Indulge in rich, authentic Parsi cuisine at Parsi Food Festival in Noida


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New Delhi: Celebrating the tradition of love for rich and authentic cuisines, the iconic hospitality destination of Delhi-NCR, Radisson Blu MBD Hotel Noida is hosting the much-awaited Parsi Food Festival at their fine dining Indian specialty restaurant, Made In India from the 14th October till 23rd October.

Introducing the Parsi cuisine to food enthusiasts, an exciting master class by Master Chef Kaizad Patel was held during the special preview at the award-winning restaurant today.

The menu for this ten day long culinary festival has been specially curated by Master Chef Kaizad Patel, with some of the most authentic and traditional signature dishes from the Parsi kitchen, including a great mix of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delights, like Bhujeli Kaleji, Kid Gosht and Chapat, amongst many others mouth-watering delicacies. Parsi food has its roots in Persian and Gujarati cuisines and much of the food is a meat-lover’s dream come true.

Commenting on the Parsi cuisine and the special menu for the Parsi Food Festival, Master Chef Kaizad Patel said, “Parsi cuisine is a melange of different flavors and has an eclectic mix of hot and sweet, sour and spice. This delectable cuisine is deeply influenced by various parts of the country that the community has travelled to and its soul lies in the ingredients used to make the mouth-watering delicacies. We are delighted to bring back the traditional recipes and recreate the authentic flavors at the Parsi Food Festival at the Made In India restaurant in Radisson Blu MBD Hotel Noida.”

To indulge in an eclectic mix of hot and sweet, nice and spice, which sums up the Parsi cuisine, make sure you head to ‘ Made In India’ restaurant, the home grown name popular for being the pioneers of traditional cuisines and reviving cultural heritage through the medium of culinary art. (ANI)

http://www.siasat.com/news/indulge-rich-authentic-parsi-cuisine-parsi-food-festival-noida-1043799/

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The Batasa Story – Jamshed & Cyrus Dotivala


_MG_3432Is it true that the Dotivala family invented the famous Parsi Batasa ? How and when did this come about?

Yes, our forefathers were the inventors of the famous tea time biscuit popularly known as Batasa. It was in the early 1800’s when our forefather Mr. Faramji Pestonji Dotivala joined the Dutch Bakery set up by the Dutch Settlers here in Surat. These bakeries used to manufacture bread for the European population here who were settled for purpose of trading. Once the Dutch left Surat, they handed over the ovens to Faramji who started manufacturing and selling bread. But as the settlers’ started leaving Surat, the consumption of bread decreased. In those days the fermentation of bread was done using Toddy. The leftover bread never got spoilt as toddy was a natural fermenting agent. All that happened to those breads was that they lost moisture. The dried bread became a product to relish by the local people. Doctors too advised eating this dry bread when patient was sick. It was easy to digest. The demand slowly grew for this bread. Faramji then started drying this bread in the ovens to meet the demand. This gave birth to the popular Irani Biscuits which are still made and consumed regularly by our customers. The doctors started prescribing something more nutritious once the patients recovered. Faramji started adding more shortening (In those days Pure Ghee) to this biscuit. And made it more palatable by adding Caraway seeds for flavour. This gave birth to the famous Batasas of Surat. For about a century after Faramji invented the batasas, pure ghee was used as shortening.

How many generations and years?

My father Mr. Jamshed Peshotan Dotivala is the Fifth inline to own this business and I am the sixth in line. Exact year of inception is not known but we have been doing business in the current premises since the year 1861.

C & J G2 H

What were the guiding business principles which allowed the “Dotivala” bakery to maintain it’s leadership position and keep competitors at bay ?

Our forefathers had only one point principle while doing business and that was “Maintaining High Standards of Quality”. This ensured that our customers always got the best. Later on generations also concentrated on innovations. Bringing in new products and keeping up with new trends. Ethical and honest in our dealings, we have managed to survive six generation and God willing will continue further.

Over its long history did the product evolve to keep up with changing taste buds? Was this issue a major business decision?

