Parsis in India and elsewhere would be celebrating the Atash nu Par-hub , Ardar Mahinoo / Ardar Roj in a few days.. The wood or coal burning “chew-lo” in the olden days, during my time it was given a good clean-up and new coat of plaster or paint. Words from the Zoroastrian scriptures would hand written on the wall with thick paste either of tumeric (haldi) and flour or in red with “kuku and flour”. Flowers and fruits and a lit ghee-no-divo would be placed in the thalli. Sometimes sweet dishes like Ravo, Sev or Malido were also specially made for the occasion. We kid in North India were told it was “chew-la nu var-as” (stoves birthday).
But what I liked best was the “Ava Roj nu Par-hub” that precedes the Atash nu par-hub by a month or so. Why? Because in Delhi the Ava Roj Jashan was by the fast flowing Jumuna River where we boy could float paper boats and where my favourite Daar-ni-poeree was offered. The “Daar-nee-poeree” used to be a special, very yummy and rare treat that we as kids eagerly looked forward to. That was some 75 to 80 years ago.
Wonder if this practice is still followed in India particularly outside Mumbai? While I don’t know if it is appropriate decorating the electronic cooking range in the U.S.A for the Atash nu par-hub, but I did attempt making the “Daar-ni-poeree” and since it came out fine, I am happy to share this family recipe with any Zoroastrian.net or “Parsi, Irani, Zarathushti All Under One Roof” readers, who would like to make their own poe-rees for any forthcoming blessed occasion or simple eating pleasure.
DAAR Nee POEREE
A Late Villy Sorabji, Recipe.
(With short cuts by Rusi)
- Daar toovar 1,000 grams
Ghee / Butter 125 grams
Sugar 200 to 250 “ according to you your tastes keep aside 50 gr to add later after tasting.
Almonds sliced 4 Table Spoons.
Charolee “ “ “
Pistachios chopped 2 Tbsp
Rasins, Sultanas, Cranberry, dried cherries, 2 heaped Tbsp each.
Orange peel 3 Tbsp. or to taste
9. Water for boiling Daar. 4 to 6 cups .
Elaichee(cardamom powder) 2 Teaspoons (tsp)
Nutmeg powder 2 tsp
Rose water quarter cup & Rose Essence 1 tsp Or Alternately only one third cup Rose water
Vanilla essence 2 tsp.
- Covering . Dough
Atta 3parts Sooji one part……. All-purpose flour 3parts & Semolina 1 part. Total 400 gr dough.
Atta half a cup for rolling the dough into thin covering for the Pooree.
Ghee or butter 3 to 4 Tbsp.
Salt 2 tsp.
Egg One. Well beaten.
Water for making the dough. One cup.
Muslin cloth to keep the outside of the dough moist.
Clean, wash and soak the Toovar daar in a bowl filled with water. Daar should be totally submerged in it. Let it stand for half an hour. Take a big pot with a lid to boil the Daar. Draining the water away pour the daar in the pot add 4 or 5 cups fresh water cups and cook on high flame, stirring frequently till daar is soft. If necessary add remaining water after heating it in the micro for 30 seconds. Add Ghee/ butter and stir while mashing the daar beads with a long handle wooden spoon. Be careful of the spits of the hot daar jumping on your hands. Once it is mashed and about to thicken lower the flame and stir in the sugar, cardamom and nutmeg.
Mix in the fruits at 4 to 8. And let it cool. Mix in the rose water and essences
Note: If Orange peel is out of season, like in California where it is only available during the pre-Christmas season, use Marmalade which contains mostly tangy thick peel. I used an 18 ounce bottle. Taste the mixture and if you like it more “tangy” add more rinds from marmalade, taking care that it does not thin down the “daar” or make it sticky. (also see note below)
Dough for covering:
In a large bowl mix the atta, sooji i.e, flour & semolina, ghee and salt add half-a-cup of water. Mix well if need be add a little more water till the dough comes clean off the sides of the bowl. Cover it with a damp muslin cloth and put it aside for at least half an hour.
Then making 4 inch( 10 cm) size round balls roll them into about 10 inch round or square sheets, “rotlis” or “chapattis” ( like Mexican tortillas ) no more than one-eighth of an inch ( 3 cm.) thick. Spread the “Daar” in the center, little more than half an inch (15 mm) high and fold over on all sides covering the “daar” completely, then pinch-sealing the edges with beaten egg. Flatten the edges. Bake the round discs either in an oven or on the griddle. Oven at 400 F for about 6 minutes then flipping it over on the other side for another 5 or 6 minutes until light golden. Since ovens come in different sizes and atmospheric conditions affect the cooking differently, it is recommended to keep an eye of the baking and flip it over no sooner the top appears light golden.
Alternate method: For a large party, Since making the round “poori(s) as above requires skill and practice besides being laborious and time consuming, I experimented making it in a rectangle and 10 inch round aluminum pie dishes. (Please see pictures 006 & 7 above) .
Layering the dish with the rolled out rectangular dough, stretching it a little and making sure it covers all the 4 side walls of the dish up to one inch. Fill it up with enough “daar” so that the layer is a minimum half inch thick.
To evenly flatten the “daar”mixture in the pie dish, I used a coffee mug since rolling pins can’t be operated within the dish. (Please see pictures 003 & 004 above)
Cover the surface of the “daar” with the rolled sheet of dough. Pinch the edges from the side wall dough after brushing over-laps / joints with egg to make a good seal. Use a fork to press the edges or scratch designs on the surface. Bake at 400 F (205 C) for about 12 to 15 minutes. Keeping an eye on it after 10 minutes.
If you intend to serve the poe-ree soon after baking or if you like a rich golden crust, lightly brush it with the egg.
Note: To save time & effort I used the commercially available readymade frozen puff pastry sheets.
Should you prefer to use it too, this is what needs to be done. After taking the pastry out of the container cover with a damp cloth and let it thaw for at least 30 minutes. Then dust some dry flour on a rolling surface and carefully place the pasty sheet. Powder lightly the top of the sheet and using a rolling pin thin it down as stated above.
A word of caution. Do not try to unroll the frozen sheets until they thaw, they will break into pieces.
Someone once asked, “How long can we keep the Dal-ni-poe-ree ? ” Meaning what is the shelf life. I don’t have the answer, but Parsis visiting Bombay usually carry them home and even after the long journey plus the days or weeks in their refrigerators, they probably taste just as good when offered.
I put the same question to the manager of the Parsi Dairy Farm’s restaurant which is on the National Highway approaching Udwada, his typically Parsi never to be forgotten reply was;
“ If you eat it today or tomorrow, it is like being with your new young girl-friend, after that it is like being with your wife.”
(I really could not fathom out what he really implied? )
PS: To make the DNP extra BAWA special. Not for kids. Take a half a cup of your favourite Brandy, Rum or Vodka, soak the Rasins, Sultanas, Cranberries and Cherries for a few hours before adding it to the mix.
REMEMBER IT IS NOT FOR KIDS.
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