XVII NAZC in Los Angeles, Keynote Address by Nadir Godrej

Nadir Godrej, the eminent businessman and philanthropist was the first keynote speaker at the XVII North American Zoroastrian Congress in Los Angeles. Click on the link below for the text of his address, delivered on Monday Dec 29th 2014 in his trademark style of poetry.
Courtesy : Ketayun Kapadia



The Parsi flavours: SodaBottleOpenerWala

For me, SodaBottleOpenerWala was an introduction to another culture. And maybe the next time, I would take my book of Rumi DSC_0019 to enjoy with a plate of eggs and Parsi Choy. There’s still the bun maska and maybe a Bawa peg to experience too.

It has a nice cozy old-world, historical, yet modern ambience. And there is a blackboard of restaurant manners. The café has a range of drinks and considering it was winter I was intrigued to see an offering of Rum and Sugarcane. It wasn’t the season for sugarcane, but what came was a fresh, frothy heady mix, a unique drink. I loved it. What a group would love though is the Beer Tower.

Deciding what to eat or not to eat, I let the restaurant manager choose a starter fish and main course of seekh with paratha. The dishes are served in traditional Parsi platter style. Tareli Machhi is deep fried fish and went down well with my rum-laced sugarcane. The main course was a Bhendi Bazar Sheekh Paratha inspired by the paratha offered in Bhendi Bazar, Bombay. And the best thing that I liked was that you can get the leftover food packed to take home. The café also has a bakery where you get fresh cookies and cakes.

You could go there on New Year’s Eve to say goodbye to 2014 Parsi style. Listen to some bindaas music, enjoy a plate of Keema Ghotala, Parsi Duck Masala Roast, Rice with Curry and keep the memories alive  with Chef’s giveaways and pictures.

Address: CyberHub, Shop no. 3, Near Building no. 8, DLF Cyber City, Phase II,
Gurgaon, Haryana; Phone nos: +91-0124-6518801, 8527636633;
Timings: 11.30 am to 11.30pm

New Year celebration reservations at 73, Khan Market, New Delhi;
Contact no: +91-011-43504778, 011-453504878 and 9810877701

Average meal for two: Rs. 1,​5​00 ++​ (excluding alcohol); Credit cards: Accepted

Website: sodabottleopenerwala.com

Click Here for the full review

The Global Gara — Across Oceans and Flowing Silks

The Global Gara
Across Oceans and Flowing Silks
Ashdeen Lilaowala  at the National Gallery of Modern Art,
 Kala Ghoda, Mumbai ,India
In collaboration with UNESCO – PARZOR – and the Government of India
One hour (approx)
On Friday 3 Jan 2014, the Godrej India Culture Lab held a talk with designer Ashdeen Lilaowala in collaboration with the exhibition Across Oceans and Flowing Silks: From Canton to Bombay 18th to 20th Centuries that was held at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai.
An amalgamation of the  cultures of Iran, China , India and Europe in a unique textile tradition and heritage: –
Gara inspired colors, motifs and symbols in modern Parsi embroidery

Were the Three Wise Men Bearing Gifts to Jesus Zoroastrians?

‘Three Wise Men’ – believed to have travelled from afar to bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the newly-born baby Jesus in Bethlehem – may have been Zoroastrians.

The beloved tale of the Three Magis is annually re-enacted at millions of venues across the globe. In the story, three Kings — Caspar, Balthazar and Melchior — travelled on camels across deserts and mountains for more than a week in search of the new Messiah. A single, shining star guided the pilgrims, who found the infant in a manger.

Zoroastrianism – believed to be the world’s first monotheistic religion, predating Judaism and Christianity – arose in the Persian Empire, around the 6th century B.C. Sometime around the 8th or 10th century, many Zoroastrians migrated to the coast of Gujarat to avoid subjugation at the hands of Muslims, who were now dominating the region. The migrants became known as Parsis.



Zoroastrianism is one of the world’s smallest religions, with a population of less than 200,000 people world-wide. About 17,000 Zoroastrians live in North America; the community will hold its annual three-day conference later this week in Los Angeles, Calif., beginning Dec. 28. Many scholars believe the three men were Zoroastrian priests, teaching the philosophy of Zoroaster. Others, however, believe the triowere princes skilled in astronomy, which allowed them to predict that Saoshyant – a new Zoroastrian messiah – would be born in Jerusalem.