Yes, the products have evolved a lot since they were first invented. And for our forefathers who were brought up with the old school of thoughts, it was a major business decision. With time the raw materials changed drastically and severe changes needed to be made. One such change was a shift from Pure Ghee to Vanaspati ( Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils). At that time my grand uncle could not shift easily as he felt he was giving a product of lesser quality. He continued to sell the products made with pure ghee at the prices of products made using Vanaspati. His competitors would sell and make profits while my grand uncle had to suffer losses. After a lot of persuasion by his brothers, he agreed to sell products made from vanaspati. But after the shift too, he made sure that the product was of high quality.

Family businesses seldom last beyond 3 generations. What did the Dotivala family do to maintain harmony and sustainability which indeed is a major business accomplishment?

Our family has always been a very united family. In the old days all the brothers and cousins lived together as a joint family. Went to the same school and later shifted to where ever their career took them. The main reason for survival of our business has always been the passion that our forefathers had to sell high quality products to our customers. There was a sense pride to own and run this business and every generation had one member of the family ready to take over the business.

Would you like to pass on some advice to Zoroastrian entrepreneurs who may be thinking of starting a new business?

Well, I am too young to advise anyone but for our industrious community who has always been an example of entrepreneurship, I would urge the young generation to pursue doing business. Let not the industrious spirit in us die. Our forefathers spent a lot of their energy in setting up businesses which can reach new heights with the infusion of new blood.

_MG_3370 a Irani Sada _MG_3444

 

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

Parsi Delicacies during Navroz Season


With the Parsi community celebrating Navroze this week, here’s where you can get your fill of traditional bhonu delicacies in the city

ONGOING TILL AUG 17, 7 PM ONWARDS:

To ring in Navroze festivities, Pondichery Café is organising a cultural festival — Khavani! Pivanu! Majjani Life! (eat, drink, enjoy life)! Discover Parsi cuisine, while relishing some authentic favourites. Adding to the flavour will be a stunning display of Gara sarees and books on the Parsi ethos.

Where Pondichery Café, Sofitel Mumbai BKC, Bandra (East)
Call: 61175000

Machchi on your mind
AUG 21, 12.30 PM ONWARDS: Parsi food lovers have reason to celebrate. Bawi Bride Kitchen has put together a special meal for the city’s fish lovers. The unique seven-course Parsi seafood pop-up will showcase some of the most popular delicacies, including rawas na cutlets, mawa ni boi, malai ma prawns, among others.
Where: Flavour Diaries, 3rd Floor, Rohan Plaza, Off SV Road, Khar (W)
Entry: R2,500 per head
To Book: 9819285720

Enjoy a saas-bahu bhonu
AUG 20, 4 to 6 PM:
Irani café SodaBottleOpenerWala is offering the delicious Bhonu with a twist, showcasing rival menus of a Parsi saas and bahu. The saas, Bachi Karkaria, will be presenting her signature tarela souffle and gos (mutton) no saas, while her bahu Akshata Karkaria will create the Russian enthu cutlet (chicken), and Shepherd’s Pie, among others. Akshata will also offer rival menus for Navroze Bhonu.
Where: SodaBottleOpenerWala, Ground Floor, The Capital Building, G Block, BKC, Bandra (East)
Call: 40035678

Stuff yourself with a Parsi thali
AUG 16 – 18, 11 AM – 12 AM: If you want to enjoy a cracker jacker Parsi meal, head to Café Mocambo at Fort, which is offering a Parsi thali for R599. It includes saria (Parsi papad), sev, dahi with the choice of chicken or mutton dal. There’s also sali chicken, jaldaloo salli boti with Parsi roti served with leg piece of farcha and a soft drink of your choice. The caramel custard is complementary.
Where: Café Mocambo, 23/A, Sir Phirozshah Mehta Road, Fort
Call: 22870458

Bite into salli boti puff

AUG 16 and 17, 8 AM to 11 PM: Fancy your favourite salli boti in a puff? Head to Theobroma’s, which has curated a special menu for the New Year celebrations. From chocolate caramel salted cake, to cutlet gravy wrap, salli boti puff and tamatar per eedu, there is something for everybody at the patisserie.
Where: Theobroma, Colaba Causeway, Cusrow Baug Colony, Apollo Bandar, Colaba
Call: 33716011

