Where to head if you wish to discover the community’s cuisine, on their New Year or Navroze
Let’s face it. With the community being just around 1,000-strong in the city, there’s a good chance that some of us might not have a Parsi friend in the loop. But if you are a ‘foodie’ (and a non vegetarian at that) you ought to know that their cuisine is something the Parsis take very seriously. With sparing use of masalas, they believe in letting the flavours of the meats and vegetables shine. A few options, if you crave a feasting.
The Raintree, Anna Salai
In celebration of Navroze (today), executive chef Hushmoin Patell, who is a Parsi himself, has declared a three-day festival called Jamva Chaloji, starting today. Translating to ‘come let’s eat’, this festival at The Kitchen features a host of specials typical of a Parsi celebration. At a sneak preview, we get to pick his brains about the nuances of the cuisine. “We love our meats, and pieces have to be proper pieces,” he says, pointing to the murgi na farcha (whole chicken breast and thigh, deep fried after a generous coating of egg). “We use a lot of egg too,” he points to the bahji par eeda, “It is just spinach steamed with a whole egg on it.
” It is quite common to do this with other vegetables too, we learn, as we try the mutton cutlets, again coated with egg. “Soup is non existent. We have dry items and our gravies. And fish for us, has to be Bombay duck or pomfret,” he shares, as we split the patra ni macchi (pomfret wrapped in a banana leaf, with a coriander and coconut masala, and steamed). And as far as masalas go, we find the gravies making use of onions, tomatoes and red chillies, as opposed to the garam masalas used in most other styles. “For dessert, it’s the lagan nu custard or custard of the wedding,” the chef signs off. For dinner at Rs. 1,050 plus tax. Details: 43939999
The Yellow Chilli
The franchise of chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s signature restaurant is owned by Shazad Mogrelia, a Parsi, and has a few signature Parsi dishes on their ‘TYC Exclusive Menu’ that has to be booked at least 48 hours in advance. From the ever popular mutton dhansak (lamb in an assortment of lentils and vegetables, with brown rice) to staples like the patra ni macchi and margi na farcha, they have all the favourites covered. Do try the khatti metti sali botti (Rs. 480) that has lamb and potato cooked in an onion and tomato gravy, sprinkled with potato crisps. Details: 49101049
■ Ask any Parsi in the city about a caterer and they recommend Mahiar Shroff of Delkhush Delicacies. While his rendition of Parsi pulao, sali marghi, vegetable stew and dhansak are loved among the community, their biryani is a hit across the city. Though he does not do the famous lagan nu custard, he offers ravo (a rava-based dessert) and sev dahi (fried vermicelli in curd) for the sweet toothed. Two non vegetarian dishes, two starters and one sweet would cost Rs. 350 per head. Details: 25956841
■ Kushnoor Dalal, who has been catering for over six years now, generally does Indian and Continental food. But on request, she takes orders for a veg and non veg dhansak and Parsi chicken, mutton and fish/prawn curries. “Our curry is different in texture and taste as we do not use any tamarind. It is a blend of tomato puree and coconut,” she shares, adding that she requires at least two days notice. The chicken gravy is priced from Rs. 700 onwards for six people. Details: 9841070717
The Verandah, Vivanta by Taj Connemara
In addition to the creamy mutton dhansak, patra ni macchi, sali boti and lagan nu custard, the all-day diner at Vivanta by Taj Connemara also has a breakfast staple, akuri. Nothing but scrambled eggs with mild spices, this dish is enjoyed with breads, buns or rotis. From Rs. 450 plus tax onwards. Details: 66000000