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   Yesterday, after a long time... (January 14, 1986)

Yesterday, after a long time, I had a genuine Parsi dhanshak in a Parsi house. I must say I enjoyed it immensely.

Everything was appropriate. A Parsi house with Parsi neighbours in a Parsi colony. Old teak furniture easychairs, four-poster beds, Godraj cupboards (what other cupboards would Parsis have!), children with names like Yezdegar and Xerxes and the Hutoxi.

The dhanshak was prepared by the lady of the house, an elderly lady with years of experience of feeding her family (though it is said that Parsi women cook tarely anything besides eggs). The dhanshak was mutton dhanshak, which is the only type of dhanshak to have. Chicken is too delicate to absorb the combined taste of four separate dals, plus pumpkin and methi, and vegetarian dhanshak only Gujaratis have and think they are having dhanshak.

And with the dhanshak there were the accepted accompaniments, round small balls of them, not the flattend varieties served in Punjab restaurants, and kachumber (onions, chopped, vinegar). And of course, there was lots of nimbu.

The rice was brown, fried, taste of fried onions and burnt sugar. The frying no doubt, was done in Parsi Dairy ghee.

I enjoyed the evening very much. First, Parsi pegs of Red Label, which aare at least two fingers taller than the Patiala pegs, with a few, kababs, none of your cheese and canapes on salto biscuits, then sittings down to dinner under ancestral portraits, The Sound of Music playing in the background.

The dhanshak was just right. Not too hot as some of the Irani restaurants make it, not too sweet as the Goans make it. And it was eaten in true Parsi fashion, a lot of dal on the rice, almost drowning the rice, meat heaped on top of the dal kabab and kachumber on the side.

And the treatment was in true Parsi fashion. They did not force you to eat more, piling things in your plate all the time they did not keep telling you to feel at home or treat the place as your own home, and at the end of the dinner, they did not cluck and tell you: "But you hardly ate at all." They left you to yourself to get on with the serious business of eating a (for me) rate dhanshak

Next year, I will visit them again.

 
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