Mumbai’s 99-year-old iconic Parsi Dairy Farm may shut shop

Mumbai's 99-year-old iconic Parsi Dairy Farm may shut shop
Parsi Dairy Farm is on verge of closure. (TOI file photo)
MUMBAI: For almost a century, Parsi Dairy Farm has fattened generations of Mumbaikars on its high-quality milk, butter, ghee, and an assortment of mithais. Eateries across the city have for decades served its famous kulfis.

Now, this vintage Mumbai institution, started by Parsi entrepreneur Nariman Ardeshir in 1916, looks set to fade into memory. As a first step, the Nariman family has decided to sell its 300-acre land at Talasari on national highway no. 8. Although the family insists it will continue to run the dairy business, it is learned that the Narimans, currently comprising eight partners, will ultimately sell the brand itself.

The agricultural land in Warvada village on the Maharashtra-Gujarat border is expected to fetch around Rs 200 crore. The family bought the plot in 1968 for livestock and to support its dairy activities.

Real estate consultant Pranay Vakil of Praron Consultancy, appointed by the Narimans to advise them on the land sale, said: “The property touches the national highway. It can be used either for an integrated township, a special economic zone, a residential colony or an amusement park.”

Over the past decade-and-a-half, the Parsi Dairy business has plummeted—from supplying 15,000 litres of milk a day to barely 2,000 litres today. The clientele is mainly in south Mumbai, from Walkeshwar to Cuffe Parade and Colaba. A labour strike in 2006 further crippled the business. Family sources claimed the annual turnover today is around Rs 10 crore.

Regular clients at the dairy farm’s popular outlet at Princess Street near Marine Lines station worry that the institution may shut down. “This is terrible news,” said V Chandra, a regular at the shop. “Its dahi (curd) is the best in the city; thick enough to cut, rich and creamy and never sour, delicious enough to eat on its own. I always get the small matka of dahi—it makes an excellent starter—but often end up buying the large matka out of sheer greed.”

According to her, the Parsi dairy milk is comparable in flavour and creaminess to some of the newer organic, farm fresh organic brands. “The paneer and sweets are also outstanding,” she said.

Parsi historian and author Marzban Giara said the dairy is renowned for the quality of its milk, lassi, kulfis, pasteurized white butter, pure ghee and Indian sweets. “For many years I used to meet Naval Nariman Hoyvoy (who ran the business till he died), a burly gentleman dressed in white clothes, at the shop at Princess Street. He was a stickler for punctuality and wanted me to visit him in the morning at 8.30am. He would buy books on Zoroastrianism and Parsi history from me. He would then offer me a glass of pure milk,” said Giara.

He added, “After the 10th World Zoroastrian Congress in Mumbai, a group of Parsi Zoroastrian youths from around the world visited Parsi Dairy Farm as one of the places under the Return to Roots program.”

Shernaaz Engineer, editor, Jam-e-Jamshed, a community newspaper said, “It’s sad to see iconic Parsi institutions fade away from the face of Mumbai. Parsi Dairy Farm has fed generations of Parsis—from its early morning milk to the malai kulfis served at our navjotes and lagans. Its pure ghee has greased our innards dollop by wholesome dollop! Its matka of mithoo dahi has forever accompanied festive sev in our homes. Its myriad mithais (sutterfeni, jalebi, penda, ladoos) have marked all the major milestones in our lives—births, anniversaries, engagements, graduations and God knows what else. You just can’t take the elemental ‘Parsi’ out of Parsi Dairy Farm—it would be tragic.”

The journey of Kainaz Contractor …..

Kainaz Contractor, 28, a B.Com graduate by education, restaurant manager by training and food writer by profession always wanted to run her own restaurant, ever since she could remember. Her dream of running a restaurant made her decide that she would “Spend her 20’s learning about all aspects of a restaurant. The idea was to learn as much as I could before I could start my own place,” tells Kainaz.

