Parsi cuisine is famous for its much more lip-smacking fare. There is a whole range of vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian dishes to choose from a Parsi menu:
•Dhansaak: The very famous dhansaak is an adaptation of Gujarati food. It is one of the best known Parsi dishes and is a favourite for Sunday lunch. Usually made with mutton, a dhansaak consists of lentils, vegetables, spices, cumin seeds, ginger, and garlic together with the meat of choice and either gourd or pumpkin. It can also be made sans the meat for vegetarians. The rich, dense, lentil stew is thickened with vegetables and left to simmer with meat or chicken added to it. When cooked, the different ingredients deliver a complex blend of flavours that complement each other perfectly. The stew is then eaten with light brown caramelised rice accompanied by a finely diced salad called kachumber.
This dish is prepared in a different manner in different households and for many the recipe of the special dhansaak masala is a closely-guarded secret. The medley of vegetables, spices and flavours which constitute dhansaak are carefully measured because the slightest deviation can render the delicacy apart.
•Patra ni Macchi: It means ‘fish wrapped in a leaf’. This is a traditional Parsi dish which is often served at wedding ceremonies. Fillets of fish covered in chutney made of mint, coconut, coriander, lemon juice and green chillies are artistically wrapped in banana leaves and steamed to absorb the delicate flavours.
•Egg : Akoori is a breakfast dish of spiced scrambled eggs. It is best to eat with the Parsi style ghee laden thick rotlis. Apart from this there is Tamota Par Edo (Eggs on Tomatoes), the Pora (Parsi Omelette). Also, main dishes are often served with an egg on top.
•Salli Boti/Marghi: It is a dish made with boneless mutton (boti) or chicken (margi) cooked in an onion and tomato gravy with apricots and topped with crispy potato strips.
•Marghi na Farcha: Traditionally a farcha is a large piece of chicken that is battered, crumbed and fried.
•Other Significant Recipes:
Parsi food blends a variety of ingredient to form its unique recipes. Bhujan which means baked in Gujarati is made with the pieces of liver, kidney, spleen and testicles of goat which are marinated overnight in curd and then the spiced mixture is grilled over wood and charcoal fire, almost semi-baked.
Khurchand is almost the same as the bhujan, but it is slowly cooked in a spicy gravy and the green chillies are added with the garam masala. It is served piping hot on the banana leaf with the famous ghee ni gagarti, ghaoon ni rotli and a bit of gor keri nu achar. If you add fried potato and pieces of boiled egg, raisins or meat balls to khurchand, you get the aleti paleti.
A simple yet smooth dish is the khichri (rice with toor daal and/or moong daal). This dish has many good effects on the health. This light dish is prepared with very little spices and oil and is a great way to reform an upset stomach and provide energy to a weak body.
Mutton Palav Dal is made for all happy occasions and large family style gatherings. Apart from these recipes there are other commonly found dishes are saas ni machchi (yellow rice with pomfret fish fillets in white sauce), lagan no saas (Fish in White Sauce), machchi no patio (a sweet and sour seafood recipe which makes use of pomfret) and mung ni dal ne papeta (moong dal and potatoes cooked with a spicy masala).
In snacks the popular one is patrel. Arbi leaves are spread with a spicy, sweet and sour paste. The leaves are then expertly packed together and bound as a roll. Thin slices are cut to reveal elegant swirls of patrel, which are then deep fried and served as a snack.
The other interesting one is popatji. Yes, the name comes from the parrot like shape of this snack. A good popatji has to be very light, featherweight on the tongue, not too deeply fried and not unduly large in size.
Bhakhra (a type of fried scone), batasa (flour and butter tea biscuits) and khaman na lavda (dumplings stuffed with sweetened coconut) are the other popular snacks which belong to this food culture.
The Gujarati love for pickles reflects in Parsi cuisine. The famous pickles are methia nu achaar, lagan nu achaar, gajar mewa nu achaar (carrot and dried fruit pickle), bafenu made from a whole Alphonso mangoes and vinegar and dry Bombay Duck Pickle.