Navroz Mubarak: Celebrate Parsi New Year with traditional Parsi recipes

There's nothing quite like a splendid Navroz meal or Parsi bhonu. This feast menu by Shubhra Gupta is sure to impress your guests.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Parsi, followers of the prophet Zoroaster, originally came from Persia. Fleeing religious persecution in their native Persia, they settled along the Sanjan coast in Gujarat in the eighth century AD.

It is hardly surprising then, that Parsi food is a delicious blend of West Indian and Iranian cuisine. Parsis prefer non-vegetarian dishes mainly consisting of fish, meat and chicken, and like to use dried fruits liberally. Vegetables are included in the meat dishes, but there are few solely vegetable dishes. The cuisine can be spicy, but it is rarely chilli-hot.

parsi dishes


Entree: Mutton Potato chops served with chilli chutney

Main Course: Gosht Dhansak, Prawns Patia, Patrani Machi, Brown Rice, Rice

Accompaniments: Onion Cachumber

Dessert: Baked Custard

Drinks: Choice of soft drinks (juices, rooh afza, lemonade etc.)

mutton cutlets

Mutton Potato Chops
1kg potatoes, peeled
1 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
3 spring onions, chopped fine
1⁄2 tsp cumin powder
1 egg , beaten
Bread crumbs for coating
Oil for frying
Salt to taste.

For the mutton filling:
400 gms lamb mince
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1⁄2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
2 onions finely chopped
1 tsp garam masala,
3 tsps curry powder

dhansak brown rice

Dhansak Rice
4 cups basmati rice
2 tbsps vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 tbsp sugar
6 cloves
6 star anise
4 bay leaves
5 cm piece of cinnamon stick
1 tbsp dhansak masala
2 tsps cumin seeds
Salt to taste.

Wash the rice and soak it in water for 30 minutes. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole with a tight-fitting lid. Add the onion and fry until light brown, then stir in the sugar and continue frying until the sugar caramalizes and the onion turns very dark brown.
Quickly stir in the cloves, star anise, bay leaves, cinnamon, dhansak masala and cumin seeds. Add the drained rice and stir-fry for a minute. Add salt and enough water to come 2.5cm above the surface of the rice. Bring to the boil and cook in an oven preheated to 220 C for about 20 minutes until the rice is completely cooked and tender.

Prawn Patia
Both the Iranians and the Parsis make this dish, a sweet and hot curry, which is served on auspicious family occasions. This is the Iranian version which is slightly spicier and hotter than the Parsi one.

500 gms shelled and deveined prawns
3 tsp tamarind pulp
6 green chillies, chopped
5 garlic cloves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1⁄2 cup oil
3 large onions, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin powder
1 1⁄2 tsp coriander powder
3⁄4 tsp red chilli powder
1⁄2 tsp turmeric powder
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp jaggery
10 curry leaves
1⁄2 cup coriander leaves
Salt to taste.

Soak the tamarind in 3⁄4 cup of water for about 30 minutes. Grind the green chillies, garlic cloves and cumin seeds to a paste. Heat the oil in a cooking pot and fry the onions until deep pink. Add the ground paste and fry for 2 minutes, stirring well. Add the cumin, coriander, red chilli, garam masala and turmeric powders. Stir constantly for a minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add half the tamarind water, the jaggery, curry and coriander leaves and about 1 1⁄2 tsps salt. Taste and adjust the sour, sweet and salt flavours to your taste. Add 3⁄4 cup water and bring to boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Put in the prawns and cook till the prawns turn pink. This dish has a thick, non-runny gravy.

Read Also: Chutney Tirangi: Recipes you’ve probably never heard of

patra ni machhi

Patrani Machchi
This is a Parsi delicacy – no Parsi banquet is complete without it.

1 kg fish fillets (firm flesh fish)
90 ml malt vinegar
30 ml oil
3 lemon
Salt to taste
Banana leaves or aluminium foil to individually wrap each fillet

For the coconut chutney
100g desiccated coconut
1 cup coriander leaves, chopped
6 green chillies
2 tbsps garlic, chopped
1 tsp chilli powder
3 tbsps coriander seeds
2 tbsps cumin seeds
4 tbsps lemon juice
Salt to taste
2 tbsps sugar.

Wash and pat dry the fillets and cut each fillet into two. Make horizontal slits in the fillets to create pockets. Sprinkle vinegar and salt, marinate for 30 minutes. Trim, wash and wipe banana leaves or cut the foil to size in order to wrap the fish. Put all the ingredients for the coconut chutney in a blender and make a fine paste. Stuff the pockets in the fish pieces with
chutney and spread the rest on both sides. Apply oil on banana leaves or foil and wrap each piece separately. Steam the fish in a steamer for 30 minutes. Unwrap the fish, arrange on a platter and serve with lemon wedges.

onion cachumber

Onion Cachumber
2 onions
1/8 tsp paprika
Lime juice to taste
Salt to taste.
Slice the onions very finely. Season with paprika, lime juice and salt.

parsi baked custard

Baked Custard
This is a typical Parsi sweet dish served at most Parsi weddings.

1 litre full cream milk
250 gms sugar
4 eggs, beaten
6 green cardamoms, shelled
1⁄4 tsp nutmeg, grated
1 tbsp rose water
2 tbsps almond flakes
1 tsp vanilla essence.

Boil the milk with sugar and reduce it to half the quantity and cool. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well and pour it into a pyrex dish large enough for it to rise. Bake in an oven at 180 C for 45 minutes to an hour until the top is brown. Cool and refrigerate. Serve it cold with vanilla ice-cream.

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