- Cafe Military
- DPYA’s snack Center
- By The Way
- Ideal Corner
Click Here for the full reviews
Click Here for the full reviews
But then something unexpected happened. Perzen Patel (caterer, blogger at Bawibride.com and one of the participants) started tweeting about her trip earlier this year. “Lunch today was at the WZO dharamshala in Sanjan, the bustling port where our ancestors landed,” read one of her tweets. “Most people buy bangles, sudrehs or religious items as souvenirs from Navsari. This BawiBride buys vinegar coz food is religion!” read another one.
But it was the group’s visit to Surat’s Dotivala Bakery that really tickled their palate. It dates back to 1616, when the region was under Dutch control. Yearning for a taste of home, the colonizers set up a bakery and employed five Indians to run it. The English eventually ousted the Dutch, but one of the bakers, Faramji Dotivala, continued baking bread. Sales, however, dropped. Perhaps it was too expensive? And then a strange thing happened: The bakery began to notice a demand for days-old dry bread, which sold for less. Over time, it morphed into the rusk-dry Irani biscuit. In its wake came the Surti batasa (a flaky, buttery round biscuit flecked with cumin) and the sweet nankhatai.
While most delegates went to the Navsari fire temple, two group members—Patel and Arzan Wadia (another Zororoots founder and trip organizer)— stole away to Yazdan. “I had the kesar pista and the gulkand ice-creams, both of which were fantastic. With the gulkand, you don’t get the sharpness of rose essence, and you can actually bite down on crushed petals,” says Patel. With its bare tiled walls, graceless furniture and steel utensils, Yazdan lacks old-world allure, but there’s no diluting the scrumptiousness of the ice cream.
As many of you know I love travelling, especially culinary based travel. The idea of exploring a new place through its food sends butterflies buzzing in my tummy.
But, after a few weeks of said gluttony the Bawi me starts craving for her plate of Dhandar – plain yellow toor dal served in a simple tadka of ghee, garlic and jeera. The thought of this creamy dal served on a bed of steamed white rice alongside some E.F. Kolah’s spicy Methiu (mango) Achaar generally has me salivating for most of my return journey home.
However, there are days when you want something a bit fancy with your Dhandar. For those days we have Patio.
The Parsi Patio at its very basic is a sweet, sour and slightly spicy seafood accompaniment featuring coriander seeds, jeera, garlic, jaggery and cane vinegar. Why is the dish called Patio and not a curry or masala? Well, that’s because this dish was historically made in the ‘patio tapeli’ – a unique utensil that is wide and flat at the bottom with bulging round sides.
There are heaps of different Patio dishes like this Lagan no Patio I’ve written about before. We also have a Pumpkin Patio for the vegetarians as well as a Tarapori Patio for the fish lovers. But, the Tatrelo Kolmi (Prawn) Patio is the easiest to make of all and can be ready to serve in under 10 minutes. Here’s how you can make it – ingredients at the bottom as always.
Marinate the prawns in turmeric, red chilli powder and salt; keep aside. While this marinates, finely chop the onion.
Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic paste and chopped onion; let it brown
Add the chopped chilles and dhana-jeera powder and mix until well combined
Tip in the pureed tomatoes and jaggery mixing everything well. Don’t add any water to the pan, and let it cook uncovered so that the moisture released from the tomatoes dries out. After about 3 – 4 minutes, add in the chopped tomatoes as well and let everything cook.
When the tomato has reduced – you want a thick consistency with very little gravy – add in half the coriander, vinegar and the prawns. Cover the pot and let it cook for five minutes.
Take off the heat and add in the rest of the coriander as garnish. Serve hot with Dhandar or by itself with some yellow Khichdi and Far-Far Sariya or if you’re not a rice lover then just atop a bowl full of the dar.
500 gm prawns (about 20) shelled and de-veined but with the tail on
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp dhana jeera powder
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic paste
2 tbsp oil
2 green chillies finely chopped
6 tomatoes (4 pureed and 2 finely chopped)
1 inch knob of jaggery
2 tbsp cane vinegar (can replace with white vinegar if unavailable)
Big handful of chopped coriander
Her unbridled love for food, passion for her lineage and enthusiasm to share anecdotes only a Parsi can ever tell you over a meal, led Perzen Patel to set up the food-centred Bawi Bride
Perzen Patel’s story recalls bits and pieces of the acclaimed movie, Julie & Julia, where a young, married city girl takes up a unique cooking challenge and blogs about it. The 28-year-old founder and ‘chief tasting officer’ of Bawi Bride recounts her journey to every Parsi’s paradise.
