As per the history and Quissa-E-Sajan goes (and as usual, I’m extremely bad with both), 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 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.
But, unlike Mumbai or rather western India, Parsi food is not readily available in Kolkata (barring a couple of places like Mancherji’s and the hidden gem Parsee Dharamshala. So, this year, when Rukshana invited me and Debjani the the Parsee Club to their Parsee food-fest, I was slightly confused.
“I should jump with joy first and thank her later or should it be the other way round”- was my first reaction. Because, this food fest is the only event in Kolkata where I can experience authentic home cooked parsi food.
The Club is at Mayo Road and very easy to find. Parking was not a problem and we entered the lawn, just to find out that it was a big picnic sort of an event that we’re going to experience. From kids to aged ones, every body was there with their families to enjoy the slightly chilly-slightly warm Kolkata winter afternoon and the area was bustling with energy.
But frankly, being the Mohamushkil guy, all I was looking for was the food. But hey please, don’t take me wrong. I was told by one Culinary Commentator that if I’m late, the food might tend to get over and damn, she was right. By the time we reached the food counter(after the mandatory entry tickets and those hi-hellos), prawn patia was over and so was Lagan Nu Custard. But, being an expert glutton, I was equipped with those pre-paid food coupons and halla bol, I jumped in the queue to get the rest of the items. Most probably those sophisticated ladies and gentlemen (most parsees normally are like that) were not used to such raw aggregation, but I got ALL the items. They were damn value for money (probably the home chefs were not there to make money, but more for sharing the experience) and moderately portion sized.
Of all the items, for me, the rockstar was the Pork Vindaloo. Unlike its Goan counterpart, it was less spicy but more on the “khatto-meetho” side. Almost all the gravy dishes were being served with generous portions of sliced white bread except Mutton Dhansak (served with brown rice and cuchumber). The second best item for me was the Chutney Patti. Being the brand ambassador of carnivore genre, I was a little skeptic of having the same- but upon insisting and having the first bite, this became my second love. Spicy inside and bland outside- it was just awesome. I learnt that, the traditional way of having the mutton cutlet (okay-ish) was to put it inside a bread slice and then have it and so was the process for those Fried Bombay Ducks (having those soft beauties otherwise is a bit of an issue). Mutton Dhansak and Papeto-Ma-Gosht (a slightly sweet-tangy mutton semi-gravy dish) were enjoyable. The whole thing was washed down with pepsi and finally the Falooda-Ice cream.
Now, there was this Treasure Hunt, where one needed to buy a ticket to win a lottery with assured prize. I targeted the JW Black Label bottle, but ended up with a combo of Fosters beer and tea-leaves packet- whatever, life’s never fair. I was feeling sleepy- damn sleepy and for a bong, the afternoon siesta is like a prayer to god, so had to leave the celebration.
BTW, you can check my experience at Calcutta’s only operating parsee restaurant here
Overall, the afternoon was awesome and the only thing I regret is not taking my family along, they would’ve enjoyed it even more maybe.
However, there’s always a next time. Till then, bon apetite !!!
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