Of all the Indian cuisines, Parsi cuisine is one of the most underrated ones. As per the history and Quissa-E-Sajan goes (and as usual, I’m extremely bad with both), the parsi community came down to India during around 8th century and settled in the western coast. The cuisine is, for some reason unknown, very closely guarded and kept the secret only to the community. As I could find out from my Mumbai stay experience, the food is prepared using the “Khatto-Meetho” philosophy– which means a little of sweet and little sour in taste. And in reality, the dishes are neither too spicy, nor too sweet (barring off course, the desserts). Fish and meat are heavily used along with the staple dose of rice and Pao. Probably, this is due to the fact that the Parsi population in India is slowly diminishing.
However, there is a joint in Kyd street where we could find some authentic Parsi dish. It’s named after the owner ‘Mancherji’s”. The place is owned by a Parsi gentleman and his family. But, the problem is, due to market demand, they’ve started making Bengali regular dishes and makes Parsi items only on request. So, we met there, made some prior appointments and started our journey into Parsi cuisine.
You can check my experience at Parsi club here …
How to go and when to go:
The formal address for this joint is 14, kyd street, near MLA hostel. If you start from the chowringhee towards kyd street, on your right will be the MLA hostel. Near to its gate no 2, there is an SBI ATM. Just opposite to that, lies Mancherji’s- a small shack. It’s extremely easy to locate, provided you know what you’re looking for.
Statutory warning: do not expect any of the fine dining experience here. You’ll see some plastic chairs and tables were thrown around and the daily menu written on the white-board on the wall. You may start cursing me because probably, all you can find is some Bengali item’s names but behold- move a little down and you’ll find those Parsi items. You’re now allowed to rub your eyes again seeing the price. Yes, they’re that cheap, but not quality/ quantity-wise. Go ahead, gorge on them, eat your heart out- it’s difficult to cross 400/- per head for even a heavy-eater like me.
We asked the owners for their suggestion and we were offered a typical 6-course Parsi meal.
The fist item was chicken farcha. Its basically a Parsi version of KFC styled batter-fried chicken. One portion consists of one big piece (what else can you expect in 50/- ???) only its more on the softer side than the crunchier version. Wholesome, very very less spicy and was really a good start.
The next item was Egg akuri with tawa roti. This egg akuri is the Parsi version of scrambled egg. Only its more full-bodied with onion, tomato, coriander leaves, and some indian spices. We had it with tawa roti, but I personally felt it would go better with some pav / buns. This item can be tried during the lunchtime and will be a good choice.
Kuchumber is a sharp, small diced Parsi salad with cucumber, onion, tomato and green chilly and was promptly served next. Along with it we got brown rice. It was rice tossed with caramel water, bereshtah (sliced, deep brown fried onion) and garam masala (particularly cinnamon) and thus got its typical color. This brown rice is the standard accompaniment with the normal Parsi dishes, as we were told.
Next, we got the main course of the day- chicken dhansak. This is a unique meat dish from the Parsi kitchen. This is dal or rather diced meat with 4 varieties of dal (arhar dal, chana dal, red musoor dal and brown musoor dal). Its typically flavored with dhansak masala comprising of 15 masalas (kept secret) with ginger, garlic, coriander, and mint leaves and green chilly. This is a heavy thick-gravy dish. It’s normally cooked with mutton, but here, in mancherji’s they normally prepare it on every Saturday with chicken due to low-market-demand. It’s very mild tasted yet keeps its distinct flavor intact. Here, they give a full bowl of gravy and one good-sized meat piece. And, brown rice comes complementarily with it- a complete meal.
The second main course that we got was Sali Murg. Its normally a chicken dry curry cooked with apricot and covered with fried potato straws. In mancherji’s however, all we got was chicken kassa covered with potato straw and lacked the taste of apricot, which normally makes it distinct. The taste is still good.
Its dessert time finally, and we got the dish of the day- Lagan Nu Custard. This is the normal egg custard with lots of dry fruits and nuts. Tastes heavenly and was the perfect ending of a good meal. Sadly, they don’t make this dish on a regular basis and prepares them on bulk order (min 10 no). This dish is a must-have in this place and not-to-be-missed.
This joint prepares some good food but is poorly managed. They’ve succumbed to the market demand and started preparing Bengali food than sticking to their original dishes. However, if one wants some Parsi food in Kolkata, this is probably the only option. They can prepare other Parsi delicacies also on request and confirmation and does outdoor-catering also. The food here, may not be that great, but being one of the very very few places which serve Parsee cuisine in the city of joy, this place is definitely worth.
They can be reached on 9830254120.
Cheers and bon apetite !!!
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