Eating food and feeding food runs in my DNA. My maternal grandmother, whom I loving called mamaiji, ran a Parsi dabba service before I was born. At the age of 15, I knew I wanted to do something in life related to food, so we moved to New Zealand for nine years, where I studied hospitality and marketing and when my mom sold kebabs and pattice.
I came to be known as the ‘continental chef’—someone eager to whip up dips, pastas and baked dishes—so much so that for my wedding lunch, rather than having the traditional Dhandar Patio, my parents requested I cook nachos.
Six months into getting married and moving to Mumbai, I realised I’d have to learn some Parsi cooking. Especially since I had married a blue-blood Parsi, who loved his Dhansak and Patra ni Machchi.
I was always on secret calls to mom in New Zealand at midnight! I found barely any trusted resources online to learn Parsi food. Given the rate at which Irani cafes are dying out, I worried that soon the history and stories behind Parsi food would be lost, if nobody did anything about it.
So, Bawi Bride started as an attempt to document my quest into mastering Parsi food and restoring it back to its former glory. I coined the term to fit my lineage and my status as a ‘newly minted bride’. A month into the journey, #BawaGroom and my readers convinced me that simply writing about Parsi food wasn’t enough and that I should start feeding it to others too. So I started with weekend special menus, which grew to a full catering menu. Later in 2014, we hosted our fist pop-up experience.
Bawi Bride has grown into a full-fledged business! I cater for anywhere between four to 70 people, plan Parsi pop-ups at my almost-century old Mumbai home, conduct personalised one-on-one cooking classes, and offer daily Parsi meal service (where no single dish is repeated within a month!).
Most of these recipes are theirs but I trust Katy Dalal’s Jamva Chaloji and my newest favourite is Time and Talent Millennium, a compilation of over 300 Parsi and ‘continental’ recipes cooked by Parsis that were originally contributed at a book club.
Well, I am not a professionally trained chef, so, everything I’ve learned is trial and error. But that’s also been a lot of fun and has resulted in many great innovations—the Lagan nu Custard ice cream was a result of an overdone custard while the Sali Boti Pizza came from having no idea about appetites and making about two extra kilograms of the dish.
I wouldn’t say there’s any one single success story because I enjoy each day in the kitchen. If I had to pick one, it would be the look in the eyes of my guests, when they have their first bite of a Dhansak—that makes it all worth it.
Hopefully further exploring the Quick Service Restaurant space, investing more into operations and being able to host Parsi pop-up experiences in other cities besides Mumbai.
I love cooking, eating and feeding my mamaiji’s Prawn Curry Rice, Dhandar and Lagan no Patio, Boomla’s (Bombay Ducks) and my grandpa’s Kheema Kebabs.
Don’t cook when you’re upset.
I follow a recipe to the T the first time I try it. Of course you’re going to amend it as you go along, but it’s important that the first time, I understand the vision and stay true to the chef who developed the recipe.
My mom and my mamaiji have greatly influenced me. My paternal grandfather taught me how to buy the best fish and that it’s okay to travel a distance to get good produce and ingredients.
Parsi cuisine is heavily influenced by the foods of Iran and Gujarat, both places where the community has lived in for over 800 years. Their love for mutton and dry fruits comes from their Iranian lineage, while liking fish and everything sweet yet sour at the same time, comes from living in Gujarat, so close to the coast.
If you’re looking for a hearty meal, the best place for one will always be at someone’s house. Patel suggests Kyani for breakfast and snacks. For lunch, Ideal Corner or check out the Bawi Bride Kitchen.
Get in touch with Bawi Bride:
Chance are these days given the love for a plate of spicy kheema in my household, there are never any leftovers but if there every were I would still use to them to make a delicious meal with Indian dishes being my inspiration. My mother made a few things with leftover kheema that are probably my favourite dishes to eat.
She always made the best parathas ever! And I always loved when leftover kheema was stuffed in paratha with lots of coriander and chillies, fried in butter and served at breakfast. Although one of the other dishes I remember was Kheema per eeda; simply put spiced minced lamb simmered and topped with fried eggs. The joy of mopping the plate with the minced lamb gravy and the runny eggs is seconds to none.
It’s a Parsi addition to our thriving regional meal, and there are other variations too including one with potatoes which are a breakfast staple in my home. I make Kheema per eeda if I have leftover minced lamb although it doesn’t stop me from cooking minced lamb just so I can make it either! The recipe for kheema is a really simple one with not too many spices but super delicious. At the end of the cooking process crack the eggs over the simmering gravy and let them cook. Served with chapatti and some salad this breakfast (or lunch!) addition is one that will always have you coming back for more.
Click Here for the ingredients and the recipe
I am sure Parsis can think of more !!
