Parsi food has roots in Persian and Gujarati cuisines and much of the food is a meat-lovers dream come true. Most Parsi vegetarians still have fish and egg, so pure vegetarians please excuse the lack of options available for you! And now, here are 10 Parsi dishes you must try before you die:
Made using three kinds of lentils, vegetables and the secret Dhansak masala, this Sunday lunch specialty is traditionally made with mutton and will leave your tummy making a happy grumbling sound. It can be made with Chicken or without the meat altogether though Parsi food purists must be tutting their heads for even suggesting such a thing!
2. Patra ni Machchi (Fish)
Patra ni Machchi is a hot wedding favourite. Brides must make the difficult decision of choosing between Patra ni Machchi and Saas ni Machchi on their special day. Coated with chutney, wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed to perfection, this pomfret will leave your mouth watering for more.
3. Marghi (Chicken) na Farcha
This Parsi version of fried chicken (which would put KFC to shame) is another dish that is regularly featured at Parsi weddings. Made with a marination of seven different spices, the chicken is dipped in breadcrumbs and eggs before being deep-fried
4. Mamaiji’s (Grandma’s) Prawn Red Curry
Every Parsi grandmother is known for her prawn red curry and the dish although not featured at weddings is a hot favourite in Parsi households. Very different from a Thai, Indian or Japanese curry, this coconut and prawn concoction is a legacy that is passed down from generation to generation.
5. Sali Boti
And, we are back to mutton! This dish is slow-cooked boneless lamb or goat meat made with a sweet and sour tomato based sauce that contains star anise, bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves and many more spices. The final product is topped with sali (fine potato sticks) and tastes best with freshly baked bread.
6. Lagan nu Custard
A variation of the English custard, this sweet treat features condensed milk in addition to milk, eggs and sugar and is laced with cardamom and nutmeg – for that special Parsi feel.
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7. Saas ni Machchi
A strong competitor to the Patra ni Machchi, this variation of pomfret is made in a sweet and sour white sauce, then served with fresh roti’s at weddings or with yellow rice (khichdi) at home. If you want to add a touch of fancy, this dish can also be made with king prawns.
8. Sali per Eedu
When in doubt, break an eedu (egg) on it is the Parsi motto of cooking. Anything and everything can be made with ‘per eedu’ and the Parsis have tomato per eedu, kothmir (coriander) per eedu, bheeda (okra) per eedu regularly as a side with their mains. By far the most popular ‘per eedu’ preparation though is the sali per eedu which is basically made with eggs, tomato and potato – what’s not to love?
9. Dar ni Pori
A delicious and wholesome pastry pie stuffed with sweet lentils, the Dar ni Pori is an important part of any Parsi celebration and a regular feature at teatime. This dessert can be cumbersome to prepare at home, so pick one up from an RTI, PAC or old Parsi aunty close to you.
Made with a long list of dried herbs, roots and fruits you have probably never even heard of – Gokhru or Kali Moosri for example – Vasunu is a wholesome winter Parsi specialty that is a must try. It tastes best with your morning cup of mint tea or warm milk and is in high demand by Parsi’s the world over.