By Anuriti Sarkar
Isn’t the mouth watering Kulfi with Faluda on a hot summer day, just yum? There’s hardly anyone who can resist the temptation of this sweet delicacy. But do you know who makes the best kulfis in the world?
The Parsis. How strange is it that many don’t know that Old Bombay is the home for these Zoroastrians who make these mouthwatering Kulfis and Kebabs!
The Indian constitution states that India is a secular country, giving respect to all religions. But how many of us actually know about all the religions followed in India? Other than Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs, there are some lesser known religious groups in India.
Like the Santhal, Bahai, Parsi and others. Of these the Parsis are quite a dominant religious group who had come to India from Persia and Fars, when the Muslim Arabs had invaded Persia. They landed on the west coast on India, in western Bombay which is home to the largest population of Parsis in India!
And guess what? Some of the biggest companies were started by these Parsi businessmen and entrepreneurs. The TATA group of industries, was started by Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata who was a Parsi himself, the Wadia group of industries and many others.
These sorabjis, iranijis, wadiajis and so on, are the ones who have built up the Bombay that we see today. Also, places like Nariman Point are named after them. AND, did you know that the earliest cricket team in India was started by these Parsis and also the first team to go to England comprised of 12 Parsi players!
So what makes the Parsis so special, apart from their keen interest in business and advancement? The food! Their food is so good that it feels like nectar to your tastebuds. Kebabs being an all time favourite delicacy.
And for all those who have a sweet tooth, this is something you’ll definitely love – The Parsi Dairy Farm on Princess St in Mumbai. The mouth watering desserts and sweets are something you should definitely try.
Apart from kulfi or faluda, you should try having their sev and malido (a kind of fudge coated with nuts). You won’t look back at your cornettos after you have had these.
Not only that, but the Parsis have a thing for cafes. Apart from their other businesses they have opened a variety of cafes in South Bombay, with their wonderful ambience which will take you to a trip down the memory lane, and added to that are the collection of antique pieces.
These cafes are symbols of the variety of cuisines and culture in India. These were merely tea stalls which have been turned into café, at every corner of the buildings adding a different aspect to the aesthetics of the city.
You should definitely try out the Ideal Corner and Britannia & Co. And do try out the chicken berry pulao and creme caramel. And don’t forget a trip to Cafe Mondegar, one of the first cafes of Bombay along with Cafe Leopold.
The walls of mondegar are covered with cartoons and doodles, giving it a very appealing look. Don’t miss out the Parsi chai or irani chai, with mint and cardamom, along with the best brun maska of the world.
If you find men and women driving around the streets with huge containers of food and desserts, then that surely is the time of Navroz. This is a Parsi festival which falls in the month of March, as it is a spring festival. They wear new clothes and visit the nearby fire temple. Their tradition is to have Parsi lunch and Chinese dinner!
And their wonderful delicacies without which you can’t celebrate Navroz are patrani macchi which is a pomfret wrapped in banana leaf and various others, ending with the lagan nu custard, the grand dessert of the Parsis.
Decline in Parsi Community
Today we see that Parsis have become more urbanised than ever, always ahead with the opportunities, from education to business, and everything else. But sadly, we are seeing a downfall in the number of Parsis nowadays.
This is happening mostly because of marriage outside of their community and also due to cases of low fertility rates. A Parsi woman who marries a non Parsi is removed from the community. Even their children aren’t welcome to meet their families. Also divorce cases are more frequent among Parsis than other Indian communities.
Many foreigners have come to India, some to rule some to settle, but the Parsi community has contributed so much to our country’s prosperity. Whether it is business or cuisine, arts and sports, they have given so much.
So it’s time we start respecting this fact and get to know more about the Parsis, who are really wonderful people and amazing chefs.
Also, keep yourself alert as it’s the time of Navroz and you can always get your hands on the best Parsi dishes ever.
Picture Credits: Google Images
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