Farrokh Khambata gets ready to launch restaurant called Jaan in Dubai

When we met Farrokh Khambata a year-and-half ago, it was a day before he launched SoBo’s much-loved Joss in Santacruz. The ever-smiling restaurateur exuded nervous excitement. When we met him at Amadeus last week for a chat, we noticed a similar energy. “I am always excited before a launch. This time, I am taking my first international step in Dubai,” he said, reclining in a chair at the NCPA restaurant, Nariman Point.

This July, Khambata will launch Jaan, a progressive Indian restaurant in Dubai’s Down Town, where the Burj Khalifa stands. “The 6,200-square-feet tapas bar sits on the 31st floor pent house of Sofitel Hotel. On one side, you can see the entire Dubai coastline and on the other, the stunning Burj Khalifa and its water fountain,” says the chef ordering ‘something cool for the garmi.’

To test the waters, he moved into an apartment in Dubai this January. “I spent the first three months working with the awesome ingredients Dubai has to offer. I experimented with Grade 8 Japanese Wagyu from Australia, lamb from the Coonawarra region in Australia, duck from Ireland, white truffle from Italy, Omani lobsters, Brazilian mangoes and even snails,” says Khambata, adding, “I always strive to reinvent the wheel.”

New menu
The menu, which is in the final stages of locking, has a scorpion king roll in Bengali masala, soft shell crabs with leaf tadka and a salmon and Kejriwal egg roll. “I put to use my 15 years’ of expertise as an Indian and Asian chef,” says Khambata, who calls this project one of his toughest challenges. “I didn’t have a base there, so I had to set up a company, get clearances. Thankfully it’s all online and streamlined. Dubai is an unforgiving city if your product is bad. The city pits you against the best.”

International palate
“People in Dubai follow a carnivorous diet, and have a refined taste of high-quality meat. The Indian food scene is almost non-existent, that’s why I chose Indian progressive,” says Khambata, showing us a rendered image of the space. A graffiti wall takes our fancy. “I saw this on the Berlin Wall in Germany and bought the rights to reprint it.”

Closer home
After Dubai, his next stops will be London, Hong Kong and Singapore. Khambata has a few plans for Mumbai too. “In the next two years, I am looking at launching new spaces in Lower Parel, BKC and South Mumbai. Something will come up in Delhi too.”

And, for his India plans, for the first time, Khambata is going the funding way. “That is the only way ahead; we are looking for the right partners in India. Currently, a lot less skill is applied to opening restaurants in India,” says Khambata, comparing it to the realty market five years ago. “First, there were five good builders. Today, we have 5,000. Similarly, Mumbai had barely 10 good restaurateurs 10 years ago.

“The easiest way to run a restaurant is to run a bar with cheap alcohol, but it is a temporary phase. We are going through a saturation phase like London did 20 years ago. For now, I want to create a landmark in Dubai, like Joss did in Mumbai.”

By Phorum Dalal





The perfect all-day breakfast meal,this delicious tomato par eeda recipe is a Parsi speciality. Basically, it consists of a spicy onion and tomato mixture served with a baked egg on top, and is usually accompanied by a serving of matchstick potato fries (sali). To keep my breakfast (which I ate for lunch) super healthy, I skipped the fries. I also substituted the normal soft white pav loaded with butter for some very lightly buttered multigrain bread. The tomato par eeda recipe is delicious enough on its own without needing the extra decadence! Other changes – to add more veggies, I threw in some mushrooms and half a leftover courgette along with the tomatoes to make a more filling lunch. You can try experimenting with your own veggies of choice too!
Here is my version of the tomato par eeda recipe:


First Parsi Restaurant in Dubai – Kebab Bistro


On location at Kebab Bistro

Kebab Bistro specialises in delicious, authentic Parsi cuisine that is rooted in both Indian and Persian culture. It is hugely popular among lovers of great food in Dubai, and for good reason: it was the first Parsi restaurant to open in Dubai.


Parsi favourites like Dhansak and Patra In Macchi on the menu have earned quite the fan following in the city. At Kebab Bistro, everything from the food and decor, to the warm, community vibe, is a testament to the rich Parsi heritage.


We caught up with Kebab Bistro’s proprietor, Oofrish Contractor, to know more about Kebab Bistro, and how Sapaad has helped them optimize their operations.


