It’s great to get back to the blog after a long time…especially with a book review for ‘The Art of Parsi Cooking’ by fellow-writer, food-n-travel aficionado and friend Niloufer Mavalwala. We met virtually through her blog ‘Niloufer’s Kitchen,’ one of my favorites for Parsi-inspired food.
Since receiving the cookbook a couple of weeks back, I’ve been perusing each recipe with much glee, reading Niloufer’s delightful introductions and explanations on my native cuisine – and marveling at how the stories are similar in any Parsi home, in any part of the world.
‘The Art of Parsi Cooking’ brings back mouthwatering old favorites like Papeta ma Gosh (mutton and potato curry), Bheeda per Edu (eggs over okra), Papri (beans), Jhinga no Palau (shrimp biryani)…along with new recipe temptations like Roast Gosh (mutton), chicken wings and Calamari Pakora (fritters).
Oh, and I loved the little recipe collection at the end titled ‘Choi ni Satheh’ (teatime treats). As you know Parsi Choi and its many accompaniments are a much-revered tradition…and it’s one of those recipes that struck me right away.
I’ve been keen on experimenting with Kumas cake for a while now – a recipe worth preserving and bringing back to the limelight. Ancient Persian food influences are beautifully reflected in this lightly spiced, semolina and yogurt based fermented teatime treat.
Growing up, the saffron-flavored dense Kumas cake often appeared on the table…but along the way, just like the worthy Chapat pancakes, Kumas disappeared into Parsi culinary history.
Well, it was worth the effort putting this recipe together; Niloufer (and her mum, whose recipe this is) have it down perfectly. I’ll leave the pictures in this post to do the talking, but suffice to say the cake lives up to my delicious childhood memories…
So, as is expected in a cookbook review, what would I change in the recipe? Nothing, really.
Just a few thoughts on making Kumas cake:
- Don’t expect a modern day airy cake. This is a dense cake, filled with flavor in each bite.
- I liked the idea of mixing buttermilk and yogurt, instead of using only yogurt…it gave the right level of sourness.
- If like me, you are a big fan of cardamom, reduce the nutmeg down by about a teaspoon.
- Bake the cake only for 35-40 minutes. As Niloufer smartly alerts us, the cake can dry out quickly. Mine turned out perfect with a chewy delightful texture around the edges.
And make sure you have a cup of chai in hand when you finally sit down to eat Kumas!
‘The Art of Parsi Cooking‘ is available on Amazon and well worth every penny…it’s a treasure trove of heartfelt family recipes.