The Taste of a Parsi Home Fare

All this comes to life at Rustom’s Parsi Bhonu, a Parsi home-style restaurant in Adchini in Delhi, run by Kainaz Contractor and Rahul Dua. Both are 28 years old and have a background in hospitality as they did their management training together. Dua wished ‘to open a Parsi restaurant in Delhi’ while Contractor wished to open ‘her own restaurant some day’. Contractor, who shifted base from Mumbai to Delhi to open Rustom’s, says, “My interactions with many people led me to feel that there is space for an authentic Parsi-style restaurant in Delhi. Since this is not a funded project, Dua and I thought the delivery model would work well as it made for sustainable business. To add to the thought, Delhi people order in a lot unlike Mumbai people. At Rustom’s, we have mostly non-Parsis and youngsters ordering in. And we receive maximum orders on Sunday for lunches.” Adapting to Delhi was easy for her as she liked the city and has lived here earlier. The restaurant is named after her father. The duo have showcased Parsi style through the ambience, as it is done up to recreate an old Parsi home. The grandfather clock and the crockery cupboard add antique touches. The tiles they have used are found in typical Parsi homes. The space at Rustom’s is small and hence exudes a home-like warmth. “The menu has pictures of my own family and across the restaurant we have images from Sooni Taraporevala’s famous book Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India. Some pictures are for sale as well,” reveals Contractor.

On the menu front, the  place showcases close to 30 dishes. “These have been carefully chosen keeping in mind home-style dishes that can be perfectly executed in a restaurant format or those that are restaurant worthy,” says Contractor, adding, “Of course, there were a lot of trials and toil that went in before the final menu came out. The final dishes are ones that we personally like and believe people will like them too. The dishes are not too unfamiliar in terms of taste. These are dishes that people in Delhi will like. Once people take to the food currently being served, we shall introduce some offal dishes, but that will have to wait a bit.”

Dua’s contribution to Rustom’s, in his own words, was “to make sure the home-style cooking blended seamlessly into the restaurant format, for no one wants to be served ghar ka khana in a restaurant. So I took upon myself to ensure the presentation was not home-style, even if the dish was. I also helped find chefs and train them.” Dua, who has tasted success at Cafe Lota (which he runs with three others), lauds his partner for her food training and says, “Kainaz went to Nagpur to her aunt and trained with her for a month and a half, as also under her own mom to get her recipes right.” Since this is Dua’s first independent venture, it “marks my foray into the kind of restaurants I want to open in Delhi and elsewhere,” he says. Though he reiterates he is not here to please everybody, Dua and Contractor are cautious in their approach. “For now, we have started with what we thought was rightly suited for the Delhi palate. For our Patra Ni Machi, we use Tilapia fish whereas Pomfret would be our first choice. But most people in Delhi turn a nose to smelly fish or that, which has bones. After introducing our patrons to Parsi home-style food, we shall present some of our takes on Parsi food, but that will come in a little later. Our food is more of a tribute to the Parsi community. We are serving, what is essentially Indian food, that is very comforting,” quips Dua.

An offering that renders uniqueness to Rustom’s is the stock of regional products displayed for sale. “Since we are a regional Indian specialty restaurant we do believe in encouraging those engaged in the food-chain at our restaurant by offering their products for sale. We stock Parsi cane vinegar, dhansak masala, sambhar masala, vindaloo masala, Pallonji sodas, carrot and raisin pickle into two varieties—home-made and commercially packaged,” says Contractor, adding, “it is natural when we taste a new cuisine we like to recreate some of it in our own kitchens”.

