Category Archives: Food

Ancient Parsi Recipes Come to Life in This New Cookbook From Chef Farokh Talati

“I decided to write this book out of a sense of duty,” says Farokh Talati. The head chef at London’s St. John Bread and Wine may have spent his career working in the U.K.’s most venerated kitchens (with the likes of Heston Blumenthal and Angela Hartnett, to name a couple), but Talati looks inward at his family history with this latest project—a new cookbook titled Parsi: From Persia to Bombay: Recipes & Tales from the Ancient Culture, out December 6 (Bloomsbury).

Parsi culture has early roots, dating back to the 7th century when a group of Zoroastrians, a pre-Islamic religious group, fled persecution in present-day Iran and eventually landed on the west coast of India, in the town of Sanjan. Their language, way of life, and culinary traditions mingled with local customs, creating what is today known as Parsi culture.

Talati grew up in a Parsi household in London, and his first cookbook feels like an artful heritage project—a show-and-tell of the recipes he was raised with, the dishes his parents ate in India before emigrating to the U.K., and present-day Parsi home chefs in Mumbai, where most Parsis live today. It’s inspired by his own travels back to India to learn more about his roots, but fosters a mission of showcasing and preserving Parsi cuisine—for those who’ve never heard of it, and for new generations of Parsis alike. “This book represents a very important aspect of the Parsi community and shows it to a new audience,” says Talati. “My hope is that Parsis who do not know how to cook the foods their mums, dads, and grandparents used to cook will pick up this book and learn to make these dishes and reconnect with their heritage.”

Whichever camp you fall into, the stories and 150 recipes that adorn this book’s pages offer ample inspiration. There are lamb stews, quails stuffed with biryani, mango desserts, and even tips on how to crack coconuts open at home. (Talati’s favorite recipe is Dinaz Aunty’s curry; more on that below.) There are also images of Parsi libraries and places of worship; informal breakfast cafés and markets. Importantly, though, the book provides a portrait of the Parsi community, and what their culture looks like in today’s India—not to mention the Parsi dishes to seek out on your next trip.

Below, we share a selection of images from the book, taken across the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, and the stories behind them—courtesy of Talati.

Click Here to view more, including some stunning photographs



The Western part of India proudly heralds Pune as its beacon, not only as the student capital but also as a city that presents a plethora of exemplary food experiences to locals and travelers. Restaurants in Pune are champions when it comes to catering to Western cuisine fanatics and traditional Maharashtrian cuisine. Your taste buds will have a wonderful time at some of these places that we have hand-picked for you


Parsi Ras Chawal Is All Yummy

Tara Sutaria’s favourite recipe is here.

The Ek Villain Returns star, Tara Sutaria is a foodie to the core. She simply loves the Parsi delicacies that get made. She has something called Comfort Food, which is the amazingly delicious Parsi Ras Chawal.

Well, a report on talked about what this dish is all about. We take reference from that story for our write up here.

It is a soupy Parsi dish made of chicken drumsticks or thighs, onions, potatoes, Parsi Sambhar Masala, and spices.

The ingredients required are – 500 gm chicken drumsticks, 2 potatoes, ginger garlic paste, 2 onions, 4 tomatoes, cumin seeds, coriander powder, cumin powder, 1 cup chicken stock, cinnamon sticks, cloves, bay leaves, garam masala, red chilli powder, mustard oil, black pepper.

Take a bowl and add chicken thighs along with salt and pepper. Also add ginger garlic paste. Pressure cook the contents. In oil put spices, and saute. Add onions, fry it, and then add tomatoes. Saute them well. Add cubed potatoes that are boiled in pressure cooker. Put the marinated chicken and cook for some time. Add chicken stock and stir it along with water. Cook for 2 whistles in the cooker.

It looks like this.

Wow!! This delicacy looks yummy!!

Parsi Veg Food? Yes, It’s A Thing!

Parsi cuisine has long been associated with meat, eggs, and fish. But more people in the community are slowly leaning toward a vegetarian diet for health and ecological sustainability.
India Currents’ resident foodie Mona Shah enjoys a drink with her Parsi pals. (photo courtesy of Mona Shah)


My parents loved throwing dinner parties mixing it up with diverse groups of people. My earliest memories are of animated discussions at the dinner table–about politics, food, theater and of course the all-important topic of money (how to make it, grow it, invest it and use it for the good of the larger community.) The atmosphere was always very lively and loud, be it voices or laughter. When I was about fourteen years old, one such guest was Shailesh uncle, a karate black belt who cut an imposing figure.

