Parsis and Iranis are the two communities that fall under the Zoroastrian religion. But, their cuisine falls under only one religion, i.e., Sheer Deliciousness . . . . . Parsi and Irani Food Trails of Pune Parsis and Iranis are the two communities that fall under the Zoroastrian religion. But, their cuisine falls under only one religion, i.e., Sheer Deliciousness

Parsis and Iranis are the two communities that fall under the Zoroastrian religion. But, their cuisine falls under only one religion, i.e., Sheer Deliciousness








Delhi Parsi Food Festival

From Dhansak to Chicken Farcha: Delhi is ready for the Parsi Food Festival

It’s an opportunity no one should miss


Are you ready to taste these yummy dishes?

Did last month’s Navroz (Parsi New Year) feast leave your mouth watering and your belly craving for more? Well, you are lucky, for you have another chance to dig into those delicacies. Delhi’s Jaypee Vasant Continental is all set to host an authentic 10-day-long Parsi Food Festival, April 20 onwards, at their restaurant, Paatra.

Think Dhansak or Akoori, Berry Pulao or Chicken Farcha, and you will know exactly why these flavours have found favour with the ever-evolving Indian food lover. And this festival is a celebration of just that with a lavish ala cart menu, carefully curated by chefs Vaibhav Suri and Rahul Gaur.

“The heartwarming Parsi community has always enriched our social and cultural fabric. Parsis have beautifully integrated into the Indian societies and have introduced its sublime cuisine to various parts of the country. Their dishes use up a lot of local ingredients and spices to create unique flavours,” read a statement from the hotel, and we cannot help but agree. Just look at what a breakfast staple the humble mawa cake has become over the years.

So if you’re looking for a take two at some delish Parsi food, here’s where you need to be:

Where: Paatra, Jaypee Vasant Continental, New Delhi

Date: April 20 to 30, 2018

Time: 12:30pm to 2.45pm and 7.30pm to 11:30pm (Lunch and Dinner)


Nan Khatai

Nan Khatai
(Indian Shortbread Cookies)


Nan Khatais or Indian Short bread cookies are one of those melt in the mouth cookies
They are easy and quick to make.
1 cup all purpose flour (Maida)
1/2 cup icing sugar or you can use caster sugar
1/2 cup melted ghee (cooled ) or you can use unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cardamom powder (optional)
1/2 tsp. rose essence (optional)
1 pinch salt
Preheat your oven on 170 C
Line a baking tray with baking paper or foil.
Mix flour,sugar,salt,baking and cardamom powders in a bowl.
Add the ghee and rose essence and make a soft dough.
Make small balls and sightly flatten them.
Place them on the baking tray and bake the biscuits for 15 minutes.
Switch off the oven and leave the cookies in the oven to cool for 1/2 an hour
by leaving the oven door sightly open.
This will sightly crispen the cookies
Remove the cookies and let them cool outside for a further 1/2 and hour.
Put them in a cookie jar or air tight container.
Enjoy them with your tea! Please comment, share and like!

10 Life lessons from Eggs

Because what kind of a Parsi would I be if I wrote 26 letters to you and didn’t talk about eggs?


Dear Son,

Today I am writing to you about a strange topic. Eggs. After all, what kind of a Parsi caterer would I be if I didn’t try to squeeze in our favourite ‘Eedu’ into just about any conversation possible.

Right now the only kind of eggs you have tried is in a tomato omelette but I am hoping that your Parsi genes will awaken and soon you will want to try every kind of eggs possible. So here is a list of 10 different kinds of eggs you must try and also life lessons you can learn from them (I am a parent now so it is my prerogative to teach you something at any given point of time even though it may seem totally random and meaningless at the time).