By Tanu Datta

Published: 12th April 2015 06:00 AM

The Food Gallery

Dear All,

This is to inform all members that Farhad Aibara (My partner) and myself have started a new business in the food industry.  We are known by the name of The Food Gallery and operate from Shop No.1, Roopanand Apts, Next to Hotel Signature, Lullanagar, Pune 40.  We basically wish to enter into corporate catering but we also do Outdoor Catering Services along with a retail counter at our store selling snacks and full meals.  If any of you have any leads in companies or have any requirements please do let us know.
Our Nos for contacts are:  Mabrin 9822000433
Farhad: 9890529833
Shop: 65247657.
Thanking You
Mabrin Noshir Nanavatti
Visit us at :

For the love of eggs

Cheese and eggs at Smokehouse Deli
On the love of eggs that unite Parsis and Bengali
I tried the eggs and cheese scrambled egg at Bandra’s Smoke House Deli recently and immediately thought of how much my mother in law would like this creamy, cheesy, eggy dish.
A few days later I went to Smokehouse with her and K and ordered these eggs and sure enough my mom in law loved them.
At Smoke House with my Bawi girls
The Parsi love for eggs

The thing about Parsis is that they are besotted with eggs. They add eggs to every possible dish. Their pulaos should have boiled eggs. Egg and chutney pattice (egg croquettes) are their favourite snacks. Their favourites desserts, the laganu and caramel custards, have eggs in them. The only way to get them to eat vegetables is to break an egg on the greens. So you have tomato per eendu (eggs on tomato), bhaji per eendu (eggs on spinach) and bheenda per eendu (eggs on ladies fingers). Even indulgences like potato chips are embellished with eggs. You guessed it right, wafers per eendu.
In case you didn’t get it by now, eendu means eggs in Parsi Gujarati.
Bhaji per eendu. Our cook Banu had made spinach so my mom in law made her add an egg to i
Incidentally Parsis will have none of this egg white business.
My mom in law often makes me poras when she visits us on weekends. Pora is a garam masala and chilli powder specked spicy Parsi styled omelette.
She makes it with egg whites for me as per my request based on doctor’s orders.
One day I saw my mom in law making an omelette for herself after she made mine.
With the egg yolks that remained from my omelette!
Which reminded me of tales K would tell me of having grown up on eggs fried in butter or even ghee which would shock me since I have grown up in a house where my mother would be most parsimonious about using oil, let alone butter and ghee.
My mom in law has turned vegetarian after my father in law passed away. She has not given up on eggs though.
I feel that my late father in law would approve of her sticking on to eggs. Towards the end of his life he had lot of food restrictions on health counts. He was a very obedient patient and would listen to his doctors.
The one exception that he made was eggs and he would continue to eat eggs even though he stayed largely away from meats and fish.
Mamma, my wife’s later maternal grandmother, would have runny scrambled eggs even when she had the appetite for nothing else towards her final years.
Mama, as we call her son, would make her the eggs even though he is a rare Parsi vegetarian. A ‘real’ one, in this case who does not even eat eggs.
Our uncle J, occasionally decides to tell us lessons he has learnt from life. Top of the list for this octogenarian Parsi is ‘eggs are very good for your health’.

‘Eggs are oxygen to Parsis’, says uncle J.

The only Parsi dish K has ever made for me is salli per eendu or eggs fried over salli (potato straws).
The Bengali chapter
As I began writing this post on the love for eggs that the Parsi half of my family has I realised that eggs were pretty important to the Bengali side of my life too.
In fact the only memory I have of my late paternal grandmother’s cooking revolves around eggs. This is when we had just moved into Kolkata. My thakurma, as paternal grandma is called in Bengali, made me a deemer ‘poach’ which is what we Bengalis call fried eggs.
I was a picky eater in those days and this was the first time that I tried a fried egg or my grandmother’s cooking.
I must have been seven years old then and would fuss and not eat Indian dishes those days. My mom used to cook specially for me and would make me chicken and chips, fried rice, spaghetti and a mince meat stuffed omelette that she called Spanish omelette.
I would normally not eat my thakurma’s cooking as she would make Indian dishes.
Her ‘poached’/ fried egg turned out to be an exception.
I liked it so much that I asked her to make me two or three more after I had the first one and even told my mother to learn how to make it from my thakurma.
My grandmother then told me about how finances were tight when she brought up her children and how my father and all his siblings would share one poach while I was lucky enough to get repeats.
If I do the math right I think that would be one egg between six children!
It is only recently that I realised that real poached eggs are very different from the Bengali deemer poach and are not fried.
In my growing up days in Kolkata I remember people frying up an omelette when I would go to visit them and there were no sweets at home to offer.

