That’s how we Parsee!

, Food

Discover the Iranian roots of the Navroze spread with Madhulika Dash

01Thanks to former Tata Steel CMD Russi Mody and his famous 18-egg-omelette, Parseecuisine’s introduction to the uninitiated often is: “They break an egg on everything.” But the truth is far from that. Kainaz Messman, owner of the Mumbai-based restaurant Theobroma, says the reason egg forms such an integral part of the Parsee food culture is that back in the day, vegetables were rarely found in Iran. They only discovered vegetables when trade brought them to Navsari in Gujarat. Using egg in a vegetable dish was a

way of making it their own. But Parsee cuisine, says Mehernosh Khajotia, owner of Mumbai’s Celebrations Fine Confections, is largely either a modernised version of traditional Iranian food or a blend of Gujarati, Chinese and English tastes. And the one festival that brings these two disparate threads together is Jamshedi Navroze. Not to be confused with the Parsee New Year in August, this is an “Iranian festival of welcoming spring.”

The day, however, begins the same way, with prayers offered at the fire temple. But giftgiving and prayers aside, the highlight of the festival is its food. And no, there is no dhanshak, but dhan dar patio, essentially yellow dal with garlic and cumin, steamed rice and prawn in tomato and onion gravy. This, in fact, sayschef Anahita Dhondy of SodaBottleOpenerWala, a popular Parsee-cuisine chain across the country, “is a dish made on every special Parsee occasion. Dhan, or rice, is worth its weight in gold for a Parsee, playing an integral role in prayers and other rituals.”

“Ravo, a sweet semolina milk pudding with dry fruits, is made for breakfast, along with specials such as sali boti, dal-pulav and either tareli macchi – shallow-fried fish in Parsee spices – or patra ni macchi – steamed fish with green coconut chutney wrapped in banana leaves. The meal ends with dessert of sev and mithu dahi – panfried vermicelli with dry fruits and sweet curd,” Dhondy adds. “If you happen to visit a Parsee home on this day, instead of celebratory sweets, expect falooda with rosewater and basil. All this, of course, is washed down with a few bawa pegs.”

So Navroze Mubarak and happy eating!

— Some references in the article are from the book Parsi Food and Customs by BJ Manekshaw.

01A Special fare
In Udvada, Gujarat,enjoy lesser-known dishes such as Parsee khichri served with the special sas – much like raita, only thicker – made of cabbage, kokum, tamarind, jaggery and mince; boomla seera paila (a sweetened fish dish) and tari ma tarkari no soup (a vegetable and meat soup); and cutlets made of custard and murumba (pickle) along with mawa boi, a milk-based sweet shaped like a fish.

Twin fests
Jamshedi Navroze is celebrated in March, between 19 and 21, marking the Iranian New Year and the beginning of spring. Parsee Navroze marks the Parsee New Year and is celebrated in August.

Festive feast
The credit for Navroze becoming a gourmet event goes to malai pe eeda – egg on thick malai – and dal ni poori – a pastry stuffed with sweetened dal, tutti frutti and dry fruits. In fact, a traditional breakfast on this day would include ghee gor naiida – scrambled eggs, with ghee and jaggery – and popal jee, a sweet fried snack like a doughnut served with milky tea.


ikjlh O;atu!

e/kqfydk nk’k uojkst+ dh bZjku ls tqM+ha tM+ksa ds laca/k esa tkudkjh iznku dj jgh gSaA

