Fish in Sweet and Sour Sauce, Pulao Dal, Kunal Vijayakar Shares – Must Try Parsi Dishes


As Parsi New Year approaches, it has become a ritual for me to write about Parsi food every year. In fact, the Parsis, in their spirit of joie de vivre, celebrate two new years, giving me the curious opportunity to attend double the celebration, with double the food. Such a magnificent meal. So is it my fault that I, over decades of friendship, artfully inserted myself into their gastronomical lives and their families? Today, almost all my friends are Zoroastrian, the ones I am particularly close to are the Brochas, the almost Anglo-Bawa family of Cyrus Brocha. After all, his mother is from Goa and his father is a Parsi. Here I had my first taste of a true fusion of Parisian and Western food. The table was always full of baked dishes, puddings, souffles, bakes, au gratins and meat in brown sauce and fish in white sauce. Like a mother-in-law. Giant slices of pomfret in a sweet-and-sour version of the classic béchamel sauce, zesty and tangy, with green chilies, along with baby tomatoes, to create a flavor like no other. Brocha Ghar also makes excellent frills and cutlass with mince. Or what is also known as Lacy Cutlet or more colloquially “Dadi Wala Cutlass” as these patties made of ground meat with spices, coriander, mint and onion are dipped in egg batter and then deep fried to form a crispy, frilly coating and served with gravy. is . The gravy, however, is nothing more than a classic French tomato sauce with a few spices added.

Then of course there is actor Boman Irani’s family with whom I have been spending many lunches dinners and now holidays too. His wife Zenobia’s cooking is spiced with spices that are brownies. The meat is generous and voluptuous, and her meals can easily be described as hot and heavy. Whatever Zenobia’s kitchen provides is buxom, sumptuous and bountiful and full of meat, fish and eggs. So let me start with the eggs. Starting with the most basic, yet call for art and technique. Charvelu Idu or Scrambled Egg. Soft scrambled eggs slowly cooked with milk, with just a hint of chopped green chillies. Eggs that always taste better with a dollop of butter and, in the winter months, with finely chopped fresh green garlic. To this scrambled egg, if you add spices, fried or spring onion, maybe a tomato, it magically turns into akuri, a creamy, spicy preparation that is often derogatory when it is unforgivably called “bhoorji”. As if one “Akuri” was not enough, other Parsis make two more versions of the classic Akuri; Bharuchi Akuri and Boiled Egg Ni Akuri. Bharuchi Akuri is a nutty version of scrambled eggs, made in ghee, with finely chopped green chillies and crispy fried onions with raisins and dry fruits like cashews and pine nuts. Bharuchi Akuri is a rich, nutty delight served at traditional Parsi weddings.

But Zenobia Irani’s home-cooked feast doesn’t have to wait for the New Year to come and go. Every meal is a feast. Masala Bhija with fried onions and curry leaves, Kolmi Na Kebab (Prawn Kebab), Orgasmic Mutton Pulao with Salli Chicken and Homemade Dal. Pieces of tender mutton, seasoned and cooked in long grain rice, and eaten in a puddle of thick, spicy lentils.

My friend Fali Unwala, a designer and all-round beauty lover, rarely makes her mother’s sweet pulao dal recipe anymore. Mutton pulao, made with sugar and egg, is eaten with brown masala dal with fiery spices. But what it does make is a scrumptiously delicious Bacon Papaya Ma Gosh. Chunks of meat, cooked in ghee, with rashers of bacon, whole spices and dried red chillies.

And my friends who hail from Parsi catering royalty, firstly, Khurush Dalal is an archaeologist, a treasure trove of food knowledge and a leading Parsi caterer in Mumbai. He lovingly holds the gastronomical flag, which was hoisted by his mother, the great Katie Dalal. And this is one place where you can really order good Parsi food during the festivities. Kurush now runs “Katie’s Kitchen” and if I’m in town and not trying to lose weight, he lovingly sends me my Navroz feast. This year also its menu is out. There is patra ni macchi, sali jardalu chicken, mutton pulao dal and for vegetarians there are vegetable cutlets, lagan nu stew, ravaiya and vegetable pulao dal.

And then finally the queen of Parsi catering, Tanaz Godiwala. Its parts are huge as are its heart and hearth. Her recovery dates back generations, that she has turned to perfection. There is no question about what she spreads at Parsi weddings or during festivals. The food is of the highest quality and the highest taste. However, her Parsi Lagan Nu Custard, cooked using the same ingredients and method as the caramel custard, is packed with extra richness like condensed milk, almonds, cashews, nutmeg and cardamom. This pudding is baked unlike caramel custard, which is usually steamed.

Writing this column has added a few kilos to my already hefty frame. I hope the water that has drained from my lips writing this column helps a little.

Kunal Vijaykar is a food writer based in Mumbai. He tweets @kunalvijayakar and can be followed on Instagram @kunalvijayakar. The name of his YouTube channel is Khane Main Kya Hai. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the stand of this publication.

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Cricket at 39° C?! 🥵 Kohli 💥 💥