Wednesday, January 12, 2022

INEVITABLY A PARSEE

One of my friends referenced Kowloon. So naturally I remembered that the company I worked for (over a decade ago) had an office in Kowloon (on Mody Road), and contracts with factories in Kwuntong and Shenzhen. Which, of course, brings up words.

Let's start with Mody Road (麼地道 'mo tei tou'), named after a famous Parsee (Hormusjee Naorojee Mody), which starts at Nathan Road (Tsimshatsui's main street, 彌敦道), and runs roughly north, north west. Kwuntong (觀塘 'gwun tong') is where the HK plastic flower industry started, and is mixed industrial and residential. Shenzhen is "deep ditch" (深圳 'sam jan'), across the border in China. Kwuntong used to be 官塘 ('gwun tong'), "mandarin ponds".

And, logically, the memory will now jump to gajjar mewa nu achar (carrot and fruit pickle, also called "wedding pickle' -- lagan nu achar), a famous Parsee pickle. Mangoes, dates (khajur), raisins (kismis), carrots, all combined with jaggery, brown vinegar, plus red chili powder, garlic, ginger, minor quantities of cinnamon, cloves, and star anise. There are recipes on the internet, but keep in mind that such pickles will keep better, and the flavour will be more intense when some dehydration is in play; if you let the thin matchsticked carrots dry a bit (two to five days)
in a sunny spot before you begin, the results will be better.

Technically it's a chutney, so it does not rely on salt for preservation.
The dried fruits are there for sweetness and texture.
Many people also add dried apricots.
Jardalu; very Parsee.

Not too sweet, not too spicy.


I'm also reminded of jardalu boti; a Parsee lamb and dried apricot curry with a big handful of fried matchstick potatoes strewn generously over. Videos and recipes on the internet.


The question "can one get Parsee food in Hong Kong", or "is Parsee food available in San Francisco" is, ab initio, wrong. Anything a Parsee eats is, by definition, Parsee food. They are picky, but extremely broadminded about food, and will happily explore other people's cuisines. One Parsee on FB does chocolate cakes which are staggering works of art and unbelievably gorgeous, another improves on English food (a noble enterprise, there is much room for developments there).

If one could generallize about their cuisine, it would be that they love sweet-sour-spicy, eggs in any form, apricots, textural effects, and dishes which would shock your cardiologist.
Plus tea with snackies in mid-afternoon.

One can get Parsee food in Hong Kong. And San Francisco.
You would just have to make it yourself.

Add a fried egg.



POST SCRIPT

Sorry, I got distracted by food for a moment there. Inevitable, that. I actually intended to write an essay in which I could use a recent academic colour exercise as an illustration.
Even if I had remained on the subject of language, it would have been a hard slog.
The painting above looks somewhat apricottish, doesn't it?
Doesn't it remind you of fruit leather?
Jardalu landscape.



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