He convinced my dad to enroll me in a Goju-Ryu karate class with Sensei Pervez Mistry, and thus began my love affair with the Parsis and karate. Our dojo comprised of 70% Parsis and every evening for four hours, I practiced karate and hung out with my new Parsi friends and learnt about their culture, lifestyle and food. We all progressed through the ranks culminating in the highest honor–the black belt.

Parsi Cuisine Is Largely Non-Veg

This deep friendship continues here in the Bay Area, where five of us live. My “Parsi gang” as I call them, meet every Saturday with their tightly knit community of fellow Zoroastrians and what follows is a night of fun, food and laughter. However, the food choices are tough for a vegetarian like me. It is heavily “non-veg” with no vegetarian options in sight, except for Rai na Papeta and dal.

This dwindling community’s legacy is deeply intertwined with the rise of modern India, shaping the course of India and the world for centuries. So, this month as I wish all my Parsi friends a very happy Pateti (New Year), I also share with them some fabulous vegetarian Parsi recipes that they can make for me!

Ravaiya (Baingan Stuffed With Coconut Chutney

A riff on the Gujrati bharela ringan nu shaak, the Parsi version is quite different. It is a drier preparation with the brinjals/baingan being stuffed with a green coconut chutney. It’s pretty awesome served with Dhan Dar (recipe below) and rice or roti.

Ravaiya. (Wikimedia Commons licensed photo)



For the Stuffing

  • 1 coconut, grated
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 10 chilies (adjust if you like it mild)
  • 2 garlic pods
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1.5 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 20 mint leaves

Prep for Ravaiya/Baingan

  • 20 baby baingans
  • 1.5 tsp turmeric
  • 1.5 tsp red chili powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp oil


  1. Take all the chutney ingredients and blend to make a smooth chutney using just enough water to make a smooth paste
  2. Rinse the baingans and make two slits lengthwise in each one, keeping the stems on
  3. Mix the turmeric, red chili powder and salt and rub this masala into each of the brinjals
  4. Now take the chutney and stuff each brinjal with about a tablespoon of the chutney taking care to ensure the baingans don’t split
  5. Let these rest for about 30 minutes to ensure the masala marinates
  6. In a pan heat the oil and shallow fry the baingans to lightly sear the skin. I would recommend using a broad pan so that you don’t crowd them and can turn each one easily. Use a light touch so as not to cause the chutney stuffing to seep out
  7. Once the baingans are seared, add in the remaining chutney along with a cup of water
  8. Cover and let the Ravaiya cook for about 15 – 20 minutes until the baingans become tender
  9. If the chutney dries up add a little water. You want to end up with a thick consistency, so add a little at a time

Dhan Dar

This is an everyday daal that is also made on auspicious occasion’s like New Year’s, anniversaries and birthdays. “Dhun” a Gujarati word means “wealth” and “Dar” is a translation of “Dal.”

Dhun dar. (Wikimedia Commons licensed photo)



  • 2 cups toor dal (dried split pigeon peas) rinsed
  • 4 cups water + more for soaking
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoons haldi (turmeric)
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated garlic cloves
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  1. Soak the toor dal in water for 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Once soaked, drain out all the water. You will note that the raw dal has almost expanded by half its size.
  3. Next, pour the dal into the pressure cooker or instant pot with about 4 cups of water. Add in the turmeric and the salt.
  4. Cook on high until the cooker gives out 3 whistles and then another 10 minutes on low heat. If using instant pot, pressure cook for 11 mins and natural release. Once the dal is off the heat, you will need to wait a while before opening the cooker. The dal will have soaked up the water and it should look very thick.
  5. Give it a quick blend using a hand blender. Most people eat it like this.
  6. You can opt for a waghar (tadka). To do so, in a separate bowl, shallow fry some jeera, sliced onions and finely chopped garlic in ghee. Once the waghar is ready, pour into dal for extra creaminess. Sprinkle with sugar and cilantro leaves.

Paneer Akuri

Akuri is one of the signature eggs recipes of Parsi cuisine, here we make it with paneer.