Of the three non-hotel management graduates to be selected for the management training programme at the Taj Group of Hotels, she was one. Usually trainees aim for the front desk but Kainaz’s focus was on Food and Beverage service and managing restaurants. She used her time training constructively with the Vietnamese restaurant Blue Ginger in Bangalore and finally as a restaurant manager at Pure in Land’s End, Mumbai learning the ropes. Post her training, she moved to writing about food and after a series of writing stints with TimeOut Mumbai (as an intern) and working with Burrp on a new editorial driven website, she became the Assistant Food Editor at BBC Good Food magazine. BBC Good Food opened up a lot of avenues for her, like access to a test kitchen, experimenting with relatively unknown ingredients, writing about local and sustainable food producers, creating her own recipes and interacting with and interviewing people in the food space from across the world. And this expanded her horizons. … read more on

Tanaz Godiwalla, The Queen Of Parsi Catering

Parsis love food. We’re always talking about it. At breakfast, we discuss what’s for lunch; at lunch, we discuss what’s for dinner; at dinner, we discuss the next day’s menu. While Mumbai’s many Parsi-Irani restaurants are testaments to our deep love for all things gastronomic, there’s no time of year that showcases our love for food better than the months of November to February. That’s how you know them. I know them as ‘lagan-navjote season’.

A ‘lagan’ is a wedding, while a ‘navjote’ is an initiation ceremony, where young Zoroastrians are formally inducted into the religion. But these milestone functions are usually less about the festivities and more about the food

These functions usually take place in a baug, which is really just a large open space conducive to the set-up of row after row of tables and chairs for al fresco dining. There’s also a stage where the bride/groom/host/whoever (no one really cares) spends most of their time sweating under bright lights with smiles frozen in place waiting to greet the well-wishers—no different from the formalities at any community’s wedding.

But, the one person who has everyone’s attention usually sits way at the back, past the rows of tables, almost shying away from everyone. Her name is Tanaz Godiwalla and she is the undisputed queen of catering as far as Parsi functions go. Before the friends are told, the guest list is made, or even the baug booked, Godiwalla is telephoned and informed of the date. As far as modern day figureheads of the dwindling community goes, few names evoke as much familiarity and flavour as hers.


Considering that, and the fact that she caters an average of 150 ‘lagans’ and ‘navjotes’ in December alone, surprisingly little is known about her. She prefers to remain low-key, to keep to herself. So I got hold of her number, told her I’m so-and-so’s son, (always works in the Parsi community, everyone knows everyone) and got an appointment to meet her.

I remember being nervous on my way up in the elevator. I’ve met her at functions many times. But nothing more than a casual, “Hi, I loved the food”, sort of conversation. This was going to be different. I wasn’t meeting her in a social setting. I had been invited to her home, to her private space to chitchat and get to know the real Tanaz Godiwalla. In our world, that’s the equivalent of meeting Nigella Lawson.

Just as I was about to ring her doorbell, staccato thoughts struck me: Oh god, please don’t let her offer me food. I just had lunch. But if she does, how can I refuse? It’ll look rude. She’s a caterer. She’s THE caterer! Refusing to eat her food, even politely, is like being invited to paint with Picasso and saying no. I pushed my thoughts aside and rang the doorbell. She came to the door, shook my hand and guided me in to a large, airy living room. I sat down on the sofa, and after a cup of tea and some light snacks—which I politely declined—we began to chat.

Tanaz’s parents Freny and Rohinton were the ones who set up Godiwalla Caterers. Her sister and brother were also involved in the business. Her sister married and moved away. After the death of her parents and her brother, Tanaz took charge.

Seated across from me in an armchair, Godiwalla says, “I love what I do and I do it with a lot of passion and happiness. Money always follows when you do something with all your heart. So in a way, I’m blessed to be able to do something that I love.”

Click Here for the full interview

Berry Pulao at Umame

Chef Khambata’s kitchen at Umame will create an array of Parsi specialties for Parsi New Year celebrations, including Achar, Saria and Rotli, Patra ni Kolmi, Jardaloo Salli Chicken, Mutton Berry Pulao, Masala Dal and the signature Filo Mille Feuille of Assorted Berries for dessert.