Every evening after school I would go to the corner roll shop and buy an egg roll before going out to play with the money my mother left for me. (I remember buying egg rolls at Rs 1.50 in the mid ’80s in Kolkata)

There would be a non-veg element to all our meals at home in Kolkata. My mom stayed off red meat as she had heard it was not good for the heart. So there would be chicken on Sundays. And fish every other day.
On rare days when there was no fish my mom would add eggs to our meal. Usually deemer jhol or egg curry. This was made with hard boiled eggs. The white of the egg would be scored with four slits so that the masala of the gravy would go in. Like the fish in Bengali curries, the egg too would be first fried in spices (koshano) before added to the curry. When she was too tired to make a curry mom would make an omelette. And occasionally she cooked what she called ‘Jolly’s curry’. This was named after a Bengali lady whom she knew in England who taught her the dish. This consisted of a curry which was similar to the chicken curry that mom would normally make. When the curry began to bubble in the pan my mom would crack and drop in the eggs making it a sort of egg drop curry. Saves the time spent in boiling and frying eggs my mom would explain.

I had just begun to cook before I left Kolkata for Mumbai. I remember making omelettes with elaborate stuffings with even liver occasionally for my mom and brother on weekends.

When I used to go back to Kolkata from Mumbai my mom would make the savoury Indian version of French toasts every day for breakfast!
Given the Parsi and Bengali egg fixation it is no surprise that on the day of our marriage K requested me to make her an omelette when we came home from the registrar before heading out for dinner.
It was fitting that the first dish cooked by a Bengali husband for his Parsi wife was an egg one.

Talking of eggs and Parsi do check out this e book on eggs put together by Perzen the Bawi Bride, and Rhea, a Bengali married to a Parsi.

In case you are wondering why my mother doesn’t blog anymore here, it is because she her own blog now. This is her latest post on how her blogging came into being thanks to a computer operator named Raju.


A tryst with Parsi flavours

Red Fork in Indiranagar offers a range of contemporary items. Though it provides great breakfast options, burgers and salads, it is mainly known for the delicious Parsi food it serves.

The menu here is carefully curated to capture the seasonal produce from organic, zero pesticide farms. Even the in-house breads, desserts, compotes, dips and ice-creams are completely fresh. Chef Xerxes and his team come up with innovative presentations too.

Run by a Parsi family, the place used to be called Daddy’s Deli before it was given a new identity.

The elaborate breakfast menu consists of a spring onion pancake with smoked salmon and poached egg; breakfast bruschetta with pork; big breakfast with a choice of fried, poached or scrambled eggs; a choice of chicken franks or bacon served with rosemary mushrooms, hash cake and choice of bread, green eggs and ham. There is a wide range of salads available from beetroot, walnut tamarind dressing with house marinated feta to pear parmesan and almond salad.

The filling burgers include chicken Bondi burger with apple tzatziki salad; bacon and cheese and beef patty with cheddar, bacon, jalapeños, spanish onion jam, gherkins, mayo and barbecue sauce.

Some of the delicious dishes offered here are beef tenderloin with Thai style salad and Miso-glazed pan-fried fish on a bed of sesame rice.

The mouth-watering desserts here include orange semolinacake with Cognac ganache and vanilla ice cream; carrot cake with sugared almonds and mascarpone sorbet; baked white chocolate cheesecake with toffee and spiced poached pears.  Red Fork is located on 12th Main, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar.


Monograph on Zoroastrian Heritage & Nutrition – for Distribution

Dear friends,

Some of the most popular pages on the Zoroastrian Heritage website and blog are the ones relating to Nutrition – in particular the monograph, “Nutrition – Were Ancient Zoroastrians & Aryans Vegetarian?” In addition to seeking answers, the monograph broadly addresses Zoroastrian principles and values.

