In a line: Bringing authentic Parsi delicacies to Delhi with the Parsi Food Festival.
Where: The Pavilion, ITC Maurya, Delhi.
When: From 20th May till 29th May
Dinner buffet: 7:00 pm to 11:30 pm
Parsis, one of the smallest communities today, are descendants of Zoroastrians who fled Iran during the Arab invasion and settled down along the western coast of India. Bringing their own unique flavours and amalgamating them with local ingredients, parsi cuisine is marked my Iranian, Gujarati, British and Maharashtrian influences, and hence, it is characterised with distinct flavours and textures.
While the best place to binge onto some delicious dhansak and salli boti is at a Parsi home, if you don’t have a Parsi friend, then the Parsi Food Festival at The Pavilion, ITC Maurya will help you to curb those cravings as you dig into a buffet spread that offers a wide variety of authentic parsi dishes, prepared by Chef Parvez Patel from Ideal Corner, Mumbai.
“Jamva Chalo Ji”– the Parsi food festival will go on from 20th May till 29th May and with only 4 days remaining, it’s time for you to make the best of this lavish dinner buffet that will leave you aching to have a bit more Deekra!
After sauntering around the spread, I began to taste the best of bawa cuisine that The Pavilion had to offer. Started with some delicious prawn kebabs/cutlets that were prepared with potato and roughly diced prawns which had a beautiful hint of fresh coriander and mutton dumplings(traditionally served with Dhansak) that had an explosion of dry spices in my mouth and went well with the carrot and onion chutney that had the sweetness of raisins and jaggery. The vegetable cutlets were fair but couldn’t be a match to their non-vegetarian counterparts. Raspberry, a sweet and pink raspberry drink, helped me wash down the starters as I marched my fork and knife towards the main course.
Akuri, a runny scrambled egg dish(similar to an egg bhurji) eaten by Parsis, was devoured in minutes after it arrived along with some english buns(I missed my pavs here!). The piece de resistance would be the Patra Ni Macchi, a cut of pomfret coated with fresh coriander and mint chutney, wrapped and steamed in banana leaf, which helped to retain all the flavours and juices. A word of caution, it’s not a fillet so do expect bones and be careful as you eat.
Salli Na Murgi was a tangy and spicy chicken curry that had a hint of spices and was topped with salli or potato straws which gave it the quintessential crunch and visual appeal. Pairing along with pavs helped to coax down the spiciness of the dish overall. While on the other hand, tarkari nu stew, which appeared like mix vegetable, was a tomato rich sabzi made with 5 vegetables, was on the sweeter side. Dhansak, a dish that parsis are known for, is a beautiful medley of meat, rice, lentils and vegetables. The spiciness of the dhansak dal was mellowed down with the dhansak rice, the mutton kebabs were like a cherry on the cake along with the hint of freshness that came with kachumbar, a salad prepared chopped tomatoes, onions and cucumber. I added the element of crunch throughout my meal with saria, which is nothing but deep fried rice papad.
Having an infamous sweet tooth, though almost full, I helped myself to get a portion of one of the most iconic Parsi dessert, Lagan Nu Custard. A mildly sweetened custard with the aroma of cardamom and nutmeg, this velvety smooth custard was contrasted with chironji/charoli seeds, the flavour of which was similar to skinned almonds. The vermicelli or sagan ni sev would be a dessert for those who like go up an extra notch with sweetness, while the rawa or sooji ki kheer(how I would put it as) topped with dried rose petals was warm, humble and delicious.
Overall, if you wish to charm your taste buds with some exciting Parsi delicacies and go beyond the muska bun, then The Pavilion should be on your go-to list before the festival gets over on 29th May!