Where: UMAME, Cambata Building, Eros Theatre building, M Karve Road, Churchgate.
When: 18th August
Time: 12.30 pm – 3.30 pm
Price: Rs 1450 (plus taxes)

Easy Malido – Papdi

Here is an easy Malido recipe in time for everyone to make for Muktad days that I am sharing as per requests. Papris are available to buy in the Western world, inbox me for any details – Niloufer Mavalvala


Traditionally served as part of the prayers for the family passed on, the Malido and Papdi was offered as part of the tray of food prayed upon. It was the Presiding priest and his wife and his family that made this often tedious but delicious Parsi sweet dish. Then there was the rich version of it, lots of pistachios and almonds added to it  and many more steps to get there.

Not generally eaten on birthdays and happy celebrations, the Malido is no longer a part of the younger generations must eat list. But as everything evolves, the Zarthostis in the West have decided to come up with an easy yet authentic tasting Malida for everyone tohave easy access too and carry on with their tradition. I got this recipe from an elderly aunt, who does not recall who actually shared this with her, but I have tweaked it ever so slightly and am now sharing it with you to enjoy. I think it is the best option available.

There is more good news on this, the Papdi, that completes the dish is difficult to make but freely available to buy. Interestingly on one of my travels to Spain, sitting at the breakfast buffet I noticed something very similar to the papdi. Their Aceite de Torta; it is PERFECT. Happily I bought back a few to share. A few months later our local supermarket has managed to import it and another bakery replicates it locally. I have been sharing this with others since the past 5 years and I do know you can find the same in the UK, New York and New Jersey, so lets hope it is possible to pick up a few in Texas, California and other places where everyone reading this resides!

Click Here for the recipe



Feast on Parsi Cuisine at the JW Café!

Across Mumbai’s colorful culinary landscape, one cuisine that shines through is Parsi food. Be it dhansak or Sali boti, every Mumbaikar has a Parsi dish that is close to their heart. Over the next ten days, just before the Parsi New Year you can get your fill of Parsi cuisine while revelling in five star luxury at the JW Café at the JW Marriott Sahar in Mumbai.


The JW Café has partnered up with Perzen Patel from the Bawi Bride Kitchen and is hosting a Parsi Food Festival. Until the 18th of August, guests can feast on a range of Parsi dishes such as kheema kebabs and red prawn curry, which are close to Patel’s heart and Parsi classics like dhansak, Patra Ni Machchi and mutton pulao.


So, head over to the JW Café before August 18th to indulge your taste buds! On Parsi New Year (18th August), the festival will finish with limited seating at the chef’s table and a full Parsi wedding feast spread.

P.s Stay tuned for a full feature on the food on offer during the festival!

When: 7:00pm to 11:00pm until August 18th

Price: Rs 1555 +

Contact: 022 28538656


Parsi Food: A Complete Meal


Breakfast of toast n butter,Cheese n bacon will always do,

Along with sunny-side-up eedoo;

Yet nothing to beat aapro sev n’ ravo

Sprinkled generously with mevo

Or eedapak, badampak or vasanoo


Curry n rice is all very nice

With pomfret, meat, bomlas, prawns galore,

I’ll take bomlas, though I love all,

Be it of Goa, Madras or Mangalore.


Aapro dhandaar nay patio

Paitt bhari ne chatio,

Or simply dhandaar n that heavenly dish,

The incomparable patra-fish.


Dhansaak ne kebab

Simply la-jawab.

Khichree n saas with kolmi is the most

Or humble rus chawal

With singh, potatoes n ghosh,

N ’pickle, kuchumber or simple lime

Turn these creations to something divine.


You simply can’t have tea

Without bhakhra, karkarias or popatji,

Or at least chapats hot or creamy oudh

Sprinkled with lots of chironji.

There’s kumas made with toddy,

Or similarly made sadhnas,

Or meva rich kervai,

Made from bananas.


But what really takes the cake

Are the khaman na larva

That mummaiji used to make,

N’ what excites most your gourmet libido

Is mewafull, ghee rich,

Delicious malido.


Masoor ma boocka,

Titori ne boomla sukhkha,

Papeta ma ghosh, kid roast,

And all sort of veggies

With ghosh of course;

But Parsis’ real favourite is – – – -per eeda,

Be it potatoes, tomatoes, bhaaji or bheeda;

Kheema, chicken shreds or brinjal,

Eeda goes rather well with ‘em all.