Made to order
AUG 17, 11 AM to 11 PM: Jimmy Boy’s has put together a three-course traditional lagan nu bhonu, which they are more than happy to deliver to your doorstep. On the menu is the saas/patra ni machchi, salli murgi/ghosh, sago wafers, chicken/mutton pulao, dhansak dal, gajar mewa nu achar and lagan nu custard for Rs 1,400.
Where: Jimmy Boy, Vikas Building, Horniman Circle, Fort
Call: 22700880

Ring in Pateti
AUG 16, 5.30 PM to 10.45 PM: Ideal Corner is offering a special New Year’s eve dinner comprising king prawn curry rice (250), kid ghosh fried potatoes (R200), and fish fillet tartar sauce and chips (200), this Parsi menu will definitely please all.
Where: Ideal Corner, 12/F/G Hornby View, Gunbow Street, Fort
Call: 22621830

Relish old favourites
AUG 17, 12 PM: On Navroze, when the Parsi community pays tribute to family ties, there’s no better way to celebrate, than over a scrumptious handcrafted meal. For the occasion, chef Farrokh Khambata is creating an array of specialities like lagan nu stew, patra ni machchi, jardaloo sali chicken and bharuchi akoori with brun pao. You can end your meal with his signature nitro pomegranate and rose petal kulfi.
Where: Café at the NCPA, Gate No. 2, Dorabaji Tata Road, Nariman Point
Entry: R1,950 per head
To book: 67230110

Dig into berry pulao
ONGOING TILL AUG 30, 12 PM TO MIDNIGHT: Ice cream brand Dinshaw’s has brought back its popular Bawa nu Bhonu menu. With signature offerings like dhansak rice, salli boti, chicken farcha, berry pulao, and veg variations of the same, the spicy and meaty cuisine, is not one you’d want to miss.
Where: Dinshaw’s Xpress Café, 6, Oshiwara Shop, Windermere Building, Off Link Road, Andheri (West)
Call: 9004530507

A grand Parsi wedding feast
AUG 21, 11 AM ONWARDS: Soak in the works of talented artists from around the city, while relishing an authentic Parsi wedding meal at the Art Hub. The buffet includes unlimited helpings of chicken cheese croquettes, mutton cutlets, sali chicken, patra fish, mutton dhansak and lagan nu custard. There is a treat for vegetarians too.
Where: Pala Fala, The Art Hub, Atria Mall, Dr AB Road, Worli
Entry: R700
Call: 65583333

From grandma’s kitchen
ONGOING TILL AUG 26, 12 To 11.30 PM: Chef Shehrezad Kapadia has rustled up a traditional Parsi meal to celebrate Navroze. Inspired by her grandmother’s cooking, the menu, which will be served during lunch and dinner, will include specials like topli paneer, komli na churry chawal and old favourites like salli boti and berry pulao.
Where: SAN:QI, Four Seasons Hotel,
Dr E Moses Road, Worli
Call: 24818000

http://www.mid-day.com/articles/heres-where-to-head-to-get-your-fill-of-traditional-parsi-delicacies/17526172

 

Khavanu, pivanu, majjani life!


What is an Irani cafe set-up doing in the middle of Mumbai’s swankiest five star hotel, I wonder. I ought to be glimpsing Salade Nicoise and asparagus quiche; not brun maska and paneer akuri in a place likePondichery Cafe, Sofitel Mumbai BKC! And then it dawns upon me. The Parsi New Year is almost upon us and the good folks at Sofitel want me to have my dinner “Khavanu, pivanu, majjani life” style.

Parsi Food Festival At Sofitel Mumbai BKC
Book your table before it’s too late

Although I’m hungry, I decide to walk around the restaurant first, admiring all the creative Parsi flourishes. At the live counter, paneer akuri and sali par edu occupy pride of place but there is much more on the blackboard menu: cream roll, bun maska and double omelettes. I love the toffees in a tin and the crates of raspberry soda, so typical of old Irani cafes in the city.