The proprietors on opening day, dressed in traditional Parsi attire

Tell us a little bit about Kebab Bistro.


We started Kebab Bistro back in 2012. After 26 years in the food industry, it was my husband’s dream to open a restaurant of his own.


We loved this little place in Karama, and started out with Kebabs, Biryani, and Bombay-style Chaat. It was challenging at first, but once we found our niche, we knew we wanted to do more.


Being Parsis ourselves, we wanted to introduce traditional Parsi cuisine to the people of UAE. And that’s how we became the first restaurant in Dubai to serve authentic Parsi specialties.


At Kebab Bistro, we are firm believers in the idea of quality and authenticity. You see those values in the food we offer and in the way we operate our business. So obviously it was very important to us to select a solution that helps us achieve those goals. We knew that we had to find a way to stay connected to our business and keep a close eye on critical operational indicators. We learned while searching for a solution we hoped would suit our goals.


I find the Sales Summary report very impressive. I can access information on total revenue, discounts, category-wise sales, and even monitor my staff’s individual performance. Also, there is practically no after sales service required at all once you get started.

Everything, from the POS screen used by the cashiers, to all the operation screens, such as the home delivery manager, reflect that user-friendliness. It’s great! Overall, IT has been extremely smooth and effective; I can totally vouch for it.


Their signature dish Dhansak: Bone-in mutton cooked to perfection with mixed lentils


We organise a lot of outdoor events and parties, and we’re at several charity events across Dubai. The best part is that it’s incredibly easy to adapt even when we’re operating at these outdoor locations. We can operate from literally anywhere; we’ve even hosted a dinner party in the Arabian desert!


Our Friday lunch buffet “Parsi Lagan nu Bhonu” serves everything you’d typically find at a traditional Parsi wedding.

Try our Sali Boti, Chicken Farcha, Mutton Dhansak, and Lagan nu Custard; it’s a big hit!

Chalo Dubai Jamwa!




Dhansak with goat meat kababs and caramelised rice at Rustom’s Parsi Bhonu

I spent a week with my younger son in Delhi and got back yesterday. One of the culinary highlights of this trip was trying out the cuisine at Rustom’s Parsi Bhonuin South Delhi. With Parsi cuisine I have only had the occasional home-cookeddhansak and the thought of eating home-style food in a restaurant appealed to me.
Parsi food is more famous for its non-vegetarian dishes but the co-owner of the restaurant Kainaz Contractor has introduced vegetarian dishes from time-tested recipes from her family. One is a cauliflower dish that is cooked with coconut milk. But that evening we didn’t try that one out.

Patrani machchi

We started with the Patrani machchi, which was tilapia fish with coriander/mint chutney and steamed in banana leaves. These were little packets from heaven!!
The mains of dhansak with caramelised rice and goat meat kababs along with lentils with some meat pieces was just right.

A bit of the tasty kachumbar can be seen here

According to Wiki, dhansak is a popular dish among the Parsi Zaraostrian community. It combines elements of Persian and Gujarati cuisine. The dish is made by cooking goat meat with a mixture of lentils and vegetables and a combination of spices known as dhansak masala. This is served with caramelised brown rice which is rice cooked in caramel water to give it a typical taste and colour.

Inside the restaurant

We also ordered plain rice with spicy Parsi fish curry in coconut milk but this was a bit of a disappointment as it wasn’t spicy enough for me. But theaccompaniments of kachumbar, prawn pickle and raisins and carrot pickle were absolutely delicious! Kachumbar is the term for a simple onion, cucumber and tomato salad mixed with spices. It goes well with any Indian meal. More ingredients can be added in this side dish.

Accompaniments: (r) raisin & carrot pickle (l) prawn/garlic pickle

My son’s favourite was the Patrani machchi!
Out of the dessert options I chose laganu custard which translates to ‘wedding custard’ and is served at weddings. Made with milk, eggs and nuts, it’s a perfect ending to a meal.

Laganu custard

After the dinner we chatted with Chef Rahul Dua, the other owner of this restaurant. The food, the ambience and the courteous staff …all made it worthwhile. The best part was having a meal that one would have in a Parsi home. So delicious that I’d definitely want to be there on my next visit to Delhi.

UDVADA – Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds – GREAT FOOD!