  1. Sunny Side Up — When cooked perfectly, this egg is crispy and firm at the edges but the yolk is soft and runny. Similarly learn to be firm and stick to your decisions once you make them but also still stay fluid to change and filled with warmth at your center.
  2. Parsi Akoori — Nothing beats a good morsel of creamy Akoori served on top of Brun pav. However, take the same ingredients and overcook it and you will not get Akoori but Bhurji which tastes rubbery and dry. Similarly, if you overthink a decision for too long you are going to ruin it. Instead, remember to combine what knowledge you have, think over it a bit and then just take action!
  3. Poached Eggs — While a lot of people like eating poached eggs, many are scared of cooking them because you have to be so gentle with it. Don’t be scared to be gentle and tread lightly when the situation demands it son because the rewards are always proportionate to the risk taken.
  4. Salli per Eedu — I make Sali per Eedu the same way for you as my mummy did and she uses the same recipe her mummy did. There is value in experience and doing things the traditional way. In a world that is fast changing it is easy to discount tradition for ancient ideas but remember to question yourself on the reason why someone is still doing it the way they were 50 years ago before you go ahead and change for the sake of it.
  5. Cheesy Omelette — Did you know the first word you spoke was not Maa or Daa, but ‘Cheesh’ (I was so proud). A good cheese omelette needs only two things — cheese and eggs. Most days if you use a salted cheese you won’t even need seasoning! Remember, that the good things in life don’t need to be overly complicated. On most occasions if you have love and honesty by your side, you are sorted.
  6. Tarkari per Eedu — We Parsis have an innate ability to take any leftover vegetable, add an egg on top and turn it into an entire new dish. Be versatile like this dish because there are many different versions of the ‘perfect you’ and if you can keep tweaking and adjusting to whats needed, you will always be in fashion.
  7. Baked Eggs with Truffle Oil — Sometimes all you need is a small quantity of something special to make a common dish spectacular. Try to be this ‘Truffle Oil’ in life which adds a sparkle to the everyday hustle. All you need to do for this is think a little out of the box (and ofcourse then go ahead and implement it).
  8. Egg Curry — I am not a big fan of egg curry but your Mamaiji has spoken to me of many days as a child when her parents couldn’t afford meat and so dinner would be egg curry. Above I spoke of taking adding small amounts of ‘something special’ but sometimes even that is not needed and just a humble egg can also make an ordinary meal special. So, while fancy is great you don’t always have to wait for inspiration to strike, simple can also be good enough.
  9. Mayonnaise — There are two secret ingredients in a good mayo fresh eggs and lots of patience while the eggs emulsify with the oil and work their magic to create a creamy sauce. I know you may think me hypocritical by telling you not to overthink yet preaching patience. It’s important to not mix the two. Good things take time and if you have a dream you deserve to give your dream the benefit of time to come true.
  10. Chutney Eeda Pattice — When you’re old and in a job with kids of your own you may feel on occasion that life has become boring and mundane. At those times remember that you don’t need to make big changes but just add small elements of suprise. Just like finding a yummy piece of boiled egg inside a chutney pattice can spark a smile, spending some quality time with your kids outside the house or saying a few kind words to your wife may make a big difference. So before you go all out, just try a small surprise first.

That’s all the gyaan I have for you today. I hope when you grow up you appreciate how difficult it is to write an entire letter on life lessons based on eggs and love your mom more for it. Until then, I part for today with the wise words of BawaTips, “When in doubt, break an Eedu on it”.

This post is part of the annual #BlogChatterA2Z Challenge .When my son was born I promised myself I’d write him love letters as often as I could as this challenge is part of that promise. E is for Eggs and the Life Lessons they Impart. Do follow P for Parenting for more articles in this series.

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Dar Ni Pori

Dar Ni Pori or Dar ni Poli is a Pastry stuffed with a Sweet Lentil Filling
A favourite tea time snack enjoyed by Parsis all over the world!

Dar in Pori is typically made from Toor Dal a lentil (also called split pigeon peas)
In my version of this delectable treat I have used a short cut method of making it with canned chickpeas!


