It’s been very wintry around here the last few days, with snow and temperatures rapidly heading downward from freezing. We’ve been doing a lot of cooking with spices, ginger and chiles to take the edge off, like the udon and shrimp in Thai-spiced broth we had last night, or the Parsi goat curry the night before.
We were so excited when we found frozen halal goat meat at a small Indian grocery in Everett. We’ve thought about sourcing goat locally, but haven’t actually cooked with it before, so this seemed like a good opportunity to try it. When we thawed it out and took a look, though, it appeared that someone with a bandsaw had randomly passed a whole goat through the blade and tossed the chunks in a bag – I couldn’t tell what parts we had to work with, and there were odd pieces of bone everywhere. Oh, well, we were going to be braising it anyway.
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You could, of course, make traditional Parsi kebabs. If you’re feeling more casual, you can simplify the technique and make Parsiburgers. More casual yet is Parsi meatloaf. I recommend it.
The flavors of this meatloaf are bold and sparkling: fresh ginger, green chiles (seeds and all), cilantro and mint, all jumping out of a simple meat-and-potatoes framework. It’s spicy enough to make you want some salad or a beer, and complex enough to eat without any condiments or sauce (if you want).
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If you’re looking at the picture above, rubbing your eyes and thinking “why on earth does that look like a plate of potato chips with an egg on top?” then read on. What can I say, the Parsis made me do it. Or one particular Parsi cookbook author, anyway. For those who don’t know (as I did not), Parsis are Zoroastrian Persians who emigrated to India. Their cuisine has a great deal in common with Indian cooking, but retains certain unique qualities – including a serious attachment to potato chips.
I bought a copy of Niloufer Ichaporia King’s book My Bombay Kitchen some time ago, and was utterly delighted when I discovered the little drawing of the “Parsi food pyramid,” with the base layer consisting entirely of potato chips (the top two layers are ginger and garlic). These are my kind of people! According to King, potato “wafers” and eggs are both beloved of the Parsi people, and this recipe brings them together, along with cilantro and hot chiles, in a ridiculous, yet sublime, dish. We had it for breakfast, with cafe au lait, but it could be a quick supper with a bit of salad and a beer. Depending on your ability to pretend that potato chips are real food. Continue reading →