Paneer akuri. (Wikimedia Commons licensed photo)


  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 tomato finely chopped
  • 2 fresh green chilis finely chopped (de-seed if you like it mild)
  • 150 gm fresh paneer grated
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder or dhanjeeru
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder (Kashmiri works best as it’s not too spicy, but gives a nice color)
  • 1/2 tsp haldi/urmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp sambhar masala
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp cloves chopped garlic
  • 1/2 a small bunch of coriander
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a pan add oil, garlic and green chillies, fry for a couple of minutes. Add in the onion and cook on low heat till it turns brown
  2. Add the masalas to the cooked the onions. Then add the tomatoes and cook the mixture, till they soften
  3. Add in part of the coriander and the grated paneer. Paneer can be salty so check the seasoning before adding salt as per your taste
  4. Top this butter
  5. Toss well,  garnish with fresh coriander

Sunita Sohrabji

Sunita Sohrabji is the Managing Editor of India Currents. 

Parsi Veg Food? Yes, It’s A Thing!

How this Parsi boy is ensuring Mumbai’s iconic wafer ice cream sandwich reaches the masses

Tandy’s Creamery was founded in 2019. The brand wants to make wafer ice cream sandwich reach the masses. Despite the ups and downs caused by the pandemic, the brand’s revenue is touching Rs 7 lakh a month.

Mumbai’s famous vada pav, akuri on toast, Bombay sandwich, and Bombil fry aside, there’s one other specialty that Mumbaikars hold true to heart — the wafer ice cream sandwich that K Rustom’s has been serving up for more than 50 years.

This iconic dessert sandwich is rather simple in concept — a thick slab of ice cream between two crisp wafers. Since the 1950s, Irani ice cream parlour K Rustom’s has been proudly dishing out this legendary dessert from its single outlet near Churchgate. Mumbai-based Parsi boy Jehan Mehta, who had grown up savouring this dessert, always thought it was special.

After completing his college education in the UK, Jehan returned to India. He knew his heart was not in the corporate world, and was keen on pursuing entrepreneurship, but a good solid idea was yet to strike.

Soon however, inspiration did strike — on a visit to K Rustom’s to grab an ice cream sandwich. Jehan realised how the age-old brand had kept its legacy intact with a loyal customer base, and that was a eureka moment for Jehan.

In a conversation with SMBStory, Jehan recalls, “I thought, why not take the sandwich ice cream across Mumbai, and perhaps even pan-India? Opening a franchise store of K Rustom’s seemed like an exciting idea.”

Jehan returned to K Rustom’s the very next day, but this time with a business proposal. He claims, “They had no plans of expanding their business and they didn’t agree to a franchise either. However, I was too inspired to let it go, and so, I decided I would take the initiative to make sure this local dessert reached across the city.”

In 2019, Jehan founded Tandy’s Creamery along with his school friend Soham Jhaveri. They set up the factory in Mumbai’s Prabhadevi area from where they delivered orders. Now, the brand is opening its first outlet in the city’s densely populated area, Charni Road.

Ice cream sandwich for the masses

Jehan and Soham invested around Rs 75 lakh in total to set up an ice cream factory, bring in raw materials, and the required manpower. In January 2020, the duo began selling their ice cream sandwich online.

“We started out from Prabhadevi in Mumbai, advertising through social media, and of course, word-of-mouth helped too. We started getting a good response,” Jehan recalls.

Within the first two months alone, Tandy’s had sold around one thousand ice cream sandwiches.

Tandy's Creamery

Tandy’s Creamery wafer ice cream

However, before Jehan could start distributing to other areas, the pandemic hit India, followed by strict lockdowns that led to the closure of many businesses.

“We didn’t know how to react. We had invested some money and that was blocked. There were absolutely no sales for the next few months, and we were left wondering what would happen next,” admits Jehan.

Adding to the circumstances were all the fears associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, like people were increasingly worried about consuming cold desserts. The duo racked their brains to understand how to revive the business, and soon decided they had to pivot to stay relevant, which had them launching a B2B dairy besides running the ice cream brand.

Pivoting to sustain

Jehan discovered that local retailers were experiencing a shortage of milk. So, using his network and resources, he collaborated with a dairy farm in the outskirts of Mumbai to supply milk to retailers. Since this accidental foray, there has been no looking back.

Tandy’s Creamery soon started supplying milk and paneer to restaurants, hotels, bars, and more. And once the restrictions started easing and markets opened up, Jehan saw that ice cream sales were increasing too.

Today, Tandy’s Creamery sources 1,200 litres of milk for its daily supplies, and receives around 6,000 orders for ice cream every month. The founder claims the brand’s revenue is touching approx Rs 7 lakh a month.

With around 50 clients in its B2B business, the brand has also introduced regular ice cream packs for consumers and tub ice creams for B2B sales. 

