On the occasion of the World Zoroastrian Congress, starting today, I would like to consider some Parsi delicacies.
Ghaoon ni roti, wheat chapaties, freshly grilled, with Polson't white butted melting on top and sugar. Or thick cream of milk, with sugar, Polson's yellow butter on side, to be eaten with Irani bread. Ah, happiness.
A breakfast of a four-egg akuri, the eggsscrambled with fresh baby tomatoes, thin strips of browned onions, green chillis, kothmir, unchopped silvers of garlic. Take a piece of bread (not toast), soak it in the akuri, pile some akuri on top of it, and eat. Then take a sip of Brooke Bond Red Label tea (don't just say tea, say…..), flavoured with green mint leaves. Ah, Paradise.
And masoor ma ghost. Come to think of it, I have not eaten that for 17 years, four months and 23 days. The meat well cooked and dissolving in the mouth, and 23 days. The meat well cooked and dissolving in the mouth, its flavour in the masoor and the masoor's flavour in the meat. A lot of lemon squeezed on top, and roughly chopped raw onions on the side. Take a piece of the onion with every mouthful of the masoor. Ah, heavenly.
And teetori, the mung well-sprouted, fresh and wet, bought from a woman who sometimes sits in the Colaba market. Also with lots of lemon to cut out the bitter taste and yet retain it. No extra flavours added - by order. Ah, delightful.
And lacey cutlets with tomato gravy. The cutlets large, almost the size of a two-egg omelette, packed with kheema and with lacey frills around the borders, left by the rich batter. The tomato gravy on top, a smooth tomato gravy, the cutlet almost drowned in it. Ek gravy cutlace lao. Ah, great.
And kichri-saas. The rice yellow, the saas white, the pomfet gently poached. The right blend of sweet and sour, with the tiniest of baby tomatoes floating in the saas. When it comes to sweet and sour, the Parsis are at least two classes and 15 lessons ahead of the Canton Chinese. Ah, superb.
And the dhansak, mutton dhansak, not chicken, never chicken. Prepared by old Goan cooks trained in Parsi houses. Four varieties of dal, pumpkin, not dudhi, all the masalas of the world available at Grant Road's Motilal Masalawala, tomatoes, chilli powder, hing, a lot of hing, a rich-thick dal, not the soupy gravy of dal-gosht, which is neither here, there or anywhere. And the rice, browned in burnt sugar, with crisp fried onions. And kababs and kachumber. Ah, the ultimate.
There is only one place where I have experienced all this Parsi food. At the residence of Mrs. Bachi Jahangir Karkaria, prepared by Cook Saifuddin.