Are you a vegetarian? Do you ever feel left out because you’re made to sit in the so-called ‘Vegetarian’ corner of the table? Have you ever thought about what Parsi food tastes like but you never bothered because it is predominantly non-vegetarian? Oh well, you’re in the right place then. Gone are the days when, as a fellow Vegetarian, I would empathise with you.
First Things First
To help change bad eating habits/ due to ethical reasons/ living the saatvik lifestyle/ for the sake of ‘trying something different’, a lot of people have turned heads towards vegetarian and vegan diets.
For me, the most difficult was Parsi food. Although the cooking style is very accommodating and the same dish can be made using something vegetarian, it can be difficult to find restaurants serving much in the vegetarian section of the menu. Don’cha worry, I’ll help you guide through the Rustom’s Parsi Bhonu menu in a jiffy.
Paatra Ma Paneer
A famous Parsi delicacy gone vegetarian, Paatra Ma Paneer is a vegetarian take on the famous Paatra Ma Macchi (fish wrapped in leaf). Paatra Ma Paneer mainly consists of a slab of marinated paneer covered in delicious coriander chutney, wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed. Squeeze in some lemon and you’re good to go!
Eeda in Parsi means Egg. Eeda Balls are fried egg dumplings mixed with cheese or potato (or both).
Unlike other spicy vegetarian kebabs, Parsi Vegetable Kebabs are usually served with Dhansak and have a deep, smoky flavour to them. So different yet so delicious, they’re one of my top must-haves!
Perhaps the most famous Parsi dish, Dhansak is a Parsi-Gujarati fused spicy dal usually served with rice and a kachumber (tossed in Parsi cane vinegar) on the side. You’ll find a non-meat version almost everywhere, and if by any chance the restaurant doesn’t serve it, you can always ask them to cook is separately. Every family has a different recipe for preparing Dhansak, all of them equally delectable!
Resembling a sweet dal-fry, Parsi Dal has a more home-cooked feel to it. Also it goes brilliantly with a helping of rice.
Your usual steamed rice, topped with caramelised onions, always. Some restaurants even serve plain rice with vegetable kebabs, all you have to do is ask.
Traditionally cooked with Zereshk or Barberry, it is a rare sight to have this sour Barberry ‘Pilaf’ or ‘Pulao’ on the menu. Not very authentic in terms of taste, a sweet and sour Cranberry Pilaf is usually on the menu.
Kanda Par Eedu
Another egg dish on the menu, Kanda Par Eedu is basically sweet and sour potatoes topped with poached eggs. This stunner can also be ordered without eggs, but that really takes away all the fun.
Another variety is Tamatar Par Eedu which has sweet and sour tomatoes topped with eggs.
Lagan Nu Custard
Lagan Nu Custard literally translates to ‘Wedding Custard’. True to its meaning, no Parsi wedding is complete without this sweet dish. It is a baked milk, dry fruit and egg custard and is usually served in small portions.
Sagan No Ravo
Sagan No Ravo is a sweet Parsi sheera or sooji ka halwa, topped with a generous amount of dry fruits, the dessert is usually made as a Sunday treat and is an excellent way to end your Parsi food journey. Did I mention they have no eggs?
Irani Chai & Bun Muska
Traditionally made without milk, the recipe has been successfully altered to the Indian palette by adding milk and in some cases, star anise or khus. Milk is boiled for a long time before it is condensed before adding it to the milk. A bun is usually served along with a generous smear of butter.
Pallonji’s Raspberry/Lemon Soda
If you’ve ever visited a Parsi restaurant (I’m looking at you, Mumbai) and haven’t had Pallonji’s Raspberry/Lemon Soda, what you’ve done is no less than a sin! Pallonji’s is one of the oldest Bambaiya sodas which is generally served in a glass bottle. Talk about being so 90’s? Although the soda is too sweet to overwhelm the flavours of your dishes, it is almost perfect as a pre or post food beverage. An alternate beverage is Ardeshir’s Raspberry soda from Pune which is 130-year-old soda version of a cough syrup, only a very fluid in consistency.
#EatExtra Yes, a lot of these have eggs in them so be careful if you’re particular about having no eggs in your meal, you can request the person taking your order for a no egg meal and they’ll be happy to do so for you! So that’s pretty much a roundup of what you should pick if you’re ever confused about your Parsi meal – life’s easier now, innit?
Photo Courtesy Of: Rustom’s