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When we talk about Parsi cuisine, the immediate names on the recall list are Dhansak, Patrani Macchi, Salli Murg and Lagan Nu Custard. Well, this is definitely not the end of the story. Parsi food is so much more than just a handful of dishes popularised by a few restaurants here and there. Today, when there is so much focus on regional cuisine, we are yet to see any dedicated Parsi restaurant in the country, let alone Kolkata, which has recently opened itself to the idea of other cuisines. To celebrate this understated cuisine and to welcome the Parsi New Year, Novotel, Kolkata had a special Parsi Food Festival from the 17th till the 26th of March 2017.
Chefs Shernaz and Tehmtan Dumasia were specially flown in from Mumbai, who being Parsi themselves; have years of experience in showcasing Parsi cuisine across the country. There was a whole array of Parsi dishes lined up in the buffet at the Studio along with a live counter for eggs. Well, eggs or ‘Eedu’ are the love affair of any Parsi. The Eedu counter had Salli Per Eedu, Tomato Per Eedu, Papeta Per Eedu and Bharuchi Akuri and they seemed to catch on with the guests like fire.
The starters had different kinds of deep fried delights like Chicken Cutlets, Keema Patties, Chicken Farcha, Potato Cheese Balls, Vegetable Soti Boti, several kinds of Papad and many more. Of course, Chicken Dhansak along with a good vegetarian variety was there. There were dishes like Salli Jardaloo Mutton, which is basically mutton cooked with apricots, and Chicken Pulao, Masur, Bhaji Dana, Saas Ni Machhi, Patrani Machhi among other options. The dessert had to have the famous Lagan Nu Custard along with some Banana Pudding, Suji Ka Halwa and Parsi Sev to name a few other options. There was a special cocktail menu created to go along with the food which included cocktails like Majama Vodka with cucumber, lemon juice and Smirnoff and Daaruwala Cocktail made with whisky and hand spiced tea, to name a few.
It was interesting to see how the crowd absolutely embraced the cuisine and loved it to bits. Kolkata has its fair share of Parsi population. However, there is no doubt that Bengalis too love the egg, deep fried food, mutton and fish. Hence the acceptance of this cuisine had never been a doubt in this city and I am sure, that many would like to see a repeat of this festival very soon.
For someone who's run two restaurants, being a baker and cook par excellence comes easily to Madhushree . When she's not eating out, she's organizing her own pop ups or experimenting with regional recipes. Her experiments with food and her recipes are part of Pikturenama , where she's a co founder.