Sali Par Edu Counter At Sofitel Mumbai BKC
Omelettes are being whipped up with utmost concentration

The waiters are wearing the velvety red caps that Parsi gentlemen love and a bike stands near the entrance proudly labelled ‘pappani bike‘ (father’s bike). A grandfather’s radio at the far end of the live counter would have made any old-timer Irani cafe owner proud. This being Pondichery Cafe, there is a plethora of Indian and international cuisine on offer as well. But I have my eyes set on the beautiful little portions of honey gold custard.

Grandfather's Radio
Grandfather’s radio

What we eat

Parsi cuisine is best known for its dhansak and patra ni machchi but this festival burrows deeper into the eclectic cuisine and presents you with options you may not have tried before. The array of vegetarian dishes impress me as well. And now, let me take you on a visual journey through the various Parsi delights on offer, some of which we sample and some which we don’t. Because a woman can only eat so much at one time!

On my plate: Patra ni paneer, khara bhinda, ajwain aloo, beetroot raita, vegetable sushi and lagan nu stew
On my plate: Patra ni paneer, khara bhinda, ajwain aloo, beetroot raita, vegetable sushi and lagan nu stew

If you ignore the sushi on my plate (I love sushi and can’t resist it), you’ll see that my plate is entirely occupied by Parsi dishes. I have the delicious lagan nu stew, a mixed vegetable curry in a tomato and onion gravy with warm tandoori rotis. The khara bhinda is a dry ladyfinger preparation with Parsi spices but the slight sweetness is not to my taste. The patra ni paneer is a vegetarian variant of the famous patra ni machchi and when I unwrap the parcel, I find a thick wedge of paneer coated with chutney. Their effort in creating a paneer version is commendable but among all the dishes, the lagan nu stew takes the cake for me. The ajwain aloo is best avoided and the beetroot raita makes for an excellent accompaniment to the meal.

The best custard I've ever had!
The best custard I’ve ever had!

For dessert (which is the most important part of a meal), I have the divine lagan nu custard, perfectly soft, light, flaky and flavourful. It is not overly sweet and comes dusted with nuts. A simple milk-based dessert, the lagan nu custard is faintly reminiscent of creme brulee and comes ensconced in caramel syrup.

What we don’t eat

Honestly, you can come twice for this festival and still not repeat a single dish. Being vegetarians, we do not try the mutton dhansak, sali marghi and patra ni machchi. There is also paneer akuri and sali par eduon offer. Take a look.

Clockwise from top left: Sali marghi, paneer akuri, sali par edu and patra ni machchi
Clockwise from top left: Sali marghi, paneer akuri, sali par edu and patra ni machchi

I’ve always admired the Parsis as a community for their joie de vivre, sauve sophistication and inimitable sense of humour. Now I’ve found another reason to cherish a soft corner for this fast dwindling community – their drool-worthy cuisine!

(Some photos courtesy: Sofitel Mumbai)

Ankita Shreeram

Writer, journalist and luxury traveller. Words were my first love. Travel was my second. And out of their union, Trailstainedfingers.com was born. For FAM trips, hospitality reviews, travel articles or any other collaboration, contact me at Ankita@Trailstainedfingers.com

Khavanu, pivanu, majjani life!

CREAMY KULFI AND FRESH CHHAAS


A much-loved Mumbai favourite, Parsi Dairy Farm has been proudly standing on Princess Street in Marine Lines since 1916, which makes it a century-old establishment here.

What Do We Have Here?

Parsi Dairy Farm began its journey selling milk, and the best milk around at that, out of the same institution that still stands here today.

Those who consume only gourmet tea, coffee and dessert may turn up their nose here, but anyone who has also enjoyed slurping a fresh glass of cold frothy milk before being pushed off to school, and digging their spoon into a kulfi dribbling down their elbow, would know that few other joys come close to this.