2 Cups of Maida or Refined Flour
6/7 cubes of cold butter cut in cubes
Ice cold water
A little melted Ghee to brush on the pastry
A dash of rose water

For the filling
2 cans of drained chickpeas mashed ( I used a food processor)
1/2 a cut of chopped nuts and dried fruits ( I used pistachios, almonds and cranberries )
Optional nuts are chironji or charoli  and fruits are raisins
2 tsp rose water
3/4 cup jaggery ( or  you can use sugar)

Measure the flour

Sift it

Add the butter cubes

Add iced water and rose water

Rub the butter and water in the flour

Make a smooth dough and portion it in small balls
Cover the balls with a damp towel and let them rest


Drain 2 cans of chick peas

Chop up fruts and nuts

Add the mashed chickpeas , a little ghee, jaggery and the fruit and nuts to a thick bottomed pan
Add a couple of spoons of  rose water

Cool the filling then make portions

Flatten on portion of the pasty and put the filling in it

Cover the filling in the pasty and shape it like a round disc

Brush with a little melted ghee

Preheat oven to 180 C and put 2 poris in a baking tray lined with foil(brush the foil with little ghee before putting the poris to bake) and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown on both side

Let the poris cool down

Cut and serve with tea!

Posted By Aban to My Food and Recipes at 3/24/2018 11:33:00 AM

Sunday Dhanshak


City-based software tester and home chef Rashna Engineer tells us about growing up in Ahmedabad, where she learnt how to cook the centerpiece of a Sunday Parsi lunch: Dhansak

A meal of dhansak and rice easily takes about three hours to cook. The mutton needs to be marinated for about an hour in ginger-garlic paste, red chilli paste and salt, and we’re not even counting the four hours of soaking time needed for the three kinds of dals that go into the dish. The caramelised rice that dhansak is served with needs one’s full attention — a goopy pot of rice can send your appetite straight to hell.

IT professional and home chef Rashna Engineer remembers that her mother, a school teacher who taught Maths and Science at Mount Carmel High School in Ahmedabad, had patience for her family’s dhansak cravings only on a Sunday. “She had to leave home early in the morning every day,” recalls the 46-year-old, “But I don’t remember a Sunday when dhansak was not cooked at our home in Shahibaug.” Along with caramelised rice, dhansak is also served with a salad of finely chopped onion and tomatoes, with a dash of lemon, and garnished with coriander leaves.

By the time she was 16, Engineer had learnt how to make a luscious dhansak, which is also one of the most popular dishes on Rashna’s Parsi Kitchen’s menu, a food service that she launched with her husband, Percy, in 2015. “My husband does the marination of the meat and I do the final tadka to the dal,” says Rashna. Percy, 47, who also worked in the IT industry as a system administrator, got his culinary training a decade ago during a three-month stint in Tokyo. “I was teaching him how to cook on Skype,” says Rashna, laughing at the memory. “All those teppanyaki carts in Tokyo were great and there’s a lot of non-vegetarian food there, but I couldn’t eat out every day. I learnt all the cooking I know from Rashna. Cooking is an essential survival skill.” Their 15-year-old daughter Perzeen, who wants to study hotel management, is happy to have inherited recipes from both her grandmothers. “She is a complete bawa and loves her food,” says Percy.

Every household makes dhansak differently, he adds. “Some like it with a pinch of jaggery, some add a lot more jeero (cumin seed), some add more dhano (coriander seed) and some don’t like it with methi (fenugreek leaves).” But there are few that can rival the dhansak made by the Engineers — silken bits of brinjal, a hint of sweet pumpkin, a note of bitter from the fenugreek leaves and some tamarind for a quick sour punch are flavours that seep into the thick dal and succulent pieces of meat. Like Percy says, there’s only one thing left to do after a dhansak lunch. “You have to sleep. You can’t move.”

Dhansak with caramelised rice

What you need

250 gms Tur Dal
50 gms Masoor Dal
50 gms Moong Dal
250 gms Rice
500 gms Mutton
1 Potato, medium-sized
3 Onions, medium-sized
2 Tomatoes, medium-sized Brinjal, small
½ cup Pumpkin
20 gms Methi / Kasuri Methi
20 grams Coriander
2 tsp Ginger-garlic paste
2 tsp Red Chilli Garlic & cumin paste
1 tsp Dhano-jeero powder (Coriander-cumin seed powder)
1 tsp Parsi Sambhar (Home made/Mangal brand masala)
2 tsp Dhansak masala (Home made/Mangal brand masala)
1 tsp Chilli powder
½ tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Jaggery (optional)
1 tsp Tamarind pulp (optional)
3 tsp Oil
2 tsp Ghee
2 tsp Salt
1.5 ltr Water

How to make it


■ Wash and soak dal for 4 to 5 hours.