Lunches are usually a snooze-inducing, elaborate affair after the agiary rituals are over and done with. An Udvada trademark is the boi ni macchi, coated with masala and deep fried, with the crunchy exterior yet soft within. The boi we had this time, was massive, the size of a child’s forearm. You then proceed to a lavish Mutton/Chicken Pulao with masala Dhansak Dal. So delicious and spicy, you’ll need to cool down with Sunta Raspberry after that. I’ve never found the Sunta brand of drinks anywhere except in Udvada.
Udvada during summers means one unfortunate news – no Doodh na puff. This frothy milk based drink topped with spices is a winter delight, and worth making a trip once during the cooler climate.

We dined at the Sodawaterwalla Dharamshala, under a mandap, with a beautiful German Shepherd strolling around the premises. The care-taker of the place, Hoshi uncle personally supervised our meals, insisting we eat more and even packing someChutney Eeda Pattice for us to eat on the drive back. As if, there was any stomach space left for that! The only alcohol you’ll officially find here is neera water – toddy extracted from the palm trees.

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Botiwalla opening tonight at Ponce City Market

If you’ve already run through all the culinary offerings at Ponce City Market — or even if you haven’t — there’s another buzzy spot for you to add to your list.

Botiwalla, from Chef Meherwan Irani, chef de cuisine Daniel Peach and the rest of the team behind the popular Indian restaurant Chai Pani in Decatur, is set to open at 6 p.m. tonight. The menu offers up a variety of botis, a style of Indian street kebab using grilled meats and fish, as well as other Indian fare. The restaurant is working on getting its liquor license.

Photo courtesy Michael FilesPhoto courtesy Michael Files

“Cutting Chai,” a 45-minute documentary that follows Irani as he takes his culinary team to his native India, screened at Ponce City Market last month.

Botiwalla, Ponce City Market, 675 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta. botiwalla.com/




Parsi corner shops

Mar 13 2016 : The Times of India (Mumbai)


Parsi corner shops give city its quick fix of dhansak, kebabs & lagan nu custard



If you have a sudden craving for Parsi cuisine, don’t wait for your pal Khushru to wed Perin at Colaba agiary. Just order some dhansak and kebabs to your Fort office or step off Nana Chowk’s circuitous skywalk and dig in to some lagan nu custard at Belgaum Ghee Depot. The city is dotted with Parsi food stands that sell and deliver a host of community snacks and packed meals.Nergish Sunavala rounds up these hole-in-the-wall eateries.



Established by the Tarapore family in 1947 and named after Pervez, a young relative who died of typhoid, this charitable institute hosted typing classes before morphing into a community eatery , employing poor Parsis, in the 1960s. Today , it is famous for its chicken na farcha with pulpy fries, patrel (Parsi alu vadi) and vasanu, a winter specialty that resembles a spicy, gritty fudge.

A portrait of Pervez as a solemn eight-year-old in a floral frock, hangs near the ceiling. She’s watched generations of colony residents wolf down frilly meat cutlets and badam pak made from pure ghee. On auspicious occasions, the staff cooks all night to meet the demand for their crusty , deep-fried daar ni poris. This item is so popular that one trustee proposed naming the institute’s website “http:www.daarnipori.com“.


Belgaum Ghee Depot | NANA CHOWK

In 1943, Farrokh Workingbox walla’s grandfather set up a depot to sell pure ghee from Belgaum. By 1987, it was converted into a utilitarian eatery selling snacks and confectionaries to the neighbourhood’s Parsis. But the name stuck. Today , traditional Parsi fare like titori, a legume dish, and maledo, an almond-cashew wheat pudding, rub shoulders with chicken tikka and puri bhaji. Among Parsis, it’s customary to throw an egg atop any vegetable and at the depot, customers can choose from egg on potato, tomato or methi.


Roshni Food Point | FORT

Around lunch-time, high court lawyers and judges make a beeline for this hole-in-the-wall eatery off D N Road, famous for its chicken mayo sandwiches and mutton dhansak. It was used to store sandalwood around 235 years ago until in 1947, Viraf Katgara’s father converted it into an electrical store. Its current red-and-white avatar dates back 20 years to when Katgara decided to put family recipes for kid gosh, which is mutton in a white gravy , to good use.