Apart from the full-fat and cow’s milk which is the foundation of Parsi Dairy, they sell mawa sweets, seven-eight flavours of creamy kulfi {served as small round slabs}, fresh curd only sold in earthen matkas – low-fat, full-fat and more, cottage cheese, paneer, ghee, milk drops {delicious toffees}, a whole range of Bengali sweets such as gulab jamun and rasmalai, sutarfeni, and a bunch of Parsi favourites like the fish-shaped mawa so happily eaten at the Parsi New Year – among more, believe you us.

Adding no preservatives, milk powders or emulsifiers, their products have a shorter shelf life than others, but a quality that’s maintained. Speaking to one of the family who run the place, we hear stories of how while growing up this was a place to come and play, and sneak in a bite or two of malai khaja, although now it’s a place of work. Families grown up here come and comment on how the counters may have been changed from silver to white, and how the options have grown longer and wider, but the flavours have remained true to what they were.

What Else?

It may be a hundred years old, but it has kept up with the times. If you aren’t living in SoBo but still crave for some good old Parsi ghee, you can order some of their more long-lasting products off Zomato, Scootsy or Swiggy. If you just need to have some of their kesar pista kulfi, you can order some at SodaBottleOpenerWala or The Taj.

In the months to come, they’re hoping to keep adding more to their already-large list, such as a blueberry-flavoured yoghurt and perhaps a few types of cheese {we know we are looking forward to that}. In the meanwhile however, please excuse us while we guzzle down a mug of chhaas, and what’s that? We should wipe away the milk moustache? Only after the next two.Photos: Athul Prasad/LBB

Of Parsi Akuri & Caramel Custard


Mithila Mehta on why you should visit the Irani cafes of Mumbai

Those of you who are active on the social circuits would have certainly heard of the restaurant, Soda Bottle Openerwala, a chic new take on the legendary Irani cafes of Mumbai. Soda Bottle Openerwala is not a bad deal, the food is decent and the décor is well, interesting. But that’s where it ends.

Most people that flock to Soda Bottle Openerwala have never visited the real Irani cafes of Mumbai. A friend of mine, a big fan of the restaurant, insisted that the original cafes were “dirty” (she’s never been to one, so not sure how she can be so sure). “Soda Bottle Openerwala is cool and so comfortable. Why would I go to those old cafes,” she whimpered, seemingly oblivious to the fact that we were waiting outside the restaurant for a table, unfortunate souls in a packed human stew

Too many people now are happy to have a “dolled up version” of the experience, never mind that the real deal can be awe inspiring and seeped in nostalgia.

Visiting an Irani Café in Mumbai should be an experience mandatory to all residents, especially since they are a rapidly dying out species.

As you step into the café, time seems to stand still. The past hangs heavy in the air.

Most of these cafes are ‘same same but different’ – they have certain characteristics which are common to all such cafes, but also their own set of quirks which define their own individual character. The similarities start with the décor, lightweight black chairs (imported from Poland) with plastic weaving at the seat) and the tables covered with checkered red tablecloths. Don’t miss the old world bakery counter, the cash counter (stocked with various household provisions) and the shelf full of glass jars containing various delicious treats.

So that you can enjoy the experience as much as we do, here is a list of things to do when visiting these quaint nostalgic setups.

1. Irani Cafés allow you to indulge in some serious people watching. They are all located in the middle of bustling areas (and interestingly enough, almost always on a street corner). It’s great fun to see the variety of people that come in, grabbing a quick chai in the middle of their busy day. Because tables at the cafes are shared, you will also find yourself sitting next to someone unknown.

Yazdani Bakery

Yazdani Bakery

2. Try and strike up a conversation with the owner (hint: he’s the old man sitting behind the cash counter). They are traditionally known to be grumpy (especially if you do not tender exact change), but all the owners we’ve met have been absolute sweethearts.

3. Britannia & Co at Ballard Pier is best known for its adorable owner, the charming 95-year-old Boman Kohinoor. Mr. Boman is a born storyteller. He loves sharing stories and anecdotes. He will proudly take you through his collection of sepia-tinged collection of treasures; letters, cards and photographs from famous diners who have visited Café Britannia. There is even a postcard from the Queen of England in there somewhere.

Boman Kohinoor with the letter from Her Majesty, the Queen of England.

