If you haven’t gone beyond lagan-nu-custard, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The first of a two-part series on deliciously sweet Parsi snacks.
While the rest of Mumbai would imagine waking up at 4.30 am for a jog or to cram for an exam, Khursheed Irani labours over buxom daar ni poris. The quarter plate-sized pastry with a flaky ghee-laden, crisp exterior holds within it a toor daal stuffing that carries an aftertaste of rosewater. The outer case is coated with what’s called ‘maan’ — a glaze of ghee and rice flour beaten frantically till it reaches butter-like consistency.
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Fesenjan (Pomegranate Walnut Stew)
The backdrop to our days was Mali’s magnificent cooking, especially her khoresh, or stews—the crowning glory of Persian cuisine. Among the classic variations, there is unctuous bademjan, made with fried eggplant and tomatoes; gheimeh, a pungent blend of split peas cooked with bittersweet dried limes and topped with French fries; and sweet-and-sour fesenjan, perhaps the most beloved of all Persian stews, a heady concoction of tart pomegranate, ground walnuts and rich, flavorful duck or chicken.
Fesenjan is believed to have originated in Gilan province, a temperate green swath of land along the Caspian Sea in the north of Iran, where wild ducks are plentiful. Gilanis have a taste for tart, fruity flavors like those in this dish, which has been around in one form or another since the days of the Persian Empire. A cache of inscribed stone tablets unearthed from the ruins of the ancient capital of Persepolis show that as far back as 515 BCE, early Iranian pantry staples included walnuts, poultry and pomegranate conserve. Today, fesenjan is a de rigueur dish for weddings and special occasions.
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Courtesy : Rusi Sorabji
Mumbai’s grand old Parsi cafes are a symbol of the city’s diverse cuisine and culture, but on a foodie tour of the city our writer finds out they are a dying breed – Rosie Birkett – The Guardian
Opened in the 19th-century by Parsi settlers – Zoroastrians from Iran – these cafes, with their magnificently faded, time-capsule dining rooms and speciality dishes, are a gloriously eccentric part of the fabric of Mumbai. They are also democratic and inclusive places, where people of all backgrounds, classes and sexes meet, so you may find a Sikh next to a Hindu or Zoroastrian or a group of young female students dining alone.
They are also a dying breed. In 1950 there were about 550 of them, many of which grew from humble tea stalls; now only 15 to 20 are still open.
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It was all about the ‘lesser explored’ Parsi cuisine at Cafe Goodies… And this time, it was fusion magic………
Parsi day at Cafe Goodies as Chef Kaizad Modi belted out special Parsi dishes one after the other. It was a refreshing change for Amdavadis who did know much about the cuisine. The dishes were simple, ingredients even simpler and the taste was excellent. The chef not only explained the dishes, but also the rich Parsi culture.
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Mutton cutlets with egg lace
Pora pav (Parsi omelette)
Chicken farchas with egg lace
Breakfast of toast n butter,
Cheese n bacon will always do,
Along with sunny-side-up eedoo;
Yet nothing to beat aapro sev n’ ravo
Sprinkled generously with mevo
Or eedapak, badampak or vasanoo
Curry n rice is all very niceWith pomfret, meat, or prawns galore,
I’ll take any type, I love all type,
Be it of Goa, Madras or Mangalore.
Aapro dhandaar ne patio
Pet bhari ne chatio,
Or simply dhandaar n that heavenly dish, The incomparable patra-fish.
Dhansaak ne kebab
Khichree n saas with kolmi is the most Or humble rus chawal With
singh, potatoes n ghosh, N ‘pickle, kuchumber or simple lime Turn
these creations to something divine.
You simply can’t have tea
Without bhakhra, karkarias or popatji, Or at least chapats hot or
creamy oudh Sprinkled with lots of chironji.
There’s kumas made with toddy,
Or similarly made sadhnas,
Or meva rich kervai,
Made from bananas.
But what really takes the cake
Are the khaman na larva
That mummaiji used to make,
N’ what excites most your gourmet libido Is mewafull, ghee rich,
Masoor ma boocka,
Titori ne boomla sukhkha,
Papeta ma ghosh, kid roast,
And all sort of veggies
With ghosh ofcourse;
But Parsis’ real favorite is – - – -per eeda, Be it potatoes,
tomatoes, bhaaji or bheeda; Kheema, chicken shreds, or brinjal, Eeda
goes rather well with ‘em all.
Chicken mai-vahlan, a dish we make
With more almonds n raisins then a Christmas cake.
Sali ma murghi, pulao daar
Along with savory lagan nu achar
Is what makes bearable any man’s life, After facing a crotchety boss
or a nagging wife..
Courtesy : Neville S. Gandhi
For the fun-loving Parsi community, one of the most integral elements of a good life is a grand, tasty meal.
Think Parsi food and there are some trademark dishes that are bound to instantly pop up in your head. Be it the Dhansak or the Patra ni Macchi or the Sali Boti or Marghi or the Mutton Palav and then of course there’s the Lagan nu custard, Parsi cuisine is famous for all this and much more lip-smacking fare. In fact, if there is one thing Parsis swear by, it’s a good scrumptious meal. Yes, no Parsi function is complete without good food, a couple of drinks and some foot-tapping music to dance to.
Famed Parsi caterer Tanaz Godiwala describes her community, Parsis, or Bawas as they are affectionately called, as a community that’s all about food, food and more food. “The best part of our cuisine is that we eat king-sized. For us food is all about grandeur and comfort,” she says.
We asked some famous Parsis across different genres about their three all-time favourite dishes and what about this cuisine they love the most.
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PD — Tell us something about the beginning of High Spirits?
Khodu Irani — We started way back in 2005. I wanted my own place to run as I didn’t want to do what every other dub was doing. That’s where High Spirits came about. I had this place, my uncle’s. We started off as a simple retro music bar, slowly started doing live gigs, and then ventured into independent artists. We were one of the first ones in India to do theme parties, mainly the Halloween Theme Parties. That’s how High Spirits took off.
PD — When did you get the idea of doing a Cookout?
Khodu Irani — What I have realized that in Pune, everything is formal, people dress up, look good for a party etc. I don’t want that formality. I want the people to feel at home, and High gives a homely feeling, with the whole backyard-BBQ party. You don’t get it anywhere. The whole point of the cookout is to give something chilled out to people on a lazy Sunday, where they are not bothered of what they are wearing, what they are doing, but just hang out, get some good food, make your own burger kind of a thing. Plus it’s also a nice way to introduce people to the underground music. That’s basically how the cookout came about. It is pretty fresh; we started off about 3 months ago, so we have done around 15 cookouts. Here at High, we don’t do a single genre. At some clubs you will find only Electronic, or only rock. We try to give diversity, try to make them experience every kind of music
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