You’re a taboo to the community!
You aren’t unwell, are you?
You’d better not marry a Parsi.
These are some of the reactions I receive when a fellow Bawa learns that I am a vegetarian by choice. For the typical Parsi, turning vegetarian is no easy feat. (Make that eggetarian.) Not because you don’t possess the will to do so; but because in a community that is illustrious for being partial to meat, you would stick out like a sore thumb. At a wedding feast, you’ll receive glaring stares as you scoff down the insipid portions of vegetables from the ‘Veg patra’ while the others skillfully tear a piece of chicken with gusto. (If you are vegetarian, I’d recommend a thali at a Parsi function over the Veg Patra, because the latter equates to ignominy in the name of food.)
You won’t really be spoilt for choice as far as the eating-out options for Parsi cuisine are concerned. Nevertheless, we’ve picked five scrumptious Parsi vegetarian dishes across restaurants dotting the city. So the next time you eat out with your non-vegetarian kin, you know what to order.
1. Vegetable Puff at Kyani’s
Perfectly flaky with a hint of butter, the vegetable puff is wholesome yet not heavy. The consistency is just right, with a filling consisting of potato, chopped onions and carrots and peas. When served fresh from the oven, it tastes best when paired with chili sauce.
At: Kyani & Co., J.S.S Road 657, Jer Mahal Estate, Opposite Metro Cinema, Mumbai.
2. Veg. Dhansak at Churchgate Restaurant
A tad tangy and a tad sweet, the dhansak, priced at Rs. 115 is a steal. We’ve tasted pseudo versions of the revered dish at several city joints but this one successfully matches the flavours of a typical home-made dhansak. The glitch is that they serve dhansak on Fridays and Saturdays only.
At: Churchgate Store and Restaurant, 195, Moti Mahal, J Tara Road, Churchgate, Mumbai.
3. Veg. Berry Pulav at Britannia Café
Tucked away in the busy precinct of Ballard Estate, Britannia is perhaps the only joint in Mumbai that serves authentic Persian berry pulav (Rs 150), a secret recipe handed down over generations. The generous portion will leave you almost satiated, with a little room for their delectable chocolate mousse (Rs. 60).
At: Britannia Café, Wakefield House, 11 Sprott Road, 16 Ballard Estate, Mumbai.
Click here to know more about the old-world charm of the cafe: http://www.cnngo.com/mumbai/eat/britannia-748536
4. Egg on Potato at Ideal Corner
With a menu that changes everyday, Ideal Corner has a variety of egg preparations. (In case you are an ‘eggetarian’) The Egg on Potato (RS 50) – traditionally called papeta par eendu, consists of finely sliced potatoes as the base, with two eggs popped sunny-side-up onto the potato and served with either sliced bread or roti. Available only on Tuesdays.
At: Ideal corner, 12/F/G/Hornby View, Gunbow Street, Fort, Mumbai.
5. Parsi Chutney Bread at Theobroma
Though this cannot qualify as a meal by itself, the Chutney Bread (Rs 40) is a great option to take home and eaten as an accompaniment. As per their menu, ‘the brioche bread is swirled with traditional Parsi mint and coriander chutney’. Make sure you get there before four o’clock because their stocks usually don’t last in the evenings.
At: Theobroma, Shop No 24, Cusrow Baug, Electric House, Colaba, Mumbai.
In case you are a vegan Bawa, then God save you!
– Khorshed Deboo