■ Wash mutton and then marinate with ginger garlic paste, red chilli paste and salt to taste.

■ In a pressure cooker add dal, peel and cut potato, brinjal, pumpkin, methi, turmeric powder, ½ tsp chilli powder,
1 tsp dhansak masala, salt and 750 ml of water. Pressure cook for 20-25 minutes.

■ In a pan, add 2 ½ chopped onions and stir fry in oil for 10 mins

■ Then add ginger-garlic paste, red chilli paste and stir for a while.

■ Add ghee, 2 finely chopped tomatoes and continue to stir.

■ Add all above mentioned masala and stir for another five minutes.

■ Add mutton and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes.

■ Add jaggery, tamarind and cook.

■ Now add dal to this mixture and again pressure cook for 15-20 minutes.


■ Heat a pan, add sugar and caramelise it. Then add ½ chopped onion to it and fry for a minute.

■ Stir for a while and add rice to it.

■ Add water, 1 tsp oil and salt. Steam the rice till required

█ I don’t remember a Sunday when dhansak was not cooked at our home in Shahibaug. My brother demanded that the dish be made every weekend


Families in Food: A Taste of Old Poona

Why people keep coming back to this 140-year-old institution.


Darius Dorabjee at work in his restaurant Dorabjee & Sons in Camp which is established in 1878 and the Fourth genaration is running it now. Express photo by Arul Horizon, 06/03/2018, Pune

Old is gold: Darius Dorabjee at the restaurant’s kitchen. (Source: Arul Horizon)

At 10.30 on a Tuesday morning, when we land up at the Dorabjee & Sons Restaurant in Camp, Pune, Darius Dorabjee is in the kitchen fretting over the mutton biryani he has just made — he wants it quickly off the chulha lest it is overcooked. He is also shooting off instructions to the staff, who are moving the food from the oversized kitchen to the large pantry. Business begins at 11.30 am — as it has for the past 140 years.

His great-grandfather, Sorabjee Dorabjee, started the restaurant in 1878. Back then, the Pune Cantonment area had one place to eat out, El Moretos, an Italian restaurant and bar, meant only for British officers and their families. “It had a strictly no-Indians policy. My grandfather seized the opportunity. He took up three adjoining houses on rent and started a bun-maska and chai stall. Soon, customers demanded he open a restaurant. In those days, Poona’s moneyed class had no restaurant to go to. That’s how Dorabjee & Sons restaurant started. Since my great grandfather knew only how to make Parsi food and we had no cooks or help, the restaurant automatically started serving only Parsi food,” says Darius, the 47-year-old fourth-generation owner, or “working partner” as he puts it, since the family is quite big and all members are “shareholders” in the restaurant.

Back then, the family bought a house across the road, so the women of the family could grind masalas at home and sift the rice, while the men cooked in the restaurant. “The women still don’t cook, the men do the cooking. Our entire family eats all meals at the restaurant till today. See, that’s how good the women have it,” says Darius with a laugh.

Sometime in the 1950s, folding metal chairs and wooden tables were brought in — until then, patrons sat on the floor and ate. A photo of a young Bal Thackeray in his early teens eating at the restaurant, seated cross-legged on the floor with his family, is a reminder of that era. Today, marble-top tables and plastic chairs are used but that is probably the only change the restaurant has seen in the last one-and-a-half century. “We are pretty archaic in our ways and we are proud of it. Our customers love it, they ask us never to change. I am a lazy fellow, so I am happy to oblige,” says Darius.

