I don’t know how justified it is to say that Parsi food is actually unexplored; well if we consult the availability of references on the internet. It is needless to say that food history, recipes, etc. are not available in abundance like other cuisines. My relationship with the Parsi community is actually limited to the knowledge I gathered from the books that I have in my collection. “Parsi Food and Drink and Customs” by B. J. Manekshaw, “Jamva Chaloji” by Katy Dalal, and a few more. In addition, a not-much-long stay in Mumbai a few years back and a few plates of Dhansak I had.
- Parsi Cuisine
- Parsi Food Festival in Kolkata
- Parsi Club
- History of Parsi Cuisine
- Parsi delicacy Dhansak
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I do have tasted Parsi food in Delhi, though, several times at Soda Bottle Opener Wala but that not at all meet the requirement of knowing about Parsi cuisine, though, the books helped me a lot. Coming back to my own city, Parsi Food is available in limited places apart from Parsi Dharamsala. Mancherji's is probably the decent option in absence of typical joints, however, nowadays few fine-dine has come up with one or two options. This post is actually going to elaborate on my experience of sampling authentic or it is better to say the home-cooked Parsi food here in Kolkata on January, 17 and, my take on Dhansak which I ended up making at home upon returning.
With this kind of bookish knowledge and experience of having eaten in a few Iranian Café, when I got an invitation from Rukshana to attend the Food Festival at Parsee Club, there was no reason for me not to attend the event. After all, there is no reason not to indulge me with authentic home-cooked Parsi Food. It was my first time there at Parsee Club on a lovely wintery afternoon and amazing to see the reflection of one of the richest cultural heritage of our country. The afternoon was more flavorful with the aroma of home-cooked food and I have to mention the price of the food items was something to cherish for.
Parsi Food Festival in Kolkata
I was there with a blogger friend of mine, Indrajit. We were already informed by Rukshana that a timely visit is a must else there was no guarantee of getting the food. We ended up noticing empty bowls of Prawn Patia and Lagan Nu Custard and naturally, our presence of mind spoke and we ended up grabbing other items available till then. Fried Bumla(Fried Bombay Duck) followed by Pork Vindaloo (we got this packed), the typical platter of Mutton Dhansak, Brown Rice and Kachumber, a portion of Papeto-Ma-Gosht with French fries and Mutton Cutlet, Chutney Patti and Faluda icecream were there.
All the dishes were complemented with either Chapatti or Bread slices. For me, the Fried Bumla and Pork Vindaloo were the creams of the day. Apart from the dishes mentioned, Masala Dal Chawal with Soybean Kebab and Salad, Sali Ma Marghi, Aleti Paleti, Veg Stew, Masoor Dal, Akoori, Malido, and Bhakra were there as well. The item price was ranging from INR 30 to INR 130 maximum. For me, the event served as a food map and I ended by re-reading B. J. Manekshaw’s “Parsi Food and Drink and Customs”.
I had spent a pleasant afternoon at Parsee Club and Rukshana gifted me two packets of authentic Parsi spices. With One pack Dhansak Masala and a pack of red garlic spice, I ended up utilizing the spices with the help of the recipes I have. Well, I am available with 3 recipes of Dhansak where the heart is almost the same: Meat-lentil and veggies but the difference is there in the use. I have referred to the elaborated one here); I made Dhansak along with Vagharela Chawal (Parsi Brown Rice) with Kachumber.
History of Parsi Cuisine
I know this post is actually getting longer but somehow I felt it is required to give a brief before going further with Dhansak. Well, I can’t be able to translate Dhansak, a dish that is kind of synonymous with Parsi cuisine. A group of people who believe in humata, hukhta, havashta (good thoughts, good words, and good deeds) is nothing but the believer in happy living. When it comes to food, apart from the 11th month and a few days Parsis take meat all through the year and they love protein as part of their food. Dhansak is one of the famous Parsi dishes and is influenced by Iranian cooking and mainly a dish named Khoreste esfannaj which is prepared with meat, lentil, and spinach.
Parsi delicacy Dhansak
Dhansak, in fact, has evaluated a lot over the years to match the changing palate. Dhanksak though is considered a comfort food but typically it is not prepared during auspicious occasions. A Parsi Curry is characterized by the balance of sweetness and sourness and Dhansak is no exception hence “Doru” (a mixture of tamarind and Jaggery) is a must for this dish. Though the recipe calls for slow cooking the lazy me decided to use the pressure cooker to reduce the cooking time a bit. I will be sharing the recipe for Brown Rice and Kachumber separately.
