Katy Dalal Passes Away

Parsi Khabar is saddened to announce the passing away of Dr. Katy Dalal yesterday. Katy Dalal is legendary for her culinary skills especially with Parsi cuisine.

katy dalal Over the years we as a family have enjoyed wonderful meals ordered from her on festive occassions. She also catered on a lot of the days before both the weddings in our family.

Her cookbooks: Jamva Chalo Ji part 1 and 2 are something I cherish and use regularly to make everything from a very authentic dhansak to malido.

Besides being a culinary maestro, she was a PhD in Nutrition.

Its a big loss to the community and we hope that her son Kurush continues her tradition of catering lip smacking food in the years to come.

Our condolences to Kurush and the entire Dalal family on this great loss.

Below is a 2008 article in the Mid-Day about Katy Dalal

What’s cooking in Katy Dalal’s kitchen?

The next few days are going to be exhausting enough for Katy Dalal to crave a quick dose of energy from her great grandmother Soonamai’s fresh Limboo Sharbat. But the woman is no more, neither is the limboo tree that once stood in her Tadgaon home front-yard.

But this archaeologist, caterer and connoisseur of Parsi cuisine is hardly willing to let go of her childhood memories, or the recipes that bring back the whiff from flat

bottomed terracota vessels balancing over hot red wood in the village kitchens of Sanjan and Bharuch in coastal Gujarat.

Hailing from a family of good cooks, Dalal breaks into a smug smile when she tells you that she inherited the art. But it’s also about instinct, believes the lady who grew to become one of the most popular caterers with the Parsis, quite by "accident at sea".

With her husband Feroze, a radio officer with the Merchant Navy, Dalal was at sea when they caught a 14-foot shark. With insipid vegetable stew as the only dish to look forward to, the captain requested her to cook the fish. And she was the star of the day.

With a retina operation confining Dalal to her home, relatives and neighbours approached her with daily requests to whip up a scrumptious meal. "I started with a single tiffin box," laughs Dalal who went on to cater for the Freemason’s Lodge, Ripon Club, and now, for lavish weddings and navjotes.

"To be a good caterer, you have to cook well. But I think it’s more important that you have a large heart. You have to enjoy seeing others eat," she confesses, making a last ditch effort to get me to try her Chicken Celery Sandwich.

And that’s probably why afternoons spent lounging in cane chairs at Princess Victoria Mary Gymkhana’s sprawling pavilion, watching the amber stream of mint tea settle in her Chinaware, as her cooks delivered crisp Prawn Kebabs to their table, are a favourite.

The sounds of silence that envelop the air around the pavilion would buzz with curious whisper as Dalal held court with a legendary anecdote about the last Persian emperor Yazdezard Sheriar’s Sassanian army’s defeat by Arabs in 64 AD at Nehavand. The crisp crackle of a potato chip by Mrs Birdy sounded the death-knell for Yazdezard’s fortunes. "That was it, it was all over. The Arabs were merciless, it was either conversion or death.

About 100,000 of them led by Yazdezard’s son Feroze, fled across lost Sassanian lands into China. Here, Feroze was given sanctuary by the emperor. Can you believe this! He went to become a captain in the Chinese army, and even built an agiary there," she’d recount.

But that chatter will have to wait. For now,  it’s serious business. The bawas of Mumbai are famished. And Dalal has quite a task on hand.

  • FIRDOS

    May departed soul rest in peace…Amen !!!

  • dr arnavaz m havewala

    i treated katy at the parsee gen hospital recently.
    she used to say’doctor , tame bus tamaru hastu modhu mare batavi jao’
    in spite of her myriad health issues, i have never seen her whining.
    whenever i asked her’kem chhev?’ she would say’ tame jovni, jem chhe temaj chhe’/ill miss her,, all of us will.
    she had a singular flair and she gave a new dimension to parsi catering.
    its her uthamna today at 3.45 pm at doongerwadi.

  • Ahsan Rafique Butt

    may God bless her soul!

