How did Parsi food become cool again?


Berry pulao to salli chicken: How did Parsi food become cool again?

Until a few years ago, there were only two ways to experience an authentic Parsi bhonu (meal). You either plead a Parsi friend to invite you to a Lagan (wedding) or Navjote (initiation). Or you coax them to get entry into Ripon Club, Fort, for its famous Wednesday Dhansak buffets.

Now, you can download an app (Scootsy, Zomato or Swiggy) and tap to order. A neatly packed box with bhonu essentials — patra ni macchi, salli chicken, chicken cheese croquets, and dhansak — can be delivered to your doorstep. When, and how, did Parsi food become so accessible?

Parsi Café 2.0

Thanks to new-age Parsi entrepreneurs and home chefs, the community’s well-preserved food traditions are finding global and local recognition. Whether it is in the form of modern interpretations — as seen at London’s award-winning restaurant Dishoom (a quirky take on Mumbai’s Irani cafés , or at food festivals across the city, Parsi food has made its mark. It is hip to click selfies outside legendary establishments like Koolar & Co (especially after the 2013 film, The Lunchbox) and Britannia & Co. Every fashionable new bar or restaurant in town suddenly boasts of the best dhansak on the menu; case in point: Social, Grandmama’s Café, Villa Vandre.

Dhansak at Social (Photo: Social)

Read: These young chefs are here to make Parsi food cool again

Perzen Patel of Bawi Bride (a popular blog on Parsi cuisine that turned into a catering enterprise) says, “Restaurants like SodaBottleOpenerWala have played a big role in popularising the cuisine. And with the advent of technology in the food and delivery space, one doesn’t need to wait for an occasion, or visit a café,” she says. Earlier this week (on Parsi New Year), Scootsy tied up with popular Irani cafés such as Ideal Corner, Jimmy Boy, and Britannia to deliver festive specialties such as marghi papeti with kesar pulao, and keema berry pulao across Mumbai.

Mamaji’s prawn curry rice by Bawi Bride Kitchen (Photo: Perzen Patel)

Then there are restaurants such as Pala Fala (a recently opened “authentic Parsi eatery” in Worli) that have curated easy-to-deliver bhonu meal boxes. “Parsi cuisine is much-loved in Mumbai. But there was a gap between demand and supply,” says Marzy Parakh, owner, Pala Fala. The restaurant now claims to deliver 300 to 400 meal boxes in a day.

What changed?

Click Here to read more from the Hindustan Times

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