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01 May 2017 | Last updated 12:19 AM
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Eat like a Parsi!
Patri Na Machi, Dhansak, Mutton Cutlets, Kheema Na Pattice, Lagan Nu Custard — if you are wondering why we are listing Parsi dishes randomly, well we would just like to say — ‘Khai, Pee, ne, Majja! Navroz Mubarak!’
As legend goes, the king of Gujarat gave refuge to Parsis several hundred years ago. Not only did he welcome the warmth of this friendly community but also their cuisine which is an eclectic mix of sweet and spicy flavours.
In short, the cuisine is distinct. It boasts of Gujarati, Maharashtrian, Iranian and British flavours with the use of three basic spices that are used routinely — the Parsi garam masala, sambhar masala and dhansak masala.
From their Iranian roots, the Parsis have borrowed a flare for extravagant feasts and mind you, they love spending hours cooking before a big ceremony which only culminates in dishes that are moreishly delectable.
In keeping with the Navroz celebrations, we did some digging into some of the Parsi restaurants in Pune that are dishing out gastronomic treats. You too can take part in the Parsi feast, enjoy the specially-prepared delicacies and go home happy.
Dorabjee & Sons, Camp
“Plain and simple” is what they like to call themselves having established way back in 1878 and serving Parsi food ever since. Located on Dastur Meher Road, this place lives up to its reputation even today.
For Darius Dorabjee, who owns the restaurant, it is his method of preparation that he takes pride in. “The USP of our dishes is that all of them are slow simmered and cooked. We use charcoal for cooking and don’t compromise on the taste,” says Dorabjee.
The Mutton Dhansak is a culinary favourite amongst most. Says Mona Mehrotra, home chef and food blogger, “The Mutton Dhansak here has a delicious gravy loaded with toor dal, masoor dal, tamarind pulp and black peppercorns. The mutton is cooked in a melange of vegetables like brinjal and pumpkin and finished with a tadka of ghee, clove and garlic. Aptly paired with brown rice with caramelised onions, this one is a must try here.”
Rustom Restaurant, Camp
Founded way back in the 1940s, Rustom is one of the few Parsi restaurants in Pune delivering delicious Parsi food at your doorstep. While there are many a great dish like Dhan Daal and Kolmi Na Patio (yellow daal and plain rice served with a spicy and tangy prawn sukha), there is nothing like the Dhansak served here.
Says Farheez Irani, owner of the restaurant, “The Dhansak is homemade. We don’t prepare it at the venue. It is a special recipe that my mother prepares at home. The meat used in Dhansak is marinated for a day. This ensures it remains authentic and delicious,” adds Irani. She further reiterates that one needs to place the order a day in advance to guarantee its delivery.
Zamu’s Place, Dhole Patil Road
Established in 1988, Zamu’s Place is owned by the Cursetjis. Though known for its Sizzlers, this place packs an equal punch when it comes to serving Parsi food. So it was no surprise when we heard that Zamu’s is hosting a Parsi food special to mark the Parsi New Year.
Says the manager, Hoshang Irani, “Zamu’s Place has been a part of Navroz celebrations since long.” Apart from their regular fare, the restaurant will serve a range of festive dishes such as Patri Na Macchi, Mutton Pulao, Chicken Pulao, Vegetarian Pulao and Dhansak. Irani recommends the Patri Na Macchi which he says is a must try.
King’s RESTOBAR, East Street
Established in 1905, King’s is yet another haven for Parsi food. From Chicken Farcha (fried chicken) to Sali Marghi and Kolmi No Patio, this place serves it all for you to enjoy a Parsi feast.
For Navroz, the restaurant is serving a delectable mix of Parsi and Persian delicacies. Their ongoing food festival will continue for the whole week and their extensive menu comprises Papeta Ma Gosht (meat and potato stew), Prawn Patia Curry, Zereshk Pulao and more.
Where Else Cafe, Lunkad Sky Max, Viman Nagar
A charming place run by siblings Ardesh and Daizy Rustomjee, Where Else serves a delicious fare of Parsi Bhonu on weekends. “Aao ji , jam ji khavanu pivanu ne majjha ni life jivanu”, says Ardesh Rustomjee as he welcomes everyone for Navroz. He explains how each of his dishes is a closely guarded family secret and how it takes a minimum of three days to prepare a dish.
While Salli Gos is a hot favourite, other dishes worth trying are Dhansak, Sali Boti, Tamota Par Eeda, Kheema Na Pattise, Aleti Paleti (stir-fried chicken liver and potatoes) and Papeta Par Cheese (cheesy garlic fries). The place is serving Parsi Bhonu from March 21-26 to mark this festival.
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