Complete and abridged pdf versions of the monograph are available for download at:


A previous monograph, “Farohar/Fravahar Motif. What Does It Represent? Use of Icons & Symbols in Zoroastrianism” can be downloaded at:

Complete: (64,426 downloads to March 26, 2015)


Abridged: (24,203 downloads to March 26, 2015)



K. E. Eduljee

Zoroastrian Heritage website (

Zoroastrian Heritage blog (

Courtesy : Dolly Dastoor

Finely Chopped Parsi Food Walk, 28th March 2015

Saturday, 21st March, was Navroze, the Parsi spring festival, originally observed as the new year in Iran.
You might have read articles about Parsi food written around Navroze. Tried some Parsi food perhaps if you are lucky.
We had a lunch at home on Navroze where my family from my wife’s side had come over and we ordered in from Katy’s Kitchen. You can read about it here.
In case you missed out on the fun and want to try out Parsi food then this walk is a good idea for you.
Our food walk will start with a late breakfast in an Irani bakery where we will get a glimpse into the life of Mumbai before Starbucks and its ilk. We will munch on khari biscuits and mava cakes and dip crusty bruns and baby bum soft bun maska into Irani chai and try to hold on to an enchanted word that is no more. If you are in luck, and if the owners are in a good mood, then you might go in and see the bakery but in the world of temperamental Parsis one can’t guarantee anything.
Our next stop will be at a small Parsi restaurant whose owner earlier ran a motorcycle garage at the same spot. Parsis, who generally feel that the food in their houses is much better than in restaurants, admit that the food here is pretty good. Here we will try the akoori, or Parsi styled spicy scrambled eggs that my wife, a Parsi, dotes on.
We then move on to an old school sleepy Irani cafe where we try some of the dishes such as kheema ghotala (minced goat meat with scrambled eggs) and caramel custard, dishes folks would snack on in a world unsullied by talks of egg whites or white meat. The caramel custard here is considered to be one of the best in Mumbai and I strongly agree. There is an elderly couple who runs the place who happily bless and say a prayer for customers who shower them with love.
kheema ghotala
Our last stop is for the full blown Parsi festive meal. You can get to try this only if you are invited to a Parsi wedding or a Navjote, the coming of age ceremony. Some Parsi caterers offer versions of this meal for the New Year and Navroze. Else you can try it out at this hundred year old cafe which had a makeover a decade back.
Saarya papad, laganu achar, sali murgi, patrani machhi, rotli, pulao daal and laganu custard washed down with raspberry drink is the storyline for the feast here.
They are kinder towards the ‘other side’ than in the average Parsi restaurant here and happily make a vegetarian version of the meal when required.
The walk will be held at Fort In South Mumbai which probably has one of the largest remaining concentrations of Parsi cafes.
And no, much as I’d like you to meet grand old Mr Boman Kohinoor, we will not go to Britannia and Co in this walk. As you will discover, there is a lot more to Parsi food in Mumbai
So here are the details:
Date: 28th March, 2015, Saturday
Timing: 11.00 AM to 2.00 pm
Start Point: Bombay Store, PM Road, Fort
Things to get: Camera, reasonably smart phone, hand sanitizer, wearing denim helps as serviettes are far and few, an umbrella, a big appetite.
Planned food stops: 3,4
Inclusions: A sampling menu of Parsi dishes covering the range of breakfast, in betweens and festive feasts . We will space out the food to make sure that you bat till the end of the innings. Bottled water included.  The walk will cover the area around Fort and Horniman Circle
Cost: Rs 2500 (two thousand five hundred) per head
Write in at or tweet me at @finelychopped or write to me at the Finely Chopped Facebook page.



Simple tea biscuits which have a long history and a wonderful legendary story.
The Dutch had left the shores of the West Port City of Surat, India in the 1700’s where a flourishing bakery was handed over to Faramji Dotivala. This baker continued to produce the breads for the local British community left behind. Once the Brits too lessened in numbers, the bread’s popularity diminished and the wasted bread was soon distributed to the local poor. Having the advantage of being fermented with an ingredient called Toddy, there was little chance of the bread ever catching fungus, prolonging the life of this staple yet making it harder to eat. One thing led to another and the local doctors suggested that this stale bread be given as a convalescent food to patients as it was easy to digest and filled their stomachs. Dotivala started producing smaller specially dried bread buns, and ‘ batasas’ were soon produced using the same toddy, flour and water! They were round balls of dough made to be eaten with a cup of sweet tea. They were hard enough to be dunked into the tea and not fall apart.
Years later, the Batasa was changed to a richer version with an addition of butter and or ghee/clarified butter. With alcohol prohibition taking place, Toddy was replaced with yeast or even completely omitted in the recipe.
Besides the cities of Surat, Navsari and Pune where Batasas are rivalled to be called their own, it was and still is a staple sold in Irani Tea Houses in Mumbai and until recently in Karachi. Sadly it is all dwindling down in numbers as many of the owners and bakers have moved to other pastures. Let’s hope we can soon walk through the doors of the first wonderful Chai House in North America!