Tandy’s wafer ice cream sandwich prices start from Rs 50 onwards. “We want to cater to the masses hence, we operate at a nominal price,” says Jehan.

He claims Tandy’s Creamery uses all natural flavours and is a vegetarian brand with no preservatives in its ice creams.

Challenges and the way ahead

Jehan is candid when he talks about his challenges, and says that supply chain is one of the biggest problems for SMBs like them in the industry.

“In the initial phase, we had to suffer a lot due to lack of cold-chain supply infrastructure for a small-level business like ours. But, we worked on it and now we have bought our own refrigerated van through which we deliver our orders,” he adds.

Although the brand has expanded in every way, Jehan is clear that his initial goal is yet to be fulfilled — he wants to ensure Tandy’s sandwich ice creams reach the nooks and corners of Mumbai by early next year. By December this year, Tandy’s Creamery would have two more outlets, one each in Churchgate and Andheri.

The company also plans to be available on food aggregator apps. Jehan also plans to introduce a sugar free ice cream range soon.

From Grandma’s Recipes to Michelin Star Restaurants – Chef Shahzad Bhathena

Shahzad Bhathena, the former head chef and R&D chef at the Indian Summer Restaurant in Colombo, is a budding global icon at just 24 years of age! Leading the team at Indian Summer is just one of his many accolades and accomplishments. Shahzad has gained experience at Michelin star restaurants in various parts of the world and is currently in Santa Monica, USA. We had a chat with Shahzad about his passion and profound journey in the culinary arts and the hospitality industry.

  1. Give us a short introduction about yourself.

I am Shahzad and I was born and raised in India. I moved to Bahrain a few years later and I started my professional career as an apprentice at The Ritz Carlton Hotel in Bahrain. I worked across multiple restaurants stationed in the hotel, cooking a variety of cuisines and catering for large-scale functions and weddings as well. I later left for Spain to complete my bachelor’s degree in Hospitality, where I graduated with honours and distinction from Les Roches Institute of Hospitality in Marbella.

  1. Were you always inspired by the culinary arts? What was your inspiration behind starting your career in the culinary arts?

If my memory serves me right, I always loved food ever since I was a kid. I grew up with my grandparents, who were both fantastic cooks. I was always intrigued by them and was inquisitive as to how they made simple ingredients taste so good; I would always end up sneaking into the kitchen to get a peek or two while they would cook. Eventually, my grandmother started teaching me how to cook; she taught me recipes passed down from one generation to another. And once I was cooking in the kitchen, there was no turning back, and I knew that this was what I wanted to do. I used to spend all my free time in the kitchen, trying new recipes, and eventually, the kitchen turned into my safe haven. Cooking was what I would do to relieve stress. Furthermore, as I grew up, I came to realize that the culinary arts embody a much broader spectrum of activities than what people believe. It provided me with a platform to explore my creativity while simultaneously doing something I love!

  1. Which restaurants have you worked at throughout your career of being a chef?

My professional career started when I was an apprentice at The Ritz Carlton Hotel in Bahrain. Afterwards, I went on to work as a Stagiaire at ‘Benu’ in San Francisco, which is amongst the 50 best restaurants in the world and is also the recipient of 3 Michelin stars. After my stage at Benu, I was offered the opportunity to gain further experience at their sister restaurant, ‘In Situ’, located at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In Situ had also received 1 Michelin star, and I worked there for roughly a year. During the pandemic, I worked as the Head Chef and R&D chef at Indian Summer Restaurant in Sri Lanka. During this time, I spearheaded the launch of a new restaurant called Global Kitchen. Meanwhile, I also carried out a consultancy role for the restaurant 343 Degrees North in Nigeria. Currently, I am at Mélisse in Santa Monica, a restaurant that has been awarded 2 Michelin stars!

  1. How would you describe your experience working at Michelin Star restaurants?

I learned so much from working at Michelin star restaurants, and I was really able to polish my skills and push myself out of my comfort zone to deliver what’s expected of me every day. The quality of the service at Michelin Star restaurants is top-notch, so everyone in the kitchen is extremely disciplined, focused and hardworking. I was also able to put my creativity to the test when experimenting with various flavors and plating dishes in unique ways.

  1. Tell us about your journey being the Head Chef of the Indian Summer restaurant in Sri Lanka?

It was definitely a very challenging role for me as I was moving into a managerial position at a young age, and I had to learn how to work with people who were twice my age. But the challenge is what made the journey worthwhile and successful.

  1. What is the Global Kitchen and what is the idea behind this street food concept?

The idea of Global Kitchen came to me one evening while I was eating at the food stalls by the beach at Galle Face in Colombo. I noticed that the presence of street food from different parts of the world was missing at these stalls and that people were not aware of it. Thus, I came up with the concept for a restaurant which would collectively serve the best street food from different parts of the world! Global Kitchen is currently located in Kandy.

  1. What is the creative process like when you develop recipes and experiment with different flavors?

The creative process is not as beautiful as how the final dish turns out. There are always ups and downs, and many times, you need to go back to the drawing board and brainstorm to get things together. But the trial and errors are what help in the creative process. It all starts from an idea, and seeing that idea come to life is the most satisfying feeling for any artist or, in this case, chef!

  1. Tell us about the 343 Degrees North restaurant in Nigeria and its significance?

343 degrees North is a restaurant which provides a unique experience like no other place does in Nigeria. Dining and visiting the restaurant is almost like making a statement and embarking upon a journey for an unforgettable experience. Being a consultant, I tried to create a menu that would not only suit the local food palette but also work in perfect harmony with the vibe and atmosphere of the restaurant.

  1. What is one of the most valuable lessons that you have learnt during the span of your career in the culinary industry so far?

I would say that the most valuable lesson I have learned is that there are no shortcuts to getting to the top in the culinary industry. You have to be prepared and willing to put in the hard work and long hours to get to the highest level. And having a great mentor during this process is essential since you will pick up those habits and practices early on in your professional career. As long as there is passion, the sky is the limit in this industry.

  1. What is the future like for Shahzad? What are some future goals that you are working towards achieving?

I’m currently under the guidance and mentorship of Ian Scaramuzza at Mélisse in Santa Monica. We have already received 2 Michelin stars, and my team and I are pushing ourselves on a daily basis to gain the ultimate accolade of the culinary world, 3 Michelin stars!

Daar ni Pori Recipe

Ingredients: – 340g Toor Daal – 1 Teaspoon Anise – 550ml Water – Pinch of Salt – Cooking Oil – 360g Sugar – Cardamon Powder – Nutmeg Powder – Javentri Powder – 40g Almonds – 40g Pistachio – 40g Charoli – 40g Sultana – 40g Broken Cashew Nuts – Ice Cream Essence – Maida


Persian Gaz


🌿💕😋Persian Gaz – Nougat with pistachio 🌿💕😋

For those who wish to make this Festive sweet for Nawroz


Craving for something sweet? We bring you this unique Parsi dessert recipe you cannot miss on. Persian Gaz is a delicious Iranian nougat. It is called ‘nougat’ because it has ingredients like sugar, egg whites, and roasted nuts. They are prepared on the occasion of Persian New Year (Nowruz). It can be prepared at home using minimum ingredients like eggs, rose water, corn syrup, sugar, butter, and pistachios. You can even use roasted almonds instead of the pistachios to garnish the dessert. Nuts are an important part of this Gaz. It has a crunchy texture and is quite a popular new year dessert. Persian desserts always have a tinge of rose water which makes them even more delectable. You need to follow the steps carefully to get this dessert right. It can be served at kitty parties, potlucks and game nights. You can serve it as an evening snack with the beverage of your choice. So, try this recipe now and enjoy it with your loved ones.

Ingredients of Persian Gaz

6 Servings
2 egg whites
2 cup corn syrup
1 cup pistachios
2 teaspoon rose water
2 1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoon water
2 tablespoon butter

How to make Persian Gaz
Step 1
To prepare this delicious dessert, start by making the Meringue. Beat the egg whites in a mixer until soft peaks form. Keep it aside. Meanwhile, in saucepan roast the pistachios/ almonds.

Step 2
Next, in a vessel boil the 1 cup sugar, 1/ 2 cup of corn syrup and water over a medium flame. Make sure the sugar dissolves properly. Once done, turn off the gas knob.

Step 3
Pour this hot liquid mixture over the beaten egg white and mix it properly. Beat this mixture until it becomes firm. Transfer to another bowl.

Step 4
Next, to prepare the syrup, take a pan to combine 1 and half cup corn syrup and 1 and half cup sugar and bring them to a boil. Let the sugar dissolve properly.

Step 5
Once done, pour this hot syrup over the Meringue and blend them using a ladle.

Step 6
Add butter and rosewater to this mixture. Then finally add the roasted pistachios/ almonds.

Step 7
Transfer it on a prepared pan and let it chill. Slice and serve.

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