Parsi Saal Mubarak

The Mistry family is all prepared to usher in the Parsi New Year with some very delectable dishes

Navroz commonly known as the Parsi New year not only marks the beginning of a new year but also symbolizes the struggle of good against evil. “The celebration begins ten days before the actual new year where there are sessions at the Agiary to pray for the peace of the departed souls”, says Jimmy Mistry.

The day before the New Year is called Pateti, when people celebrate by getting together with friends over dinner. Jimmy Mistry along with his wife, two daughters and a son, get together regardless of their schedules, to have a quiet family lunch.

The festivities begin in the morning when the girls huddle by the front door to assist their mother in making intricate designs, much like rangoli patterns, using stencils and traditional chalk. “My daughters love making these designs and labour over their work”, says a doting Delna Mistry. Close family relatives then pour in to wish each other after which the family proceeds to the Agiary to offer prayers. Priests perform a thanks giving prayer in the temple called Jashan and the congregation offers sandalwood to the Holy Fire. They then wish each other ‘Sal Mubarak’.

“Going to the Agiary is central to celebration of the day; the other custom which unfortunately is dying out due to time constraints is that of visiting family and friends at their homes and wishing them. Yet Jimmy and I make it a point to do some visiting on that day. However, what does happen is getting together at a restaurant for dinner; which admittedly is a lot easier, says Delna Mistry.

Food is a very significant part of any Parsi festival. Delna varies her menu to fit in the favourites of each member of her family. This usually means a whole lot of snacks. “It is customary to prepare the sev-dahi. The preparation consists of vermicelli with sweetened curd sprinkled with a lot of kishmish and kaju. There is also Rabo or Ravo which is made. It is suji cooked with milk and sugar. My children enjoy both these dishes, so I make it a point to include this in the menu of the day. I also make an accompaniment called Patrel which is similar to Patra made by the Gujaratis. For the main course, there is Fried fish, which is very auspicious, hence has to be made. It also happens to be Jimmy’s favourite. Sali-boti which is a preparation of mutton pieces, prepared with thick tomato gravy. We add in dried apricot pieces, making it a very sweet and spicy sort of gravy and potato slices or are also added on top. You can also make it with chicken pieces but I prefer mutton”, explains Delna.

The vegetables are eaten with rotis or the traditional Dhan-Dal, which is a simple preparation of dal rice, and also customary to Navroz.

Delna assures us that the family does not subscribe to the same menu, there are a lot of variants; for example, “The vegetables would include tarapori pactio, which is dry Bombay duck or bombil. Then there is the famous Patrani Macchi, in which the fish is coated with chutney, swaddled in banana leaves, and baked. We also have something known as Dal ni pori, which is a version of the puran poli, only thicker and a big hit with my kids”, says Delna fondly.

Original article here