The food is still cooked on chulhas and the masalas are still added by a family member. Darius, who has manned the kitchen since he was 15 (when he was asked by his late father, Marzaban, to work for pocket money), says there has never been a day when a family member wasn’t in the kitchen. The menu has withstood change as well — it ranges from chicken and mutton pulao or biryani to dhansak, salli boti, farcha (chicken fried in eggs) and akuri on toast for breakfast, and desserts like lagan nu custard. In fact, the restaurant remains one of the few places in Pune to serve Ardeshir raspberry soda drinks, a legacy fast fading out.

But the prices have changed. The menus of the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s still occupies pride of place on the “wall of fame” at the restaurant entry. The 1940s menu has mutton chilly fry priced at two annas, today it is Rs 250. Back then, the chicken items were priced double that of mutton, the latter used to be the “poor man’s food”.

“A young man once came in and said that his father, a retired defence officer, wanted to meet me. He had the 1940s menu, but he lived in Chandigarh and would give it only to me. So I packed food and went to meet him. He gave it to me and told me so many stories of his association with us,” recalls Darius.

Spend an hour at the restaurant and it’ll be clear that it is this “association” with regulars which is at the heart of Dorabjee & Sons. From 80-year-olds throwing birthdays for the grandchildren at the restaurant, to a 96-year-old customer bringing his 94-old-wife on a bi-weekly date, these are the stories that make the restaurant a true icon of the old city of Poona.

Topli Na Paneer from South Calcutta – Say cheese

Topli Na Paneer is priced at Rs 260 for a set of eight. Fresh cottage cheese is for Rs 290

Thanks to home ‘ordering and delivery’ start-ups such as Zomato and Swiggy, today food is accessible at the click of a button. Most people will presume it’s quite easy to lay your hands on the rarest cheese in town. However, if you’re in Kolkata, it might be a tad more difficult than you think. It’s no wonder then that Viloo Batliwala, 73, has such a dedicated client base. The only one in town to make Topli Na Paneer-a Parsi take on the Italian buffalo mozzarella cheese, Batliwala makes fresh batches of the product only on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The Beginning

 Batliwala picked up the recipe from her mother-in-law and did a fair bit of experimentation before nailing the right salty taste. Fresh buffalo milk is sourced from Pure Milk Emporium early in the morning and is left aside to set in little cane baskets (or topli) so that it is ready by 10 a.m. At one time, Batliwala also made other Parsi goodies but eventually stopped. “We used to cater to the Parsi club and supplied traditional cookies such as bhakras. Now I don’t quite have the energy to make more. This cheese and regular cottage cheese is all I make,” says the alumnus of Calcutta Girls’ High School.

Cheese Pairings

While Batliwala’s three grandchildren don’t fancy the cheese much, it’s a major hit with the city’s youngsters. Sienna Store and Cafe in South Kolkata use Topli Na Paneer in their salads. Batliwala insists, “it’s good to just have it on its own, maybe on toast with salt and pepper.” At Ripon Street, by appointment only Tel 22294808

Parsika’s classic delicacies tickle Parsi palettes

Launched on September 1 last year, Parsika is an effort by four Zoroastrians to help our community do what it does best – eat to its heart’s content. As their Facebook page so honestly puts it – Parsika aims to connect those who love good food with those who make it. 
Marking their debut with probably the most lip-smacking Badam Paak this author has ever tasted, the company also markets a very authentic Vasanu, some truly melt-in-your-mouth Orange and Coffee Ganache and a range of evergreen Assorted Chocolates. All products are handcrafted using the finest ingredients possible. If you have still not experienced Parsika’s delicious delicacies, call + 91 98207 67726 for free home delivery.
In the short span since its launch, Parsika has won over the taste-buds of more than just the the Parsi community. Besides being available at over 30 restaurants and various retail outlets from Colaba to Jogeshwari, Parsika’s signature Badam Paak, Ganache and Chocolates have gained enormous popularity. From social and corporate gifts to office parties, social gatherings and other momentous occasions, Parsika is slowly but surely carving a special niche in the hearts (and tummies) of food lovers across the city. This publication wishes them the very best and looks forward to being delighted with the next delicacy that Parsika promises to tickle Parsi palettes with. Until then, Badam Paak khaava chaalo ji.