Click Here for more and also the recipe !

Courtesy :


Instead of booking a table at a city Bawa eatery on Parsi new year, drive to Udwada for boi, dal-chawal and patio

Chaalo, jamye?

1. The Hormuzd Bakery stall outside Iranshah Atash Behram stocks crumbly nankhatais and spongy bhakras; 2. Breakfast at Ahura: Parsi poro, akuri and salli par eedu with fresh pav make a jumbo breakfast at Ahura; 3. Lunch at Parsi Da Dhaba; 4. At the Globe Hotel; 5-6. At Hotel Ashishwang; 7-8. At Sohrabji Jamshedji Sodawaterwalla Dharamsala
It’s the oldest story of amalgamation, and if Zoroastrian history in India has a beginning that involves a drink, how do you expect Parsi culture not to be firmly glued to all things edible.

So, a return to the story of amalgamation, in brief. When a group of Zoroastrians from Persia arrived as religious refugees in Sanjan, on the coast of Gujarat, they were seeking local king Jadav Rana’s approval. Having fled the Muslim Arabs invading Greater Khorasan in the eighth century, they wished for a safe haven to practice their religion. Rana wondered how a people so distinct in culture and language would live around the locals in harmony. He presented them with a glass spilling over with milk – a symbol of his prosperous land brimming with people, and no room for conflict. The Parsis asked for sugar. Tossing in a spoonful without any spillage, they spoke of seamlessly blending in with Rana’s folk, while adding a tinge of sweetness.

Udwada, a seaside town 200 km from Mumbai (and 30 km from Sanjan), is the seat, both, of Zoroastrianism (it houses the Iranshah Atash Behram – one of nine fire temples globally, holding the oldest, continuously burning ritual fire-temple in the world) and Parsi food traditions.

The Parsis kept their promise. Their food, moons away from Persian eats, is closer to local Gujarati coastal cooking, featuring indigenous fish, lentils and curries, all accompanied by Indian carb staples – chaval and rotli.

It’s a taste of this that awaits you on any leisurely weekend in Udwada, which you should kick off with a stroll on the beach and walk through its winding alleys, some of which house century-old structures in ruins.

Udwada has nothing to offer tourists, except a bright sun, cool sea breeze, quiet afternoons and smiling locals who serve gher nu bhonu.

Breakfast at Ahura
In true Bawa tradition, you must celebrate food enroute, too. Break your journey for a breakfast of eggs at Ahura. We recommend the Parsi kheema (Rs 155), spicy and beautifully paired with freshly baked pav. The Parsi poro (masala omlette; Rs 60) or akuri (bhurji; Rs 70) are other must-trys, but we give our vote to the salli per eedu (eggs on potato vermicelli; Rs 90).

Lunch at Parsi Da Dhaba
Well, you have two options. Either you grab lunch en route, or at a hotel in Udwada. If it’s the first you are thinking, make a stop at Parsi Da Dhaba. They serve a robust Parsi menu together with tandoori items, and a fair vegetarian spread. Doodh na puff are available, but only in the mornings (Rs 55/glass). Call: 088062 79379

