This unique dish is a true Parsi Cuisine classic, using boneless cubes (boti) of any meat of choice and Persian touches like apricot (jardaloo,) red vinegar and sugar along with a blend of mouthwatering Indian spices and aromatics. It’s best served topped with crisp ‘Salli’ or shoestring potatoes (although a handful of crushed potato chips work well too.)
An authentic Parsi feast: Rice and lentils with prawn sauce
Good food, good health and a good life – this is the profound Parsi belief. For us, good food doesn’t necessarily translate into an elaborate meal; it generally refers to a more simplistic and balanced approach to cooking. Since we Parsis like to feast often, we come up with easy-to-prepare meals that make our special occasions even more special.
To get your celebration started, here is how to prepare dhandal patia (rice with lentils, topped with a spicy sauce).
Serve all three dishes together. To eat, pour daal over the rice and top it with the spicy prawn sauce.
Dhandal patia is ideal for family gatherings (the above recipe can serve up to 7 to 8 people). It also saves you the hassle of preparing a separate dish for children who have a very low tolerance for spicy food, as they can simply enjoy the rice with daal. Also, the dish is versatile so if you prefer fish over prawns, you can go ahead and use 1kg fish in the above recipe instead of the prawns.
So if you are one of those who dread hosting parties with the thought of toiling away in the kitchen, this might just be the perfect recipe for you.
Happy Parsi feasting!
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Food is integral in a Parsi home, be it at festivals, as part of tradition or enjoying a leisurely, lavish spread. All three elements come together this Sunday, when Zoroastrians celebrate their New Year, Navroz. The GUIDE caught up with Jeroo Mehta, expert in Parsi cuisine, to take us through its intricacies and uniqueness
According to Mehta, on festive occasions like Navroz (this year on Sunday, August 18), birthdays and anniversaries, a typical Parsi menu would include a fish dish like Crispy-Brown Fried Fish or Luganno Sas (Fish in Spicy White Sauce), Khari Murghi-ma Sali (Chicken with Potato Straws), Meat Pilau with Masala Dal (Dhansak Dal without meat), or Dhan Dal and Kolimino Patio (Prawn Patio). The meal would end with a dessert of Sev with Sweet Curd, or Ravo.
Nuts over food
Over the centuries since the first Zoroastrians arrived in India, Parsis have integrated themselves into Indian society while simultaneously maintaining or developing their own distinct customs and traditions. “The use of dry fruits, liberally sprinkled over desserts and other dishes, and saffron, are a Persian influence,” says Mehta.
“Almonds, pistachios, kismis, walnuts, cashew, etc enhance Parsi cuisine. Figs, pomegranates (symbol of fertility), plums and apricots are used with abandon and decorate special dishes for celebrations during festivals and on any happy occasion.
Although a lot of our cooking reflects the Persian influence, which followed us to India 13 centuries ago, Parsi cuisine has adopted many ingredients that are used by other communities in India,” she reasserts. Thus Milky Falooda (traditionally served at Navroz), coconut milk in cooking and many other flavours and spices of the varied and individual cuisines of India have become part of Parsi cuisine.
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Chef Jamsheed Bhote lays down a true-blue Parsi cuisine at an exclusive food festival on at The Trident
Happy and effusive, Jamsheed Bhote is instantaneously likeable. Quite like the nutmeg flavoured lagan nu custard that he has prepared for the food festival showcasing Parsi cuisine. “It’s a must at our weddings, but a bread butter pudding or caramel custard is a staple dessert at a regular Parsi meal. We are Brits, Iranians, Gujaratis and Bombaywallahs all rolled into one,” he says about the different influences that have shaped Parsi food and habits.
With pride Jamsheed narrates the tales of his community’s migration to India and the culinary journey. He talks of the four boats that brought his ancestors down to the Rann of Kutch, of the initial hesitation of the ‘Rana’, the ruler there and of the Parsi head priest’s appeal for shelter. It is said that the priest asked for two bowls, one of milk and one of sugar and mixed them. The Rana was then asked to extract the sugar from the mix, which he could not. That, pointed out the priest, would be the degree to which the settlers would merge with the indigenous community. And so it was.
The “khatta meeta”, sweet-sour tang, is a Gujarati influence. “Sugar is added either for a first taste or for an aftertaste, but sugar is used in most dishes,” says Jamsheed, who was training in-house chefs at The Trident for the festival that runs through this month.
Parsi food derives its penchant for meats–lamb and poultry–from Iran, but seafood and fish are a coastal influence. “We brought our temple fire carefully over the seas when we migrated and built our first temple at Udwada in Gujarat. We imbibed Gujarati food habits. This was followed by Western influence from the British and the cuisine, which was initially quite tangy, but gradually turned mild. Crumb frying and baking techniques were introduced, bringing in some of the most popular dishes like frilly cutlets and lagan nu custard.
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The Parsi community is small but its cuisine has travelled far and wide. Cooking up a Parsi delicacy can be easy if you know the secret ingredients invariably present in every dish – onions, tomatoes, ginger garlic paste and coriander. The traditional lip smacking bawa fare is a must-try for foodies who can get their hands on it. And for those who can’t, we’ll help you prepare some yourself. Here we bring you three favourites of every Parsi household.
Click Here for some interesting recipes for Akoori, Dhansak and Chaapat
Uncool in Mumbai, revived in London
10 June 2013, New Delhi, Naomi Canton
Once something is out of fashion in India, the West recycles it and makes it trendy again. Newly-opened Bombay Irani Café, Dishoom, in Britain’s capital, shows us how.
When I had lived in Mumbai, I had hung out in the likes of Café Coffee Day, Gloria Jeans and Barista. I had barely ever ventured to the Bombay Irani Cafes. Of course I went to Leopold but it was always so packed with tourists, I hardly got the Irani café vibe and after the 2008 terror attacks, it took on a new celeb status for the bullet holes.Shoreditch is a cutting-edge part of London where art, experimentation, creativity, freelancers, hot-desking, designers and a breed of Londoners known as hipsters can be found.
So, I was curious to hear that a Bombay Irani Café had opened up there.
But now in London a Bombay Irani Café called Dishoom is the latest place.
Courtesy : Sam M.Billimoria