A homely feast
This Jamshedi Navroze, pick from our curated list of the best Parsi and Irani offerings in the market for a safe celebration at your home
Nowruz or Navrozee which is the celebration of the beginning of spring and the Iranian and Persian New Year is marked across different countries regardless of their religion.
Customs which date back several centuries have survived wars, religious persecution and changing political boundaries, and are practiced even today.
But with the need for social isolation getting stronger by the day, Navrozee celebrations among Parsis and Irani Muslims have taken a hit in Mumbai too. When we call famous Parsi caterer Tanaz Godiwalla to check what’s cooking for Navroze this year, Godiwalla informs us, "I am not doing anything for Navroze this year. It’s best not to eat outside now and I didn’t want to encourage it in these times." With malls shut, restaurants such as SodaBottleOpenerWala, who had planned a special Navroze menu are also shut. "We import a variety of special products from Iran for Navroze and to stock through the year too. But I now have very few products left and with the travel ban, my stock won’t last beyond a few weeks," says Bibi Fotehmeh Nazariyan of Café Colony.
What you can do however, is order for New Year goodies at home tomorrow and celebrate with our list of Navroze must-haves.
Bheja na cutlets
For Dr Kurush Dalal, culinary anthropologist and archeologist, the most precious Navroze memory is of gorging on his grandmother’s special falooda. "Iranian faloodeh is made without the milk and sabja, which are Indian additions. Parsis originally made falooda with wheat, and it was a long process that involved soaking wheat in water (called gaoon no dudh), fermentation, drying in the sun, and then the atta is made with rose water from which you make the falooda vermicelli. My grandmother would gift bottles of falooda to relatives on Navroz," he reminisces. Dalal runs the catering service called Katy’s Kitchen (named after his mother) with wife Rhea Mitra Dalal. Must-haves include bheja cutlets ('150) taadi ma gos ('500), mutton pulao dal ('550) and veg pulao dal ('350).
Dr Kurush Dalal
Sexy salli boti
Dadar’s Café Colony, run by the Nazariyan family stocks products from Iran (including berries and dry fruits) all year. The low supply this year means that their soun halwa and bouklawa are sold out. You can still buy gaz (Iranian nougat sweet), saffron, and special Iranian sugar sticks called nabat. "These come in saffron flavour too, and we stir them in black chai. When we have cough and cold, we say, ‘chai nabat lo’ as it’s a common cure for cold," says Nazariyan. Several Iranians decorate their table at home with fruits, dry fruits and other goodies for Navroze. Café Colony stocks products for the table too, carpets and pendants with prophet Zarathustra, and rose water with gulabposh or the sprinkler. "We welcome guests at home by sprinkling rose water, which is considered as a blessing shower for the New Year. According to the custom, one first has to look at themselves in the mirror (also available at the café) on the haft-sin table," she adds.
Gaz. Pics/Ashish Raje
At Café Colony, Tilak Bridge, Dadar East.
Contact (WhatsApp only) 9833106829
Mirza and Bibi Fotehmeh Nazariyan hold an Iranian carpet
Race for taste
Lovji nu lagan custard
"In the morning, we visit the Atash Behram first. Lunch is usually at home with family enjoying dhan dar patio. For dinner, it’s a big, homely spread of classic Parsi food," shares Jasmine Singh, co-owner of Gallops, who is a Parsi. Jasmine is married to co-owner Bobby Singh who loves celebrating Navroze at the restaurant. On offer are dishes like Navsari ni boi ('450), aflatoon akuri ('350), topli nu paneer ('230, cheese dumplings that are hard to come by outside of Parsi baugs), dhansak dal ('525) and patra ni machhi ('895). Don’t miss Udvada nu sancha nu mango ice cream ('295) and lagan nu custard.
Delivery Scootsy; Gallops, Mahalaxmi Racecourse. For recipe, visit: mid-day.com
Mutton Pulao Dal
Mahim-based delivery kitchen Aapru Parsi Kitchen delivers across Thane, Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. Their Navroze menu includes corn and jalapeno poppers ('200), prawn cutlets ('350), chorizo shepherd’s pie ('400), patra ni machchi ('550), salli marghi ('400), mutton pulao and dal ('500) and Parsi dhansak dal ('500) and lagan nu custard ('150).
Chorizo shepherd's pie
Call 9920093266, 9820928658
Eat like an Irani
Patra ni machhi. Pic/Atul Kamble
While you might miss eating next to a Yezdi at Fort’s Ideal Corner, Parvez Patel, partner, will have all the special Navroze menu options for lunch and dinner home delivered. Vegetarians could try the saffron Iranian veg pulav daal ('350, mutton for '450 and chicken version for '400) or cheese chutney pattice ('100). Usual favourites include patra ni machhi ('500), egg chutney pattice ('100), chicken farcha and chips with liver ('250), and mewa mawa custard ('100). A dish that we are keen to
try this weekend is their Bharuchi marghi ('300).
At Ideal Corner, Hornby View, Gunbow Street, Fort.
Call 22621930 delivery 9930260703 (WhatsApp), also on Scootsy and Swiggy
On March 20 and 21, 12 pm onwards
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