Parsi Amelioration Committee | NANA CHOWK

This nearly 75-year-old institution serves all the usual fare, including mutton kebabs, bhakras and sweet Parsi pancakes or chapats. Established to help poor Parsi women, today all the cooks are non-Parsis. Some of its specialty items include ghari khamun, a coconut pie, and kumas, a Parsi cake. Lassie, a stray dog, has adopted the eatery and judging from her girth, she seems to enjoy their food.



Started by three friends in 2014, this eatery, located in a revamped outhouse, is frequented by youngsters who lounge on the porch snacking on mutton botis. Public demand forced the owners to also serve Parsi lunches like chicken ras chawal and prawn saas (prawns cooked a tangy sauce) with khichri. Last year, during wedding season, caterer Tanaz Godiwalla came on board and the café stocked select items like her celebrated pulav daar and saas ni machhi. Proprietress Jehan Nargolwala says, “No community gives as much importance to food as the Parsis.“




Source : http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31804&articlexml=Parsi-corner-shops-give-city-its-quick-fix-13032016010029#


Finding Happiness In A Bowl Of Prawn Curry

prawn curry1Every family has their own version of prawn curry. Photo: Perzen Patel

A lesser-known fact about Parsis is that more families have traditions about their prawn curry than they do about the talked-about dhansak.

As a child, my Mamaiji made her prawn curry for me every Saturday when I visited her along with a big bowl of the kachubar (onion salad) that used to be kept aside exclusively for me. I loved her curry so much, that once when I was sitting on her lap and she asked me what I wanted were she ever to pass away; I innocently told her that all I really wanted was a big, never-ending bowl of her curry that I could always have and remember her by – an admission my stomach is most shameful about.

Not all Parsi kids grow up enjoying curry though. Food and travel blogger, Roxanne Bamboat of The Tiny Taster fame admits that as a child she would turn up her nose at curry, and demand a plate of dhandar or kheema instead. However, as her palate evolved, she too started enjoying the family tradition of Sunday curries – her weekend Instagram feed is a testimony to this tradition. Roxanne admits to being impartial and loving all sorts of Thai, Goan and Malaysian curries, but she brought a smile to my face when she said that despite tasting many curries as part of her job, her favourite was still the Parsi prawn curry.

While prawns is the best accompaniment to a curry, some Parsis prefer adding chicken or mutton to it, and that radically changes the taste of the curry. My friend, Zenia who blogs as the Branded Bawi remembers eating chicken curry as part of the free lunches Parsis were entitled to at the Avabai Petit School mess. Sadly, the mess used to make the curry so bland and watery that she grew up hating it. It’s only when her aunt made her a bowl of prawn curry a few years ago that she realised what the real deal tastes like and became a convert.

prawncurry3The Sunday curry is every Parsi’s favourite. Photo: Roxanne Bamboat

Grandma’s and Aunt’s weren’t the only safe keepers of good curry, and for food author Nicole Mody, her favourite version of the curry came from the family’s Goan cook. It was the first dish she learnt how to cook (I feel shameful admitting mine was white rice!) and for her prawn curry is the ultimate comfort food, which can be enjoyed any time of the day, be it 3 in the morning or 4 in the evening.

In a way, prawn curry is like the black sheep of Parsi food. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen it feature at a Parsi wedding, or even being served at a Parsi restaurant. There, the only dishes reigning supreme are the Sali Jardaloo Chicken and Pulao Dar. I remember as a kid, my friend D opted for prawn curry instead of mutton pulao for her Navjote. And, while the cranky old Parsi aunties were scandalised at not being served pulao, I remember pigging out on serving after serving of Godiwala’s curry complete with king-sized prawns.

Like dhansak, every family has their heirloom curry recipe, but if I’ve made you hungry for some Parsi curry, here’s a great version you can try. For this recipe, you will get optimal results with the best slow cookers, the tenderness achieved over time is the goal!

Recipe for Parsi prawn curry


For the curry masala

1/2 fresh coconut chopped into pieces

1 tsp poppy seeds

1 tsp white sesame seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp coriander seeds

50 gm raw peanuts

30 gm chopped cashews

10 cloves of garlic

15 dried Kashmiri chilies

3 small tomatoes chopped

For the prawn marinade

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp red chilly powder

½ tsp salt

For the curry

350 gms of prawns shelled and de-veined but with tails on

2 tbsp wheat flour

2 tbsp cooking oil

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp red chilly powder

1 tsp curry powder

2 large potatoes quartered

Salt to taste


  1. Before you make the curry masala, accumulate everything you will need onto one plate. This makes life easier once you start roasting and grinding.