Zarin’s Secrets, is a venture started by me through which I am trying to revive old Parsee recipes. I have with me, my grand mothers old recipes for Home Made Authentic Masalas as well as Bhakras , chutney for Patra ni Machi , Kolmi No Achchar, Gajar meva nu achchar, Kachi keri no Murabbo and Gor papri to name a few.
My aim is to keep adding to the repertoire…. In the Masalas, I sell Parsee Dhana Jeeru masalas, Parsee Sambhar masalas, Dhansaak Masalas and Parsee Curry masalas. All masalas when sold are given along with a recipe of the dish whose masalas you have bought. The idea is to make easy Parsee cooking even easier and take it straight to your kitchen.
It is obvious by now that I am quite the mummy’s girl. No matter what the problem, I’ve found that my mom always has a way of getting us through it – cliched as that sounds! However, I realised that I had not yet shared the story of how my mum’s Kheema Cutlets got us through one of our greatest adventures as a team. So, on Mothers’ Day, here’s the story of Mummy and her Kheema Cutlets.
When we emigrated to NZ, my mom and I didn’t have much. While we had brought with us our life savings, it wasn’t a lot and soon the pressure of mum not yet finding a job started taking its toll. We had a small home and while we had bought a bed there was no microwave, no sofa and no TV. We had moved to NZ in winter and there was nothing to distract us from the sound of the cold wind seeping in through the window cracks except each other’s company.
We each hid from the other how miserable we were and kept at it. Going back to India wasn’t an option – we only had enough for 1 person’s ticket – and at one point we were worried if we would make next month’s rent. To ensure this didn’t happen, Mom started cooking food at an Indian couples house while I took up a part time job stocking shelves at the local dairy on weekends.
A couple of weeks later, Mom found out that the local Parsi organisation was having a function and the Indian couple suggested that she should have a small food stall there. Having never done something like this, both Mom and I were nervous but decided to give it shot. We decided to sell Kheema Cutlets and Pav – a Parsi version of the Kiwi Sausage Sizzle. The stall was a runaway hit – we sold off all the 200 cutlets we made and both of us were pleasantly surprised. With our first profits, we bought a microwave for the home.
Mom had a job by this point but we continued with the Cutlets making. And, with the next few stalls came a TV, a second hand sofa, a showcase. Soon – the entire house was furnished with the money we made from selling Mummy’s Kheema Cutlets.
It wasn’t easy making 200 cutlets at a time – we both used to marinate the meat until late at night, wake up at 4am on the day of the event and fry till the entire house was filled with the aroma of Cutlets. Both of us dreamt of Cutlets and having fried so many weekend after weekend we could barely stand the taste of eating one, delicious as they were.
Mom finally stopped making them when I graduated from school and started University. There’s a lot of things my mom has done for me since then as well but I’ll never forget those days. Her Cutlets got us through that first difficult year in a new country and gave me a better life. Her Cutlets made me a confident sales woman and taught me the value of working hard. And ironically, her Cutlets gave me the confidence to turn to food when I moved to a new country myself.
Happy Mothers’ Day Ma – I would not be half the woman I am today without you.
And now, here’s her recipe for making them at home – ingredients below the post as always!
Chop the coriander and chillies finely, wash the meat and marinate it with all the spices.
Soak the bread slices or the brun bread in water for a few mins. Squeeze out all the water and add the mushed bread to the mixture. Mix well and let this marinate ideally overnight or atleast for 30 minutes.
When you are ready to fry the Cutlets, remove the marinated meat from the refrigerator and let it come back to room temperature. Taking a small chunk roll it into a smooth ball and then flatten it into a Cutlet with the palms of your hand. In a separate bowl, whip up the eggs and also start heating the oil in a frying pan. Coat each Cutlet in rawa and then the whipped eggs before lowering it into the oil.
Once the Cutlets is browned on one side, gently turn it over and let it cook another couple of minutes. The bread in the mixture will make your Cutlets rise – this is a good thing!
Once they are cooked, remove them from the oil and let them drain on a plate covered with paper towels.
Serve the cutlets hot with roti or bread and some tomato ketchup
1/2 kg Kheema
2 tsp Red chilli and Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
Salt to Taste
3 x Slices of Bread or 1.5 Brun Bread
1/2 bunch Coriander
2 Chillies chopped
2 Eggs whipped
Oil for Frying
Tikka, Tikki & Spicy Bites- our new ebook featuring a global twist on Indian kebabs, tikka, chutneys and more, is out this weekend. (And doing quite well so far!)
With summer and the holidays coming up, this is one book you’ll enjoy using. Feel free to share this with friends who like Indian food too.