Chicken mai-vahlan, a dish we make

With more almonds n raisins then a Christmas cake.

Sali ma murghi, pulao daar

Along with savoury lagan nu achaar

Is what makes bearable any man’s life,

After facing a crotchety boss or a nagging wife.




Patia in the Wild West

Washington-based optical and sensor engineer Ryna Karnik self-publishes a book to make bawa cooking accessible to Americans

Four years ago on Christmas, Ryna Karnik gifted her American mother-in-law a booklet of recipes belonging to the Zoroastrian tradition she hails from. Her ma-in-law would rue that what she relished in Karnik’s kitchen, she could never recreate.

Since then, Karnik’s husband, Field Nicholas Cady, who she met at the Physics major programme at Stanford, has been cajoling her to write a cookbook that acquaints Americans with Parsi cuisine.

The 28-year-old optical and sensor engineer with Microsoft, finally managed to self-publish Parsi Cooking at Home last month.

“I grew up in Portland, Oregon. Not having extended family closeby meant that we, women from the immigrant community, raised our kids together. We still meet every Thanksgiving. Half the spread at the table is traditionally American — turkey and stuffing — and the other half is pulao-dal,” says Karnik.

Interestingly, to the list of Parsi staples that make it to her book (pora or traditional masala omelette; kichri, which she calls Parsi Penicillin for the sick; Lagan no saas, a tangy fish gravy served at weddings and salli boti or boneless mutton in tomato-onion gravy sprinkled with vermicelli), she adds north Indian and Maharashtrian specials, tandoori chicken and srikhand, possibly to acquaint readers with all that’s cooking in her kitchen.

“Unlike with North Indian food, American restaurants don’t serve Parsi fare. You get to eat dhansak at get-togethers hosted by Parsi families. Since all ingredients required for Parsi cooking aren’t easily available overseas, I try to mimic traditional flavours by introducing local alternatives, while maintaining the soul of the dish.”

While Parsis in Mumbai love their kaleji-bukka and other offal as much as they do macchi or fish, Karnik experiments with wild meat and local seafood. “Often, my husband and I gather Pacific razor clams from the beach, and add them to the shrimp patia. Rather than goat or lamb, we eat a lot of wild elk, which is tastier and healthier than farmed meat,”
she says.

Since Parsi love to balance the khattu with the mitthu (sour and sweet), wine makes a special appearance in her recipes, together with vinegar, tamarind, tomatoes and lemon.

Having learnt the skills from her mother, Karnik’s first memory of cooking is picking coriander leaves from the garden to make it to the dinner her mother was stirring up. “I still taste my dish at every stage of cooking to check on balance of flavour, just the way she did,” she reminisces.

Way to Ryna’s patia
This is the dish I make when I wish to impress someone. It’s a modified version of the traditional recipe — I use Serrano peppers instead of green chilies, and add a dash of balsamic vinegar — but, as Field will agree, it turns out well.
Traditionally, you make this dish with shrimp (kolmi), but eggplant, whole button mushrooms, tofu and paneer work just as well.


>> 3 medium onions, chopped fine
>> 4 medium tomatoes, chopped fine
>> 1 large Serrano pepper, minced fine
>> 1 large bunch of coriander, chopped fine
>> 2-inch ginger piece, minced fine
>> 10 cloves of garlic, minced fine
>> 1 tsp turmeric
>> 1⁄2 tsp ground cumin
>> 1⁄2 tsp chili powder
>> Salt to taste
>> 1⁄2 tsp grated jaggery
>> 1 tsp tamarind
>> 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
>> 0.5 kg shrimp

>> Heat oil in a large pan or wok until the cumin thrown in sizzles
>> Add onions and cook for 30 seconds. Add garlic, ginger, Serrano, turmeric and chilli powder. Cook for 10 minutes or until onions
are caramelised
>> Add tomatoes and cook until excess water evaporates and mixture turns into a thick paste. Add tamarind, jaggery, and shrimp/mushroom. Cook on slow flame until meat/veggies are tender
>> Sprinkle coriander and add a dash of balsamic vinegar. Serve with rice and toor dal or Parsi khichdi

