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   Some friends from Udvada have brought me a little-known Parsi dish called aradhiyun or something near that. It is my first experience of it and so far I have not decided whether I like it or not. (June 3, 1992)

It is a rich relation of the Surti udhiyun, much favoured by Gujaratis, though personally I think its reputation is a little exaggerated. The udhiyun, and I better describe that first, is made of a certain type of green beans (papri), very much like the papri we get in Bombay, but much smaller and tender, and grown only in Surat. That is the main ingredient, but added to it, in generous portions, are sweet potatoes, slices or plantains with their skins on, and some other vegetables. The entire composition is cooked in oil, with masalas, and is best eaten fresh. If allowed to cool, it gets greasy. You get it in Gujarati houses in Bombay, especially those originating from Surat, but it is not a regular dish, you have to first of all get the papri from Surat, and so is cooked only on occasions. Also, since the papri grows only in the winter months, it is a winter dish. Several restaurants in Bombay serve it: the appropriately named Surti at Kalbadevi, opposite the Cotton Exchange and Aaram at Mahim, the Kutchi restaurant near the bus terminus. There is also a place in Girgaum, which sells it, or used to sell it, in tins.

So much for the udhiyun, now for the more rare aradhiyun. I do not think any Parsi households in Bombay have it, it is a Parsi village dish, cooked on occasions. The same papri is used, and the sweet potatoes, and regular potatoes, large and with the skin on, and hard boiled eggs in their shells, and chicken pieces with the bones. The trick is in the cooking. There is no oil. The entire preparation is put in a matka, then its mouth is sealed and it is turned over upside-down. And it is cooked in a hole in the ground with fire around it, which gives it a pleasant smoky flavour. I understand it is a long process. The Parsi farmers, if there are any left, do all the stuffing in the matka, seal it, then give it to their farmhands to cook it.

I do not know whether they eat it from the matka. What was sent to me came in a plastic packet, wrapped in a newspaper, and placed in a biscuit box. I have still got half of it left in the refrigerator. I will have that tonight, then decide whether I like it or not.

 
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