Citing a story in the Book of Seth, renowned Zoroastrian scholar Mary Boyce said the Magis of Persia had for many generations expected a star to appear. Every year, 12 of the Magis would climb a mountain to look for the star. “At last one year, the star appeared, descending from the mountain, having within it, the form of a baby boy,” wrote Boyce, as cited by the Bombay Parsi Punchayet Review.

Click Here for the full story by Sunita Sohrabji – India-West

Chef Hushmoin K. Patell – ‘Chefs never make mistakes’

Your favourite recipe book?

That is a really tough question! There are a few books in that list and narrowing it down to one is hard.Hering’s Dictionary of Classical and Modern Cookery by Walter Bickel is an encyclopaedia of recipes. As a young chef, it opened my eyes to the number of possibilities with food, and is a book I recommend to most young professional chefs. Another book is White Heat by Marco Pierre White; this is a cookbook that’s partly autobiographical and talks more about the essence of cooking and the drive to be perfect.

Click Here for the full interview

XYZ thanks you for your support

Dear Parents and Well Wishers,
XYZ has officially launched and all of us cant thank you enough for all the wishes and messages that you have sent us. I promise to try and reply to all of them at the earliest.
We had over 250 children participate on stage at the launch and over 900 people who were cheering for them in the audience.
We will be sending you a link for the pictures and video of the launch event. You can also like us on facebook by clicking on the link – www.facebook.com/xyzfoundationindia
The volunteers of all 7 groups need all the credit of pulling off this fantastic show and the effort put in by them is truly commendable.
XYZ - Hindustan Times - Page 1 and 6
The community has supported this initiative and we are grateful. More than just the community, the press has also been super sensitive with lots of our pictures and articles appearing online )(http://www.themetrognome.in/lifestyle/deal-with-it/young-parsis-take-up-the-mantle-for-the-community)
We were also featured on Page 1 and 6 of Hindustan Times and Page 2 of DNA on Monday, 22nd December 2014 
As it is correctly said, this is just the beginning… Our first event is on Christmas Day, where our XYZs will be travelling to old age homes and orphanages to celebrate Christmas with the orphans and seniors.
This activity is part of our Social Service Initiative of Zoroastrians Stepping Forward where our kids will be bringing smiles on numerous faces.
XYZ - DNA - Page 2
This activity is for XYZ participants along with their grand parents or parents. If no one is able to come, the XYZs can also come themselves.
The groups of Daraius’ Daredevils and Cyrus’ Superstars will be going to the Parekh Dharamshala at Huges Road. (Seniors)
The groups of Jamshed’s Giants, Homai’s Heroes and Behram’s Battalion will be going to Manav Seva Sang at Worli (Children & Seniors)
The groups of Rustom’s Rockstars and Tehmurasp’s Titans will be going to the Cama Home at Bandra. (Seniors)
The buses will pick up the participants by 9:00 am at different venues, you can speak to your volunteers for the same and confirm if your child will attend the same. 
Post their time at the organisation, all of them will travel to the Bhikha Behram Well to attend the Ava Roj Humbandagi and a talk by Ervad Dr. Ramiyar Karanjia and will then receive their Christmas presents from XYZ and head back home around noon.
Please make sure that all XYZs carry one goodie bag whose value is anywhere between Rs. 100 and 200. Please avoid putting items of more value in any one goodie bag, you can send more bags for more children or seniors.
For example, in a goodie bag you can have toiletries like talcum powder, lotion, toothpaste, soaps etc. You can also have biscuits and chocolates along with art and craft material for the kids.
Please ensure that no old clothes, toys or products are in the goodie bags as this is given to try and bring smiles on peoples faces and wish them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
If you are unable to attend the event or send your child and would still like to give a goodie bag, please do contact your volunteers for the same and you can hand it over to them by Wednesday evening. 
Also if you would like to sponsor goodie bags in other groups or at other organisation, please do call the volunteers for the same.
If you have any doubts, please call the following:
JASZMINE – 9821099824 (DD & CS)
HUTOXI – 9821043319 (JG, HH & BB)
KASHMIRA – 9819231825 (RR & TT)
Once again, I would personally like to thank you for your overwhelming support for XYZ and I looks forward to the same in the future as well.
Thanks and Regards,
Hoshaang Gotla
Founder, XYZ