  2. Once ready, dry roast all the seeds, peanuts, and cashews until their aroma starts wafting in the kitchen.

  3. Now, blend the seed mixture along with the coconut, garlic, chilies and tomatoes adding water as needed to make a thick paste. Keep grinding until you have a fine paste.

  4. While grinding the masala, you also need to marinate about the prawns in a turmeric, red chilli powder and salt marinade and set aside for about half an hour.

5.Once this is all ready, in a crockpot add some oil and fry the wheat flour making sure no lumps remain. Add in the curry masala and sauté for about 5 mins until the wheat flour is mixed well into the masala, and it no longer sticks to the sides of the crockpot.

  1. Next, add the turmeric, red chilli and curry powder along with water into the crockpot to get the curry to the right consistency. Ensure that you don’t put too much water. Add in 3-4 chopped potatoes into the crockpot and let the curry simmer for 20 – 25 minutes. When the potatoes are cooked, add in the prawns and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

  2. Enjoy the curry hot along with steamed rice, kachubar and lemon juice.


The evolution of Kyani and Co.


The story of how the more innovative and adaptive of Indian businesses took on their famous foreign rivals after economic reforms were introduced

When burger chain McDonald’s came to town 20 years ago, exciting the city of Mumbai in the first flush of post-liberalization consumer boom, it worried Farokh Shokriye.

As the man who would later take over Mumbai’s oldest Irani cafe, Kyani & Co., Shokriye wasn’t sure if his humble Parsi chicken patties and traditional mawa cakes would withstand the competition from the mighty Big Mac.

They did—and that’s the story of how the more innovative and adaptive of Indian businesses took on their famous foreign rivals after economic reforms were introduced a quarter of a century ago.

Shokriye, who had worked at the beer company London Pilsner for more than a decade, didn’t plan on a life with Kyani and Co., established in 1904 by Iranian (known in India as Parsis) immigrants and operated by his family.

n 2000, Shokriye, then 40 years old, found himself at a crossroads. He could either migrate abroad—like most of his family—or continue his family’s legacy by taking over the Kyani cafe.

“I had plans to migrate abroad to settle down with my family in New Zealand. But somewhere down the line it dawned upon me that that would be very selfish on my part. All my cousins had left for the US; me and a cousin were the only ones left. My father and uncle were in their late 70s and his (father’s) health was also failing.

“The option was to go abroad and forego everything here—forego India, forego the shop, forego the legacy, be a little selfish. Or take over the business and grow. I took a call and thought it would be better if I settled down here in Mumbai and carried on.”

And so it was that Shokriye found himself running the Kyani cafe, a south Mumbai establishment whose high ceilings and period furniture evoke the charm and nostalgia of a bygone era.

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Chikoo festival at Dahanu

As you maybe aware, numerous festivals are celebrated across India on religious grounds; but only a handful commemorating or celebrating places. With this in mind we the natives of Dahanu (in the Northern Konkan) kick started our very own annual festival back in 2013.

Scheduled for the 6th and 7th of February, 2016 (Sat-Sun), The Chikoo Festival highlights all what Dahanu is about- its forested hills, pristine beaches and the world famous Chikoo orchards.  This two day long carnival on Bordi beach will showcase troops of local dancers and will offer workshops in Warli painting, basket weaving, kite making and also snake catching. A flea market selling local produce should spoil visitors with choice while food-stalls offering local delicacies will leave ones taste-buds tingling. Tourists can participate in the local treasure hunt (exploring the town), or opt for a farm safari. They can also party post Sundown at the hill-top Yo-Yo Bash.  Once the weekend ends, Dahanu should see visitors off with baskets of Chikoos, Star-fruits, Grape-Fruits and bucket loads of memories to cherish.

Dahanu-Bordi is located 280 kms from Pune and 150 kms from Mumbai, accessible both by road and rail. Being a non-profit initiative, there is no entry fee however individual activities are chargeable in order to cover costs.  For further details please visit- www.chikoofestival.com . The itinerary of the same is annexed with this mail. Looking forward to seeing you and your loved ones.

On behalf of Team Chikoo Fest,

Farzan Mazda.

Co Convener, INTACH Dahanu Chapter.

+91 9673596996.