I must definitely have been a Parsi in my previous birth!
Nothing else can explain my obsession with Parsi cuisine. Nothing! Give me Dhansaak, Bheja cutlets, Salli Boti, Patrani Macchi, Prawn Patia, Mutton Pulao, Lagan nu Custard and I will be a happy puppy.
My love for the community and their brilliant food began right from the Parsi school I attended – Maneckji Cooper. With most of my friends living in the Andheri Parsi Colony, invitations to Navjots and weddings were very frequent. I always made sure my parents took me to each and every one of those. I still remember sitting across those long rectangular tables covered with spotless white tablecloths; cheerful and very generous servers piling Patrani Macchis on my plate. Sigh! It’s been ages since I’ve been to a Parsi wedding!
My father who is also a big Parsi food enthusiast, reinforced my love for this cuisine. Born and bought up in town, a trip there every weekend was his way of connecting us to his childhood, the heritage of Bombay and the wonderful British history it boasted of. A pit stop at cult Parsi joints like Bostan, Cafe Royal, Naaz, Kayani, Merwan or Britannia was customary. Kheema Pav was something we always ordered with a few plates of bun maska followed by endless cups of piping hot Irani chai. Those were the days. Nobody makes kheema the way the Parsis do. Period.
With my shopping plans going bust this weekend thanks to lashing rains, I thought of bringing in some happiness with some Kheema Pav. Soft buttery pav with spicy kheema is absolutely sensational in this kind of weather by the way.
• Mutton mince (keema) – 500 grams
• Green cardamoms – 3-4
• Black cardamom – 1
• Cloves – 3-4
• Cinnamon 2 inch stick
• Bay leaves – 2
• Onions finely chopped- 3-4
• Ginger Garlic Paste – 2 tsp
• Tomatoes – 3 finely chopped
• Tomatoes Pureed- 2
• Green Chillies finely chopped – 4-5
• Red chilli powder – 1 1/2 teaspoons
• Cumin powder – 1 teaspoon
• Coriander powder – 1 tablespoon
• Garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon
• Fresh coriander leaves
• Salt to taste
• Lots of Butter
• Heat oil in a thick-bottomed pan
• Add green and black cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves.
• Add your onions and ginger garlic paste in next.
• Saute the onions very well, till they turn brown, don’t burn them though.
• Next, pop in your finely chopped tomatoes and some fresh coriander.
• Add all your masalas in next except the garam masala.
• Sauté the entire mixture very well.
• Let this mixture cook through till the oil separates along the walls of the kadhai.
• Add the kheema in next and give the whole mixture one very good mix.
• Fry the kheema in the masala paste on high heat, till it is very well covered in the masala
• Add the tomato puree in next with half a cup of water and cover the kadhai for 20 minutes or till the kheema is cooked through.
• Add the salt and the finely chopped green chillies.
• Cook the kheema uncovered till your kheema is dry.
• Add the garam masala next.
• Few dollops of butter go in next to take your kheema to a different level altogether.
Garnish the kheema with fresh coriander and serve with pav fried in butter.