A classic Parsi Dish prepared with Mutton, Lentils, and vegetables Dhansak is the epitome of comfort food
- 1 kg Mutton (medium size pieces)
- 3 Tbsp. Red lentil/ Masoor Daal
- 3 Tbsp. Split Green Gram/ Moong Daal
- 3 Tbsp. Split Red gram/ Tuvar dal / Arhar dal
- 3 Tbsp. Black gram Split/ Urad dal / kalai dal
- 3 Tbsp. Split Bengal Gram/ Cholar Daal/ Chana Daal
- 2 Potato
- 200g Pumpkin
- 1 Eggplant (small)
- 3 Tomato
- 4 Onion
- 4 Spring Onion
- ½ cup Coriander Leaves
- ⅓ cup Mint leaves
- ½ cup Fenugreek Leaves
- 1 Tbsp. Kasuri Methi
- 1 Tbsp. Ginger paste
- 2 Tbsp. Garlic Paste
- 2 Whole Cinnamon
- 6 Clove
- 3 Black Cardamom
- 2 Star Anise
- 1 Tbsp. Turmeric Powder
- 2 Tbsp. Cumin Powder
- 2 Tbsp. Coriander Powder
- 3 Tbsp. Dhansak Masala
- 2 Tbsp. Sambhar Masala
- 2 Tsp. Salt or to taste
- 2 Tbsp. Ghee
- 1 Tbsp. Tamarind Paste
- 1 Tbsp. Jaggery
- 1 Tbsp. Lime Juice
- Soak Fenugreek leaves and Kasuri Methi separately in water for 20 minutes and use the leaves after discarding the water.
- Wash all the lentils mentioned under running water before use.
- Cut Potatoes, Eggplant, and Pumpkin into 1” square pieces and thinly slice Tomatoes and Onion and chop the Spring onion.
- Liter boiling water is required and that will be added in batches.
- I have used a 5-lit Pressure Cooker to make Dhansak with the ingredient measures mentioned.
- Fill the Pressure cooker (till ½ of the cooker level) with Lentils, Mutton pieces, Potatoes, Eggplant and Pumpkin, half Tomato and Onion, Spring Onion, Coriander Leaves, Mint leaves, Fenugreek Leaves, Kasuri Methi, Ginger paste, Garlic Paste and half of Turmeric Powder, Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder, Dhansak Masala, Sambhar Masala, and also salt.
- Add 2 cups of boiling water and cook on medium flame with the lid and vent weight on until 4-5 whistles come.
- Switch the flame off and wait till the pressure drops completely.
- Separate mutton chunks from the mixture and leave the mixture at room temperature for 30 minutes so that the temperature drops completely.
- Using a food processor/ mixer/ colander make a smooth (semi-smooth) paste of the lentil vegetable mixture.
- Now Heat Ghee in a pan and temper the Ghee with Whole Cinnamon, Clove, Black Cardamom, and Star Anise add the rest of the onion slices and fry till the onion turns pink in color.
- Add remaining chopped tomatoes, Spring Onion, Coriander Leaves, Mint leaves, Fenugreek Leaves, Kasuri Methi, Ginger paste, and Garlic Paste, and cook till the raw aroma goes complete.
- Add Turmeric Powder, Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder, Dhansak Masala, Sambhar Masala, and also salt.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Now Pour the Dal mixture over the cooked spices along with the mutton chunks and add 3 cups of water and cook on low flame for 20 minutes.
- Add water if required to maintain consistency.
- In ½ cup of hot water add Jaggery, tamarind paste, and lemon juice and strain the same pour over the Dhansak
- Now cook for 5 more minutes.
- Serve Dhansak with Brown Rice and Kachumber.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Main
- Method: cooking
- Cuisine: Parsi
- Serving Size: 200g
- Calories: 687
- Sugar: 11.6g
- Sodium: 1293mg
- Fat: 23.4g
- Saturated Fat: 8.8g
- Carbohydrates: 60.9g
- Fiber: 18.5g
- Protein: 61.6g
- Cholesterol: 164mg
Keywords: Parsi Dhansak recipe, dhaksak recipe, mutton dhansak recipe, parsi cuisine, debjanir rannaghar
- Kochi Pathar Jhol (Also known as Bengali Mutton Curry)
- Mutton Kosha (Also known as Kosha Mangsho or Meat Kasha)
- Niramish Mangsho (also known as Bhoger Mangsho or mutton cooked with no onion and no garlic)
- Posto Mangsho (Also known as Bengali Mutton Curry cooked with Poppy Seed Paste)
- Hyderabadi Haleem (Also known as Mutton Haleem)
- Bengali Keema Curry (Also known as Mutton Mincemeat Curry with Potato Chunks
- Anglo-Indian Mutton Curry (Also known as Anglo style mutton)
- Gota Moshlar Mangsho (Also known as Kata Moshlar Mangsho or Mutton cooked with whole spices)
- Kolkata’s Mutton Tikia (Also known as Tikia Kebab)
- Mangshor Jhol (Also known as Bengali light Mutton curry or Aloo diye Mangshor Jhol)
- Keema Kaleji (also known as Keema Kalija | Indian mutton mincemeat and mutton liver curry)
- Bangladeshi Mutton Tehari (Also known as Mutton Tahiri)
- Mutton Ghee Roast (Also known as Mangalorean Mutton Ghee Roast)
- Mangsher Ghughni (Also known as Yellow Pea Curry with Minced Mutton)
- Mutton Rogan Josh: a Kashmiri Delicacy (Also known as Gosht Rogan Josh)
- Mutton Rezala (Also known as Kolkata style Mutton Rezala)
I would love to see a picture if you are making the prawns following my recipe. You can share here at email@example.com. You can use my hashtag #debjanirrannaghar and share it through Instagram as well. and in addition, you can tag me at @foodofdebjani.
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