Boman Kohinoor with the letter from Her Majesty, the Queen of England.

4. Brilliant food, served at the speed of light. From Irani tea (sweet and comforting) to brun maska (break and toast), jam-bread, omelette, akuri (a popular Parsi-style egg preparation) caramel custard, pastries and more. Wash it down with Pallonjee’s Raspberry beverage, another legendary Parsi item.

Chai and maska Pao

Chai and maska Pao

5. Merwans at Grant Road serves the world’s best mawa cakes (no kidding). The catch? They runout of stock by 7am, so it’s awfully hard to get to! In case you miss out, visit Yazdani & Co at Fort for delicious apple pie (the heritage setting makes it taste better, I swear) or Britannia for caramel custard. Kayani & Co offers some lovely banana bread.

Caramel Custard at Britania & Co

Caramel Custard at Britania & Co

6. Here’s the best part – you can stuff your face silly but try as you may, it’s unlikely that your bill will cross into triple digits. (unless you visit Britannia, that place is more expensive). In your face, inflation.

Military Cafe - Fort area,

Military Cafe – Fort area

A classic case of going, going gone is Mumbai’s fading Irani Cafes. Bastani’s (Metro) closed down recently, it’s only a matter of time before other fatalities are added to the list. Till then, we’ll continue to enjoy the delicious caramel custard and wash it down dollops of nostalgia.

http://sbcltr.in/of-parsi-akuri-and-caramel-custard/

Does Food & Cooking Excite you?


07 Ad Does food and cooking excite you
About the cookbook, it is a cookbook on old and lost parsi recipes which are family legacies.
It is about giving the unrecognised passionate home cook a chance to shine out amongst the well known foodies. The book is curated by Kaizad Patel, a well known entity on the parsi food scene. We welcome entries from all over the world. The recipes selected will be printed under the home cook’s name.
Thank you and appreciate,
Jinaz Mistry

PARSI FOOD FESTIVAL AT BLU, AAURIS : AN HONEST EXPERIENCE


 

Sparkle 100%

After 15 days of holidaying out abroad, coming back to my country was a welcome change. What was more welcoming however, was getting an invitation to become a part of a respective set of the blogging community and attend a kind of food festival Kolkata has craved to savor.

The city of joy has been a melting pot of varied cultures . Look around and you’ll find a conglomeration of cuisines harmoniously blending in to perfection; creating a celebration of flavours in every Calcuttan’s mouth. And while the city only ends up raving about certain genres (like the Mughlai, the Dhakai or the Punjabi), it is Parsi cuisine that is the most underrated and the most flavorsome genre of them all.  Over the past 1300 years ,Parsi cuisine has grown into a unique west coast Indian cuisine, still retaining flavors and techniques from ancient Persia, like a slice of history on your plate. My only tryst with this genre honestly has been in various outlets of a franchise called the SodaBottleOpenerWaala, or scores of Iranian bakeries or cafes in and around Mumbai and Pune. Very few are aware that Kolkata too has a small little place likeMancherji’s  that serves a fair share of Parsi cuisine, however the city could do with a lot more.

Therefore, if I am given an opportunity to preview a Parsi food festival before it’s launch to the general public, I would be a fool to not jump the gun! Blu at the Aauris hotel has always been known to pioneer unique food festivals in the city – be it reciting food verses with a wonder brunch, or blend in Shakespeare with salads – conjuring up a food festival dedicated to the nitigrities of Parsi cuisine comes as no surprise at all.

image

Curated by Chef Sujit Mondal, the spread promises to take you an authentic gastronomic adventure like never before. I was privileged to have a very dear friend Rukshana on board this fabulous meet. Being a Parsi herself, the anecdotes given by her on each dish enhanced our meal ten folds. Before you die of curiosity, this was what was served to us at dinner:

parsi
The Drinks:
I’ve never been a fan of Masala drinks so I skipped the lemonade and tasted the Shirley Temple instead. Parsi’s as we were told, have a thing for accompanying alcohol with their meals so was surprised to find a mocktail on the menu but….. anyway moving on.

image

An ideal shirley temple is traditionally made with gingerale and grenadine- both of which were sadly lacking and all I got was a raspberry flavoured drink. So I won’t go “hooray!” with that!


