Dhansak, akuri, berry pulao and lagaan nu bhonu: How well do you know Parsi cuisine?

Jamva chalo ji.’

Stories of how the Parsi community came to the Indian subcontinent are fairly well known by now, as are certain standard aspects of their culture. Parsi cuisine, however, is not as well known as it deserves to be. Beyond the regular salli boti or dhansak, not much is known about the range of dishes and preparations Parsi cuisine has to offer. With influences from Azerbaijani, Kurdish and Turkish cuisines, this under-rated cuisine is one that deserves attention, and appreciation. Here are a few of our favourites:

1. Chicken Farcha at Sodabottle Openerwala, New Delhi

Move over fried chicken; farcha is here. Fried food is a favourite in pretty much every cuisine in the world, and the Parsis are no different. Chicken farcha is the delicious Parsi counterpart to the fried chicken we come across in fast food chains.

2. Dhansak at Dorabjee & Sons, Pune

Arguably the most popular Parsi dish, it’s a typical Sunday lunch preparation. Dhansak is a three-lentil curry made with chicken or mutton and a secret spice mix. Polish it off with a plateful of brown rice.


3. Bheeda Par Eedu at Rustom’s Parsi Bhonu, New Delhi

A dish that brings vegetable and eggs together is sure to be healthy. Bheeda par eedu literally means eggs on okra. Okra is sautéed in spices, then topped with eggs. Yummy and tiny, it’s a great breakfast dish or mid-meal snack!

4. Berry Pulao at Brittania & Co., Mumbai

Berries in a pulao? Even though it may sound unconventional, the berry pulao at Brittania & Co., has attained iconic status. That’s probably because this true blue Persian dish has been adapted to appeal to the Indian palate. This rice, berry and meat ensemble is flavourful yet subtle.

5. Lagan nu Bhonu at Jimmy Boy, Mumbai

If you get invited to a Parsi wedding or ceremony, you’re in for the feast of a lifetime. Lagan nu bhonu literally translates to ‘food at the wedding’. This three- or four-course meal is replete with flavour and is often served on a banana leaf.

Parsi26. Saas ni Machi@Jimmy Boy, Mumbai

A dish meant for celebrations, jashn and ceremonies, it’s also a part of lagan nu bhonu. This Parsi wedding favourite is fish cooked in a white sweet and sour curry emulsion. Saas ni machi is a dense dish, often served with poppadoms or khichri.

7. Jardaloo Salli Murghi at Rustom’s Parsi Bhonu, New Delhi

A thick spicy gravy with a sweet note to it — that’s what the jardaloo salli murghi is. Dried apricots gives this curry the sweet taste that balance the spices and robust consistency. The potato shreds (salli) give it a much needed crunch.

8. Kolmi no Patio at Sodabottle Openerwala, New Delhi

Another under rated dish is the kolmi no patio. Shrimp in thick and spicy tomato gravy are a tangy delight to pair with brown rice.

9. Patra ni Machi at Rustom’s Parsi Bhonu, New Delhi

A wedding favourite, it loosely translates to fish in a leaf. The fish is marinated in a mild spice mix and wrapped in a banana leaf, then steamed. Healthy and delicious, that’s patra ni machi for you.

10. Akuri at Kyani & Co., Mumbai

Eggs have a special place in Parsi cuisine and akuri is a breakfast favourite. It’s the Parsi counterpart of scrambled eggs. Almost runny but not under-cooked, these eggs are made to perfection and served with bread.

Published on Firstpost

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