01kqØ gS VkVk LVhy ds lh,eMh :lh eksnh ,oa 18 vaMksa ls cus muds e’kgwj vkWeysV ds dkj.k os yksx ikjlh dwt+hu ds ckjs esa tku ik, tks vdlj dgrs Fks% ^^os gj pht+ esa vaMs Mkyrs gSaA** lPpkbZ bl dFkuh ls dkQ+h fHkUu gSA bl ckjs esa eqacbZ fLFkr jsLrjka fFkvksczksek dh ekyfdu dk;ukt+ esleSu us crk;k fd vaMksa dk bLrseky ikjfl;ksa dh ikd laLd`fr dk vfHkUu vax cuus dk dkj.k ;g Fkk fd ^^izkphudky esa bZjku esa lfCt+;ka de gh feyrh FkhaA os lfCt+;ka rHkh ysrs Fks tc dkjksckj ds flyflys esa xqtjkr ds uolkjh ’kgj vk;k djrs FksA lfCt+;ksa dks viuh ilan dkLokn nsus ds fy, gh os muesa vaMs feykrs FksA** eqacbZ fLFkr lsfyczs’kal Q+kbu daQ+sD’kal uked jsLrka ds vksuj esgjuks’k [kktksfV;k ds vuqlkj ikjlh dwt+hu ;k rks ikjaifjd bZjkuh [kkus dk O;kid Lrj ij vk/kqfud otZ+u gS vFkok xqtjkrh] pkbuht+ ;k vaxzst+h Lokn dk feJ.k gSA te’ksnh uojkst+ ,d ,slk ioZ gS tks bu nksuksa i`Fkd ijaijkvksa dks ,d lw= esa fijksrk gSA bls vxLr esa vk;ksftr gksus okyk ikjlh uoo”kZ le>us dh Hkwy u djsa cfYd ;g ^^olar dk Lokxr djus okyk bZjkuh ioZ gSA**

;|fi ;g ioZ Hkh mlh dh Hkkafr euk;k tkrk gSA yksx Q+k;j VsEiy tkdj izkFkZuk djrs gSaA migkj nsus ,oa iwtk djus ds vykok bl ioZ dh fo’ks”krk bldk [kkuk gSA bl nkSjku ^/kku’kkd* ugha vfirq ^/kku nkj iSVhvks* vfuok;Z :i ls [kkrs gSaA blesa yglqu ,oa thjs ls cuh ihyh nky] mcys pkoy rFkk VekVj o I;kt+ dh rjh esa cus izkWu gksrs gSaA fnYyh esa ikjlh&dwt+hu dh e’kgwjJ`a[kyk lksMkckWVyvksiujokyk ds ’ksQ+ vukfgrk /kksaMh bl laca/k esa crkrs gSa] ^^ikjfl;ksa ds gj fo’ks”k volj ij ;g O;atu vfuok;Z :i ls cuk;k tkrk gSA ikjfl;ksa ds fy, /kku vFkok pkoy lksus dh gh Hkkafr cgqewY; gksrk gSA fdlh Hkh iwtk&vpZuk ,oa vU; vuq”Bkuksa esa pkoy dh Hkwfedk vfuok;Z gksrh gSA**

mUgksaus crk;k] ^^ikjlh bl fo’ks”k fnu ^lkyh cksVh]* nky iqyko ,oa ikjlh elkyksa esa cuh mFkyh ryh gqbZ eNyh ^rkjsyh ePNh* vFkok gjs ukfj;y dh pVuh ds lkFk dsys ds iŸks esa fyiVh mcyh eNyh ^irjk uh ePNh* tSls yt+ht+ O;atuksa ds lkFk uk’rs esa lwth] nw/k ,oa lw[ks esoksa ls cuh ehBh iqfMax ^jkoks* Hkh cukrs gSaA bl ehy ds var esa ^lso ,oa ehBq ngh* Mst+VZ [kkrs gSa tks lw[ks esoksa ,oa ehBh ngh ds lkFk cuh iSu&ÝkbM ofeZlsyh gksrh gSA** mUgksaus ;g Hkh tkudkjh nh] ^^bl fo’ks”k fnu vki vxj fdlh ikjlh ds ?kj tkrs gSa rks vkidks mRlo dh feBkb;ksa ds ctk; xqykc ty ,oa rqylh ds lkFk ^Q+kywnk* [kkus dks feysxkA cs’kd bu lHkh Lokfn”V O;atuksa dks gyd ls mrkjus ds fy, vkidks dqN ckok isx feysaxsA

vr% lHkh dks uojkst+ eqckjd ,oa Hkkstu dk vkuan ysa!

bl vkys[k esa ch ts ekusd’kkW }kjk fyf[kr fdrkc ^ikjlh QwM ,aM dLVEl* esa ls dqN lanHkZ fy, x, gSaA

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