There is nothing like Parsi Bhonu


March 21, 2009

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Mumbai: It’s that time of the year again — a day when every Parsi home will prepare traditional foods in a special lunch, for March 21 that marks the vernal equinox is special to Iranis and Paris everywhere.

Hearty Meal: Pearl and Hafeez Contractor

It’s a time of joy and festivity," state architect Hafeez and his wife Pearl Contractor who with their kids — daughter Zoish (16) and son Yaazd (12), have invited family over for the repast, adding "Food is the best part of the celebrations, in fact, there’s nothing like Parsi bhonu."

Food and Traditions
"We must have sweetened sev (vermicelli) and dahi, for breakfast loaded with badams and raisins too," informs Pearl. Of course, lunch is dhan dal as usual with a prawn or fish patia. That follows other delicious fare — chicken farcha (fried chicken), patra ni machi (steamed fish wrapped in banana leaf), sali murghi (spicy chicken with fine potato crisps), jardaloo sali boti (boneless mutton in an onion and tomato gravy with apricots and potato strips) and cutlets.

"Hafeez has a fondness for the chicken and I love to make that for him," she says. One of the rules is the richer the food the better, says sculptor Arzan Khambatta. "I love to pure ghee on the dhan dal and rice and of course a cold beer before that, you can’t have a bhonu without it you know."

Community celebrations will rock the evening, with different baugs (Parsi colonies), organising gambhars (feasts) for everyone." Tanaz Godiwala, well-known Parsi caterer explains that a few norms have come down through the years.

"Like you must have achar-roti and sariya (wafers) with the food and sit-down dinners are still the norm," she says. "But people also ask for different entrees now, like aamras puri."

Chef Kaikoy Bokdawala of Hotel Sea Princess reveals that desserts have stayed the same. "The traditional drink for Navroze is falooda — a preparation of milk flavoured with rose essence. One also has ravo, prepared with suji, milk and sugar and the other is fried vermicelli cooked in sugar preparation and decorated with dry fruits."

Original article here.