Parsi food has roots in Persian and Gujarati cuisines. An eclectic mix of nice and spice, hot and sweet, this cuisine is a meat lover’s dream come true.
The cooking involves simple yet diverse ingredients that might not make sense to many but makes complete sense in the dish it is used. Taking you back to history, the ‘Parsis’ also spelled Parsee are descendants of Zoroastrains who fled Iran when Arabs invaded the area in the 17th century.
They immigrated to India and settled along the west coast and that’s the reason that their food has developed a distinct flavor, one that has Maharashtrian, Iranian, Gujarati and British influences.
“We Parsis love to cook food and are obessed with eggs. Many believe that our food is quite similar to Gujarati food but honestly it’s not. Their cuisine is sweeter. However, it’s just few dishes that has sweet curry that’s it. From Irani roots we have borrowed a flare for extravagant feasts,” says Chef Tehmtan J. Dumasia, Pondicery Café, Sofitel, BCK at Parsi Food Festival.
The Parsi garam masala, dhansak masala and sambhar masala are three basic spices that is used by them on daily basis.
With Parsi New Year ‘Navroz’ around the corner, we did some digging and found 5 most popular and traditional dishes that are a hallmark of Parsi cuisine and most commonly cooked and served during festive occasions.
- Patra ni Machchi
This dish is a must on Parsi wedding. Everyone’s favourite Patra ni Machchi is wrapped in a banana leaf and coated with green chutney. It is steamed to perfection and for sure will leave your mouth watering for more.
“On weddings or any special occasion you will always find this dish being served to you. In fact at times it’s difficult if you need to choose between Saas ni Machchi or Patra ni Machchi,” says Chef Shernaz T. Dumasia (smiling).
- Sali par Eedu
From tomato per eedu, bheeda per eedu (okra) to kothnir per eedu (coriander), they can cook anything and everything with egg. However, ‘Sali per eedu’ is the most popular once which is cooked using egg and potato.
“Egg is our favourite there is nothing that we can’t cook when it comes to easy. All you need is egg and potato chip and a Parsi can come up with something delicious and finger licking for sure,” shares Dennis Taraporewala, a dinner at Pondicery Café, Sofitel, BCK at Parsi Food Festival.
- Sali Marghi
This age old dish still manages to make you fall in love with it all over again. Sali Marghi is chicken based dish in which tender meat is wrapped in onion and tomato fiery masala and is topped with crispy fried potato chips.
- Lagan nu Custard
If you are a fan of English custard then this sweet treat is a must try. Cooked using condensed milk, egg, sugar and milk, Lagan nu Custard is laced with cardamom and has subtle hit of nutmeg which gives it a special Parsi feel.
- Parsi Sev
The vermicelli based dessert is cooked on auspicious occasions. Roasted in pure ghee, the vermicelli is sweetended to perfection and garnished with finely chopped nuts that appeals all the sweet tooth.
This Navroz all foodies make it your mission to try out these scrumptious dishes and enjoy the real authentic parsi cuisine.