Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

What Katy Did: Rhea Mitra-Dalal

Katy Dalal was one of the doyens of Parsi cooking for decades. She passed away two years ago this month.

Dalal GirlsTo those of us who have eaten her food, the taste remains in the mouth forever. And her legacy far outlives her in the books she wrote, the seminal tome on Parsi Recipes “Jamva Chalo Ji” and its part II and other books by Katy.

Living in New York, I have used her book as my recipe source for everything from Dhansak, to Kolmi no Patia, to Popatjee, Malido and Bhakhra, and then some more.

The food catering business that Katy started is now run by her son Kurush and ably supported by Rhea Mitra-Dalal, Kurush’s wife.

In a very personal account Rhea talks about the Katy that most people would not know.

From how Katy accidently bumped into cooking as a profession and business…

What started as a favour to a family friend soon grew into a Parsi Catering service of great repute. There was a time when she ran the kitchens at the Free Masons Hall and the Ripon Club simultaneously while  catering private parties and sending daily tiffins to peoples’ houses and offices at the same time. She was also bringing up three kids alone as her husband was away at sea. In the later years she also taught at a few colleges in Mumbai, whenever the opportunity arose. The older members of the staff say "bai kab sotatha malum nahi".

…to how Katy embraced Rhea after she and Kurush were married

She was a very sensible and practical woman and when Kurush and I decided to marry, she made space for us to have our own home, separate from her household. We were just upstairs, at hand when required, but still independent. She loved her children to bits but she was mature enough not to cling to them and strangle them with her love.

On this, her second death anniversary, we at Parsi Khabar remember the wonderful person that Katy Dalal was.

Continue reading Rhea’s entire account on her blog euphoREA