Ras Chawal – hopefully an easy one to start with

I thought a good place to start blogging about my Parsi food journey would be with the first meal I decided to cook.

Ras Chawal translates to spicy tomato gravy (ras) with rice (chawal). It’s a relatively simple dish, but very tasty and not too spicy (unless you want it to be, in which case just throw in a few extra chilies).

The first time I tried to make it, I didn’t have a recipe to follow, so I went freestyle, trying to remember what my mum used in her cooking, and what I thought would recreate the flavour that I remembered. It didn’t turn out exactly how I wanted, but it did taste good. And since then, I’ve been refining it slightly in order to improve it. Now it’s a regular favourite with my family (even my 11 year old daughter eats it), so here’s the recipe I use.

By the way, I’m having trouble taking any good photographs of the finished meals, therefore I’ve used a photo of the ingredients as I was chopping (I’m not too good at taking selfies either, but that’s probably a good thing).

Ingredients (serves 4 people)

  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 onion (chopped or sliced)
  • 4 cloves of garlic crushed or chopped finely
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon jeera (cumin) powder
  • 1 piece of ginger (or half teaspoon of ginger powder/paste)
  • 1/2 (half) teaspoon of haldi (turmeric)
  • 2 chilies (chopped)
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 2 heaped teaspoons Bouillon powder
  • 350ml boiling water
  • 500g chicken
  • 500g chopped potatoes
  • A handful of chopped coriander


  1. Melt the ghee in a large saucepan
  2. Fry the onion in the ghee for five minutes (until golden brown)
  3. Add the garlic, spices and chilies and fry for a further 3 minutes
  4. Brown the chicken by frying it in the masala (spice mixture) for about 4 minutes
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes (I prefer to puree the tomatoes first but it’s a matter of choice)
  6. Dissolve the Bouillon powder in the boiling water (about 400ml), then add to the saucepan
  7. Bring to the boil and simmer.
  8. In a separate pan, par-boil the potatoes and then add them to the chicken and Ras
  9. Simmer until the chicken and potatoes are cooked.
  10. At the last minute, add a handful of chopped coriander.


Serve on a plate of hot, white, basmati rice, with a warm paratha or naan, or poppadoms. My wife prefers paratha, but I like poppadoms – please yourself, or have both.

A useful tip

If it isn’t flavoursome enough for you, you can add a spoonful of Kashmiri Masala. And if it isn’t hot enough, add a few more chilies.


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