Parsee Cuisine spreads taste and friendship 

Hoshang’s Kitchen – By Rashna Dorab Tata

Following their migration from ancient Persia to India about 1300 years ago, Zoroastrians, popularly known as Parsees adopted many Indian customs and traditions and made them their own.

Their food also underwent subtle changes, whilst retaining many traditional ingredients, flavours and dishes.

The concept behind each dish remained unchanged, but they were enhanced and influenced by the flavours of the west coast of India and their Hindu benefactors.

Essentials such as coconut, garlic, ginger, coriander seeds and red chillies form the staple basis of most Parsee dishes.

Secret Recipes

Every family has its own special secret recipe for ‘Mutton Pulao Dal’ (a rice delicacy made up of the long grain Basmati rice layered with boneless mutton cooked in a spicy gravy, boiled eggs and fried potato cubes with sprinklings of coriander and fried onions) eaten with spicy dal and prawn kababs (fried spicy prawn balls).

rashnas-kitchen-delicious-parsee-cuisine-webThese age old recipes are neatly written down in single lined note books and accompany every new bride when she leaves for her new home.

They are set in stone and lo behold anyone wanting to make any alterations to these community gems.

The traditional wedding menu include ‘Patra Ni Macchi’ (fish, marinated in green chutney and steam cooked in banana leaves, ‘Kid Ghost’ (tender baby goat meat cooked in rich cashew gravy) and ‘Chicken Farcha’ (chicken legs laced with spices and fried in egg).

Typical Dishes

The way to a true Parsee heart is definitely through a double helping of ‘Mutton Dhansak and Kebabs’ with double peg whiskey on the rocks.

Other dishes include ‘Bheja Fry’ (lamb brains marinated with special spices and chutney), ‘Mutton Chops’ (lamb chops served with a sweet and sour tomato gravy), ‘Papeta par Edda’ (eggs cooked on a layer of shoe string potatoes with a huge sprinkling of coriander) and ‘Aleeti Paleeti’ (spicy, diced lamb liver with diced potatoes).

A Sunday lunch is never complete without servings of ‘Mutton Dhansakh’ (chunks of marinated mutton, pressure cooked in a mixture of lentils, with a generous helping of fine spices and a variety of vegetable) eaten with the finest aromatic Basmati rice and spicy mutton mince cutlets.

We are fortunate in Auckland to have our own Parsee caterer Hoshang Katki, ably assisted by his wife Maharukh.

Sensational Seasoning

Their catering service ‘Sensational Seasoning’ provides the Parsee community with authentic and traditional Parsee food.

They constantly add new dishes to their ever-increasing repertoire, which includes Indian, Continental, European and Arabic delicacies.

Commencing his culinary journey as an apprentice at ‘Taj Mahal Hotel’ in Bombay in 1977, Hoshang honed his skills at the Bahrain Hilton, polishing them further at the Dubai Renaissance. He moved with his family to Auckland in 2002 and held various positions at the Stamford Plaza.

Having branched out on his own, he has never looked back.

‘Sensational Seasoning’ is a well-known and trusted name.

Hoshang and Maharukh can be contacted on (09) 5874941 or 021-1025822.

Here are two popular Parsee dishes

Lamb Cutlets  


Lamb Mince                           750 Gms

Red Chilli Powder                 1 to 1½ tsp

Ginger Garlic Paste               2 tbsp.

Turmeric Powder                 1 tsp

Black Pepper Powder           ½ tsp

Potatoes                                 3 small boiled and mashed

Coriander leaves                   1 small bowl washed and chopped

Eggs for Dipping

Breadcrumbs for rolling the cutlets

Salt to taste

Oil for frying


Mix the lamb mince with all the above ingredients except Breadcrumbs and eggs in a bowl. Cool in the refrigerator for about three hours. Later, mix thoroughly and make them into balls, roll into breadcrumbs, dip in the beaten eggs and fry on medium flame till the cutlets are well cooked from inside.

Serve with tomato gravy or ketchup or just eat by itself

Aleti Paleti (Spicy Chicken Liver)


350 gms Chicken Liver

100 gms Chicken Gizzards

2 Onions finely sliced

Ginger & Garlic Paste

3/4 tsp Turmeric Powder

1 tsp Chili Powder

1-1/2 tsp Garam Masala Powder

Vinegar –  Sugar (optional) according to taste

Salt to taste

Wash the liver and gizzards.  Apply Ginger-Garlic paste and refrigerate them for an hour.  Pressure Cooker the gizzards till soft. Place a frying pan on medium fire, add oil to heat.  Fry the sliced onions.  After sometime add the turmeric, chili and Garam Masala Powder.  Add the chicken liver and drained gizzards and stir-fry them for about 7-10 minutes.  For sweet and sour taste, add vinegar and sugar (optional).

Serve with hot roti.

Pictures by Tinaz Karbhari

Disclaimers: Hoshang Katki has decades of experience in the food industry and has worked in international hotels in India, Bahrain, Dubai and New Zealand. He is currently running ‘Sensational Seasoning,’ a catering company in Auckland. Hoshang Katki and Indian Newslink absolve themselves of any responsibility relating to the ingredients, cooking methods and other matters relating to ‘Hoshi’s Kitchen’ column. Some ingredients may not be available and may cause allergy in some people. Caution must therefore be exercised and Hoshang Katki and Indian Newslink will not be responsible to any health issues in this connection. Please consult your General Practitioner, Nutritionist or such others you may be consulting in connection with your dietary requirements.

Notes and Legends: 1. Quantities of sugar and salt are recommendations; please add or reduce to suit individual requirements 2. Tsp: Teaspoon Tbsp: Tablespoon

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