A few days ago, for Navroz or Parsi New Year, my Christian family and I celebrated it like we always do. With plenty of food and a little drink. Just like the fun-loving Parsis do. For us food-obsessed lot, food has never or will ever know any religion. From the divine combo of white rice, yellow dal and prawns in a sweet and sour curry we know and love as dhan dar patio; and the equally sweet-tinged jerdaloo ma gosht (mutton with apricots) to accompaniments and side dishes like the frilly chicken farcha and kachumbar salad, we pulled out all the stops to make our Navroz lunch an epic one as always. Oh, and not forgetting the silken lagan nu custard and fish-shaped sweet called mawa ni boi-bought from the iconic Parsi Dairy Farm-that we had for dessert.
But at the very vortex of all the feasting was a side dish that is as irresistible as it is easy to rustle up. Eda chutney na pattice in the mellifluous Parsi-Gujarati dialect simply means a potato cutlet or pattice stuffed with boiled egg (eda) and green chutney. It is then rolled in vermicelli or sevaiyyan before being shallow fried.
(Also Read: Delicious Parsi Vegetarian Dishes to Try at Home)
Among the Parsis, it is one of the most favourite of all side dishes as it ticks two very important boxes. To begin with, it pays homage to the Parsi's love...nay, obsession with the humble egg. Numerous dishes in the Parsi cuisine's repertoire are dedicated to the egg. Think bheeda par eda (eggs over bhindi or okra), papeta par eda (eggs over potato disks), sali par eda (eggs over potato straws) and of course, the hallowed breakfast mainstay of a spicy scrambled egg akuri always mopped up with crusty, buttery brun pao.
Secondly, eda chutney na pattice is also part of the divine trinity of Parsi side dishes of the pattice/cutlet family. One of them is the creamy white sauce Russian cutlet. This one is a chicken mince or shredded chicken-based cutlet enriched by a roux made with milk, flour and cheese. The mutton mince cutlace is another favourite. Not 'cutlet', but 'cutlace', mind you! It gets the rather quirky 'lace' part of its name, perhaps from the frilly, lace-like beaten egg that it is dipped into just before being deep-fried. Much like a piece of the aforementioned chicken farcha is.
But coming back to our Navroz lunch's star attraction, the eda chutney na pattice is one that is relatively easy to prepare. One that my mum, who has kindly parted with her recipe, says she can make blindfolded! The green chutney used in it is a super versatile one that can be served as a condiment with just about any other dish. Be it as a dip for kebabs and samosas or as a spread over freshly buttered, white sliced bread for a quintessential Bombay-style chutney sandwich.
However, the only tricky part in the construction of the pattice is the coating of the boiled egg with the mashed potato. A move that requires a little bit of practice and patience too. But then, as they say, patience is a virtue well-worth it's weight in gold and in this case, a scrumptious little egg pattice treat!
Eda Chutney na Pattice
Recipe by Ann Dias
(for 4 pattices)
2 hard boiled eggs
3 medium sized boiled potatoes
1 beaten egg
Salt to taste
20gm raw sevaiyyan noodles (unroasted)
Oil for shallow frying
(For the green chutney)
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
1 lime-sized ball of tamarind
1 green chilli
3 tbsp desiccated coconut
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1. Mash boiled potatoes well and mix in a little salt to taste. Set aside.
2. In a spice grinder mix together the coriander, tamarind, chilli, desiccated coconut, garlic, sugar and salt till smooth chutney is ready.
3. Gently fashion a round disk of the mashed potatoes in the palm of your hand making sure to not break it up.
4. Smear the inside of it with a teaspoon of the chutney.
5. Cut eggs into two and place one half of a boiled egg over the chutney-smeared mashed potato disk.
6. Gently cover the half egg with the mashed potato disk making sure to seal it up well.
7. Roll in the palm of your hand to create an oblong ball.
8. Roll pattice in the beaten egg and then in the crushed sevaiyyan, making sure to coat it well.
9. In a non-stick pan, gently shallow fry the pattice on all sides in oil till golden brown and crispy over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
10. Serve warm alongside tomato ketchup.
About Raul DiasA Mumbai-based writer, Raul is an ardent devotee of the peripatetic way of life. When not churning out his food and travel stories at a manic pace, he can be found either hitting the road for that elusive story or in the company of his three dogs!