Inspite of being a Bawi myself, I’m constantly craving for good, traditional Parsi food. It’s not something I eat on a regular basis or that gets cooked at home. So whenever my dear friend and fabulous cook Perzen Patel aka Bawi Bride invites me over, I never refuse because I know a food filled evening awaits. Perzen’s blog and subsequently her catering kitchen started off because she had got married and needed to start cooking traditional Parsi food for her family. Armed with a couple of cookbooks and determination she’s mastered the art of Parsi cooking.
She called a bunch of us foodies to her place to celebrate Navroze is the Irani new year, and marks the spring equinox. Navroze is celebrated by laying a table with different elements of nature which are meant to symbolize good luck in the coming year. The celebrations are incomplete without a hearty meal, which is what I was most looking forward too.
I was hoping and praying Perzen would cook some of her signature ‘Grandpa’s Kheema Kababs’. The recipe actually comes from her grandfather who would make these at home for breakfast every Sunday. They’re absolutely delicious. I could easily eat one dozen and still want more. I love that they’re not greasy and the kheema is perfect to taste.
For mains we had Sali Gosh and Mamaiji’s Red Prawn curry. Sali Boti is one of the most well-known dishes in Parsi cuisine. Sali gosh is similar except that it contains mutton pieces with the bone, as the host explained to us. The mutton was perfectly cooked, tender and fell right off the bone. Coupled with the crunchy sali this dish was absolutely perfect. We ate this with some lovely bread that Perzen herself baked. (Yes, she even bakes her bread at home!)
All Mamaiji’s (maternal grandmother) have their own trademark curry recipe. Mine makes a lovely red curry with basa fish. Perzen’s grandmother left behind for her this red curry recipe with prawns. I loved this tangy, coconutty, flavorful curry which reminded me of my granny’s curry. One could taste the prawn flavor in each bite. The curry goes perfectly with white steamed rice and kachubar which is a Bawa side-salad.
I have a huge sweet tooth, and lagan nu custard is one of my all time favorites. This is a staple Parsi dessert and weddings and parties, so I’ve had my share of custard. But Perzen’s Lagan nu custard was perfect in every way. Loved the taste and the melt-in-your mouth consistency.
Then there was Kopra Pak. I’m not much of a coconut person when it comes to desserts, but again this changed my opinion. It had a lovely rose flavor and the coconut does not dominate. Special mention to the fact that it’s pink!
Now anyone can follow a recipe and cook. The mark of a real chef is being able to innovate. Hats off to Perzen for creating something called ‘Lagan nu custard ice cream’. The recipe came to her mind after she had made excess Lagan nu custard one day and did not want to throw it away. She decided to innovate and experiment. The result is a dessert which combines the goodness of a creamy ice cream with chunks of actual custard inside. This is something I’m surely ordering.
All-in-all such a fun food-filled evening. Met some wonderful people. Had some lovely conversations. And ate some delicious food. There could’ve been no better start to the new year. Thanks, Bawi Bride for inviting us so warmly into your home. Do check out her blog (www.bawibride.com) where she posts her recipes and her menu.