The Starters

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The starters were a hit favourite amongst all of us.
All three dishes- The Khaman Pattice, Crispy Chicken Farcha and The Scotch broth– had distinct flavours; not to miss out on while you’re attending the food festival.

The vegetarians will definitely go ga ga on the Khaman Pattice. The crispy layer of the potato pattice on the outside oozing with elements of coconut and ginger on the inside; served with a generous helping of the green chutney is a must have!

Coming to the non vegetarian delights, the look of the Crispy Chicken Farcha gives an instant connect to the Bengali Kobiraaji; only here the exterior wasn’t crispy as it’s namesake, however the marinated flavours within were an A +.

Perhaps the most filling of the starters was the Scotch broth. Don’t be confused with the inclusion of Scotch in a dish; it’s basically a kind of soup overloaded with the goodness of mutton and barley. This, in my opinion, would make a meal on it’s own if you are a light eater like me when it comes to dinner . Therefore be sure to make lots of space in your tummy!


The Main Course

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The star dishes finally arrived with pomp and grandeur and we couldn’t wait to taste them. There was Tittori , Nariel Na Dudh Ma Radhelu Cauliflower, Patrani Machhiand Dhansak; each of which, manages to beautifully capture the imagination of every taste bud present in the room. They were accompanied with piping hot Naans and Steamed rice.

Being a non vegetarian, I would obviously opt for the Dhansak and Patrani Macchi.
While the Parsi wedding favourite – banana leaf wrapped steamed fish (Patrani Macchi) blends the gorgeous flavours of coriander,  green chilli, mint and coconut chutney; the star of the show is the Dhansak. The succulent mutton pieces  vegetables and toor dal cooked on slow flame with steamed rice was an instant mood lifter.

Ironically, as Rukshana points out, Dhansak is considered a funeral dish that is usually served on the 4th day of the mourning period at Parsi homes. So unless you don’t want to get killed, never ask for Dhansak in a Parsi household. You could get it in abundance out here though!😉

But jokes apart, what Rukshana points out is that it’s perfectly fine to demand Dhansak as a guest if it’s not made on any auspicious occasion or celebration. On those days the Dhansak is served without the Mutton / Chicken often with a Non Veg Pulao similar to a light Biryani.

Vegetarians don’t be disheartened for there is tremendous love for the vegetarian delights served at the festival to us. The Tittori ( lentils cooked with coconut milk and other vegetables) for me felt like a Parsi rendition of the Sambhar and I wasn’t quite impressed with it. What stole my heart was the Nariel Na Dudh Ma Radhelu Cauliflower. The perfect balance between the coconut milk, the spices and the soft cauliflower is a thumbs up!

Just Desserts

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The best is saved for the last and in this case too there was no exception. We were served two favourite Parsi desserts- The wedding must have Lagan Nu Custard andMalido -the sweet offering made to the Gods at the Fire temple.

The Lagan Nu Custard is basically denser and moderately sweeter version of the caramel custard with loads of dry fruits and teams wonderfully with raspberry crush. There were only light drizzle of almonds on our rendition and I would seek the inclusion of more dry fruits on my next visit.

I always believed what is offered to eat in the name of faith is an epitome of calorie killing and I’m not wrong. The Malido is a total celebration in your mouth. There is ghee, there are fruits and nuts and there is total food porn! You cannot stop at just one!

This magnificent festival starts from June 24th and concludes on July 3rd. So there you go! All information given. There isn’t much time! Don’t tell me later I didn’t give you a heads up on this!

https://saltpinch.wordpress.com/2016/06/23/parsi-food-festival-at-blu-aauris-an-honest-experience/

Disclaimer: I was graciously invited by the Zomato team to be a part of their Bloggers meet and attend the preview of the Parsi Food Festival, at Blu: Aauris hotel, Kolkata. The following piece clearly denotes my overall dining experience and has nothing to do with any sort of promotional activity whatsoever. Whatever comes your way, take it with A Pinch of Salt!