Food Stories: Dhansak

Perhaps the best known Parsi cuisine is the meat and lentil stew called dhansak. It is never served at weddings, because it is customarily served four days after a death and has associations that are not to be invited during a wedding. Apart from this stricture, dhansak is widely enjoyed and is another unfailing inclusion on Parsi restaurant menus. Parsi cooks are also masters at incorporating extensive number of ingredients in singular dishes. A simple dhansak might contain twenty individual ingredients while a more complex one almost twice that.

Traditionally, dhansak always uses goat meat with up to four types of lentils and slow cooking in a slow cooker with a timer for the flavours. During the cooking a kind of ratatouille of aubergine, tomato, spinach and fresh chillies is added. Meat mixed with vegetables and fruit is a typically Parsi recipe and shows its Persian origins. Dhansak is probably the most popular Parsi dish and has sweet and sour [and savory] flavours – the sweet comes from palm sugar (jaggery) and the sour from a slight overtone of fresh lime. The apt derivation of the name of this dish comes from dhan, meaning wealthy in Gujarati, and sak meaning vegetables. Pronounced slightly differently, dhaan means rice, which accompanies this sumptuous dish.

Dhansak became very popular in the late 19th century, with the rapid growth of Bombay and Karachi. The working men were provided with tea and snacks by Parsi immigrants from Iran, who had set up small tea stores on street corners selling soda water, biscuits, tea, omelets, and also dhansak. Hence Karachi and Bombay, the coastal cities of the sub continent, became the two favourite cities of Parsis to settle in.

Interestingly, foods from the sub-continent and the chefs who developed them had assigned codes with new meanings to traditional titles; thus the korma came to signify a creamy dish, dhansak meant a slightly sweet lentil curry and the vindaloo simply indicated that the food would be very hot.

Click Here for some interesting stories and the recipe

The poor man’s bakery

While many cafes and restaurants run out of business due to the increasing number of hawkers on the roads of Mumbai, Yazdani Bakery thrives.
Situated in Fort, Yazdani Bakery opened in 1950 as a restaurant and bakery, but has been functioning as just a bakery since the last two decades. Co-owner of the bakery, Parvez M Irani, maintains that the bakery was started by his father, Mehrwan Irani, to serve the poor man, and not to make profits. That is why Parvez feels, that Yazdani Bakery lived, despite the increasing number of hawkers, cut-throat competition and inflation.
Recounting an incident that happened when he managed the bakery along with his father Mehrwan, Parvez talks about the time when the government increased the price of flour from Rs 42 for a kilogram to Rs 40. As a result, the price of the bread had to be increased from 5 paise to 6 paise. Later, when the prices of flour came down to Rs 42, Mehrwan reduced the price of bread back to 5 paise. “I asked my father why he had reduced the prices. He told me then that we are a poor man’s bakery and not a rich man’s bakery. He felt that the 1 paisa should go into the stomach of the customer and not into our pockets,” said Parvez. Since then, Yazdani bakery has kept its prices low and caters mostly to the middle and lower-middle classes of society.
The dedication to serve those with limited incomes, along with Mehrwan’s and Parvez’s giving nature, won the establishment the wishes of many. Parvez talks about his encounter with a poor and hungry man who came looking for a job at Yazdani bakery. On being offered food, he declined, asserting he came for a job and not for free food. Parvez made him eat anyway, after which the man said that the bakery would never shut down. “In 1992, when the city was burning, most shops and eateries were closed. But with God’s grace, mine was open. There were huge queues outside my bakery. The rich, poor, lepers and homeless all came to eat here. That is the time I remembered that poor man’s words,” said Parvez.
Along with Parvez, his brothers Rashid and Zend, manage the bakery. Serving the poor came as a habit to the family. “My father told me that customers come in because the street outside our bakery is clean. So, we must look after these poor cleaners. Since then, I have tried to help the poor and maintain Yazdani Bakery as a poor man’s bakery” concluded Parvez.