Bawi Bride @ J W Marriott

Bawi Bride Kitchen Brings Parsi Food Festival to J W Marriott Hotel in Mumbai

Perzen writes

I am very excited to share that this Parsi New Year, the Bawi Bride Kitchen is taking things a notch higher and is partnering with the JW Marriott Sahar to host a 10 day long Parsi food festival from August 8th – 18th. As part of the festivities we will have a special buffet of seven different Parsi items – ranging from family favourites to Parsi classics – every day and will also be hosting a very special Chef’s Table featuring a complete Parsi wedding feast on 18th August.


For bookings to the festival please call: +91 22 2853 8656

For bookings to the Chef’s Table please call: +91 98192 85720


Official Press Release


Indulge in an exquisite Parsi affair from 8th – 18th August, 2015

Mumbai, August 2015: JW Marriott Hotel Mumbai Sahar presents the best of Parsi cuisine during a 10 day food festival to usher in the Parsi New Year from 8th – 18th August 2015. Prepared in collaboration with the Bawi Bride Kitchen, the menu lays down a lip-smacking array of dishes to pamper your taste buds. On a mission to spread happiness through Dhansak, Perzen Patel founded the Bawi Bride Kitchen in July 2013 through which she supplies daily Parsi bhonu, caters for gatherings, parties, pop-up lunches and hosts Parsi cooking workshops. Experience the perfection of Parsi cuisine and its selected recipes, as you indulge in the taste of exclusivity.

Featuring an array of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, the ten day long festival will lay down a delicious array of family favorites and Parsi classics taking guests on a grand journey of this iconic cuisine. Some of the family favorites that Perzen will be dishing out include her Grandpa’s Kheema Kebabs – succulent kheema kebabs made with spiced potato, mince and spices, Shirinbai’s Cheese Eeda Cutlets – a heirloom cutlet dish made using boiled eggs, cheese, chillies and coriander held together in a white sauce and her Mamaiji’s Red Prawn Curry. Also on the menu are Parsi classics like succulent Mutton Dhansak, Saas Ni Machchi, Patra Ni Machchi, Mutton Pulao Kaju Chicken, Lagan Nu Custard and much more.

Commenting on the festival, Chef Vivek Bhatt – Executive Chef, JW Marriott Hotel Mumbai Sahar, said “The Parsi culture is an integral part of the city of Mumbai, food being the centre of traditions. This exquisite food festival at JW Marriott Hotel Mumbai Sahar is a celebration of the Parsi food led by Perzen Patel – who’s a connoisseur in Parsi cuisine.”

To cap off the celebrations, the festival will also feature a limited seat chef’s table on Parsi New Year – August 18th, where Perzen and the chefs at JW Café will dish out a complete Parsi style wedding feast featuring Topli na Paneer, Patra Ni Machchi, Mutton Pulao and much more.

Restaurant: JW Café, JW Marriott Hotel Mumbai Sahar

Date: 8th- 18th August, 2015

Time: 7pm – 11pm

Pricing: 1555+taxes

For inquiries, please contact us on: 022 28538656


About Bawi Bride Kitchen

The Bawi Bride Kitchen is a gourmet food services company specialising in Parsi food. They supply regular Parsi tiffins, organize catering for parties of up to 80 people and also host Parsi Pop-Up lunches and cooking classes. Learn more by visiting

About JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar

JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar opens doors to effortless elegance and sophistication. Located 1 km away from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Mumbai; making it an ideal destination for business and stay. With 585 intimate rooms, the property offers authentic cuisines crafted with passion, care and local flavours. With over 56,000 sq.ft. of indoor and outdoor convention space, the property offers 11 well-appointed meeting rooms with state-of-the-art conferencing facilities. The holistic Spa by JW offers a host of therapies to help you relax. At crafted perfectly so you are always left with the experience and luxury you truly desire.

Visit us online,, @jwsahar

Media Contacts:

Sapna Chadha +91 9820776631

Rohini Sequeira +91 9819383578

JW Marriott Hotel Mumbai Sahar Madison Public Relations