  • RAJESH CHOUHAN

    Being a great admirer and wellwisher of parsis i express my condolences and sympathy to dear kurus and dalal family.may God bless and give lot of peace to devine soul and lot of strenghth to kurus for the great loss.
    wellwisher
    rajesh chouhan pune

  • shehzad irani

    A legendary cook an extraordinary lady and an inspiration to all parsi foodies… she has dominated the culinary traditions of especially the bombay parsi bawa community for a long long time.. if the caterer was katy dalal at a reception the reputation of the family grew exponentially – if they could offer patra-ni-machhi by katy dalal? 5 more brownie points 🙂

    i am sure – on the day of noruz she is beaming down from the high above – looking at all those of us who are referring her books and making delicious recipes today for all our loved ones…

    adieu… 🙂

  • Dilnavaz

    May her soul rest in peace!!!!!!11

  • Dr. Khushru Homi Frenchman

    I knew Katy Dalal very well for a long time . Katy Frenchman ( later Dalal) and I were first cousins , our fathers being brothers .
    Katy was a couple of years older than me , living in the same neighbourhood at Bandra.
    She went to St.Joseph’s Convent . I recall she was an ace student.
    Her parents Nariman Uncle and Pilloo Aunty doted on her and well she deserved it .
    Since childhood she was generous to a fault always smiling and cheerful( never serious as she appeared on TV ).
    Everytime I returned to India on a visit I almost dreaded letting Katy know I was there for she would insist on sending trayfuls of delicious Parsi food enough for 30 to 40 people.
    My sister Mehru would have a hard time fitting it all in her refrigerator .
    But i never failed to visit Katy and hubby Feroz and her parrot Kasu.
    Katy exemplified all the qualities of a true Zorastrian ,piety generosity and a jolly sense of humour.
    Never asked anything of anyone that I know of , only gave of herself.

    After her PhD in Archeology ( possibly the first woman in Maharashtra to get her degree ) she potted around the ruins of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa for a while till she got bored.

    The luckiest day of her life was when she met Feroz her husband. This article is not about Feroz but if I was to summarize in a single line he is a most splendid human being .Believe me Katy was a much pampered wife .

    A few years ago her in USA my phone rang at 3 am.It was Katy . The night before she had a bad dream that I had died in an accident .
    It was only a dream her husband tried to tell her but she remained restless for 24 hours and finally had to call me to confirm that I was still alive.

    Regarding her cookbooks it was her mother Piroja ( Pilloo Aunty ) who was her inspiration .The many times I ate food at Katy’s home growing up, each meal cooked by Pilloo aunty was a gourmet meal in itself. Katy just continued the tradition.

    Katy’s health had been bad for seveal years starting with severe diabetes. Many of us tried to impress on her the gravity of her situation .Everytime I tried to advice her she would only smile from ear to ear and change the subject. After al I was only her younger cousin brother .

    In this age when most of us are expected to live for at least 80 years ,Katy died too early

    Wherever she has gone I bet she is bringing happiness to others

    Dr. Khushru Homi Frenchman

  • zenobia

    Type your comment here…

    JAMVA CHALO JI– a recipe book by the lady,i as a child would also love browsing through it & my mouth watered seeing the colourful pictures.Later when i could, i tired many of her recipes & they were just fantastic!..but i’d often think ..”couldn’t she make it a bit simpler!”…that lady who added a dash of colour in my cooking too….may her soul rest in eternal peace & may HE grant her family all the strength in their moment of sadness

  • Nergish

    Katy Dala……the immediate reaction from any Parsi about to attend a Navjote/Wedding would be…..wow Katy Dalal nu bhonu che and would really look forward to th function. Drinks followed by her exquisite cuisine. A wonder woman, a Phd in Archeology turned to be the country’s best culnary lady. Made a name for herself and family with her love for cooking. I have known her personally when I interacted for my son’s marriage catering.
    Amazing lady, warm, affectionate and large hearted with whom I grew very close and friendly. I was hence always on her mind and was always on her invitee list for the launching of her books which I attended with love and honor her with full pride for being such a lovely human being.
    Katy will always be in my heart and she will live forever and ever.

  • jayantilal

    my sincere and heartfelt condolences on her demise. May her family members have the strength to bear her loss and carry on her legacy.

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