At The Globe Hotel
It’s one of Udwada’s older outposts, and its quaint cottages are popular for an overnight stay with Mumbai’s Parsis. Established in 1924 by Kekobad Hormusji Sidhwa, originally its caretaker, it’s now managed by third generation Sidhwas. Even if you don’t intend to stay on, it’s a good pit-stop for lunch (Rs 500 per head; good enough for two). Their only request – call in advance to book a table. Don’t go looking for a menu. They decide what you’ll eat, and it’s almost always delicious. Order a fried boi – a crisp exterior holds tender, sweet flesh within. Parsis also love their curry, and if you are beside the sea, it has to be machhi ni curry. Globe’s version is fiery and served with kachubar (diced onion, cucumber, tomato and coriander, sprinkled with lime juice) and rice or rotlis. Globe’s rustic roast chicken is what you should order if you want a taste of non-lagan nu bhonu. Call: 0260 345474 / 09879817333

At Hotel Ashishwang
Lunch at Ashishwang is synonymous with a drive here, so grab a seat early. Unlike Globe, this one is a two-story modern structure, but since it’s closer to the shore, it enjoys lulling sea breeze. There’s a garden play area for kids, and the food is homestyle. Order mori dar (plain dal), chawal and patio (usually fish or prawnbased tomato-onion gravy), and a side order of tareli boi (fried mullet), best eaten with fresh rotlis. They also do a mean Parsi version of roast chicken (tarela papeta ni murghi). Fried potato crescents and chicken chunks swim in a mild, creamy gravy of onion. Lunch is priced atRs 450, and good enough for two. Call: 0260 2345700

At Sohrabji Jamshedji Sodawaterwalla Dharamsala
It’s 12 rooms are rented out at nominal rates to Parsis looking to stay, but its canteen welcomes the hungry from all communities. They offer both, set and ala carte meals. The mutton dhansak here is a dream. The dal is luscious and thick, littered with chunks of soft meat, served with fragrant caramelised rice. If it’s a chapati meal you crave, order them with salli boti (sour-spicy chicken in tomato gravy sprinkled with crisp potato straws). While Globe and Ashishwang skipped dessert when we were there, Sodawaterwalla’s lagan nu custard and raspberry jelly were a perfect end to a hearty lunch. Call: 0260 2345688


Sunta Cold Drinks: Sunta is a local cold drink brand, difficult to find elsewhere. Flavours available – masala, raspberry and ice-cream soda (Rs 25). Don’t order lunch without it. Available at Parsi museum, Ashishwang and Globe.

Sancha Ice-cream: It’s not a brand. Sancha refers to the technique used to make handchurned, home-made ice-cream, usually served from the backseat of a rickshaw that makes the rounds of most hotels. The flavours are seasonal, so it’s mango (Rs 20/2 scoops) you should be asking for right now. Custard apple and strawberry are available throughout the year.

Doodh na puff (milk froth): This pearly white, frothy concoction is made with cardamom-laced chilled milk, and best had early morning. Local women come around to hotels and dharamsalas carrying trays lined with glasses. It’s best to ask hotel staff to keep a tray (or two because no one can have just one) ready for you the previous night.


Hormuz Bakery bites: Right outside the entrance of Iranshah is a man selling touch-andcrumble bhakras (a tiny doughnut that’s a teatime favourite) and nankhatais (Rs 200/kg). The bakery is housed elsewhere, but this pop-up is easy to find.

E. F. Kolah Pickles: Every store in Udwada stocks sweet and savory pickles from this age-old brand. Gor-keri (jaggery-mango) is our favourite (Rs 100/400 gm).

Home-made masala: Every shop outside Iranshah stocks Parsi masalas. But a gentleman in a neat salt-and-pepper braid, hawking masalas out of his car, just beside the Hormuz Bakery cart, is the guy to sniff out. You can choose from dhansak powder, parsi curry (Rs 160/200 gm) and vindaloo masala. He also stocks vinegar and sukka boomla no patio (pickled dried Bombay duck).

Peppermint and papads: Women from around the seaside town gather in its alleys with baskets stacked with fresh peppermint, thin-as-air papads (Rs 80/packet), sarias (sago wafers bets eaten with laga nu achar at weddings), fresh garlic (toss some in your scrambled egg) and limes larger than you find in Mumbai.

By Roxanne Bamboat

ePaper,  Mumbai Mirror | Sunday, Mar 15, 2015, Page 26: