional times. This is the trademark of Parsis, using mild green chutney to coat the fish before they wrap it in banana leaves and then steam it. Pomfret or Kingfish is usually used to prepare this dish. Coconut chutney filling made up of coriander, chilies, mint, and lemons adds up to make it mouth watering.

3) SEV OR MALIDO
Usually served at the fire temple, this dish contains nutmeg-scented sweet curd. This is the best way to start Pateti.

4) DHANSAK
This delicious and popular Parsi dish can be made with chicken or lamb. You can even omit the meat altogether and go vegetarian. Dhansak is traditionally served with Brown Rice and Kachumbar salad.

5) SALLI BOTI
It gets its name from Salli (meaning sticks) for the potato sticks in it and Boti which means chunks of meat. Serve with a green salad and hot, fresh Chapatis, Parathas or Naans.

OTHER PARSI DISHES
1)Lagan Nu Custard
2)Parsi saffron rice
3)Chicken farcha
4)Saas Ni Machhi
5)Parsi Mutton Kebab.

RECIPE TIME!

*PAATRANI MACCHI*

For Parsis, the fish is a symbol of good luck and prosperity – it is transformed into mithai, used in the chawk decorations that adorn the threshold of their homes and crafted into little silver creatures that sit in the seas (ceremonial tray).

– Ingredients

6 slices pomfret
2 tsp salt
8 pieces banana leaves

~For the chutney
1 fresh coconut, grated
1 stalk fresh coriander
8 pieces green chilies
1 tbsp cumin seeds
5 pieces garlic cloves
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp lemon juice

– Method

1) Grind coconut, chopped coriander leaves, green chilies, cumin seeds and garlic cloves to make the chutney.
2)Add sugar, salt and lemon juice to the same.
3)Cut banana leaves vertically and keep the centre stalk aside.
Coat each slice of fish with the chutney.
4)Lay the cut leaves across each other, whilst keeping the fish in the center.
5)Start rolling the fish along with the leaf.
6)Keep the stalks of the leaves in a pan with hot water.
Place the rolled fish on the stalks.
7)Allow to steam for 30 minutes or more until the fish is cooked.
Serve hot.

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