The mouth-watering meats of the Parsis

2:23 AM
Although the Indian sub-continent is renowned for its numerous vegetarian offerings, the rich tradition of Parsi cuisine is just one example of part of India’s culinary culture that simply can’t do without its meat.

Meats make up an integral portion of the Parsi diet, though it is generally saved for consumption at an evening meal. A traditional Parsi lunch usually involves the typical lentil or vegetable curry with a fluffy portion of rice, but for dinner, you could expect a meat specialty to be served. This wasn’t always the case - back in the 1930s, the traditional Parsi breakfast known as ‘khurchan’, a dish created from offal, potatoes and gravy, became particularly popular - but now the choicest meat delicacies tend to be reserved for the evening.

An everyday dish of Parsi cuisine is the famous Dhansak curry, a dish you may find familiar from the Indian curry house menu here in the UK. A traditional Dhansak would have been prepared from mutton or goat, the chunks of meat mixed with a variety of local vegetables, pulses and spices such as ginger, garlic and and cumin. A traditional Dhansak in Parsi culture is practically the equivalent of the British roast dinner - Parsi families would tend to reserve the preparation of this time-consuming dish for Sundays.

As well as mutton, chicken is also a popular choice of meat in Parsi dishes. Sali Murgh is a spicy recipe, infused with sweet and sour flavours thanks to a clever balance of hot chillies, tangy tomatoes and sweet onions. The ‘sali’ in the name refers to the sliced, deep-fried potatoes that are dropped into the dish just before serving. This crunchy ingredient adds a satisfying texture to the tender and succulent chicken which forms the bulk of the recipe.

Sali is utilised in another firm favourite of Parsi cuisine - Jardaloo Sali Boti, a mutton recipe consisting of chunks of meat, pulled off the bone and cooked in a spiced tomato and onion gravy. Hot and sweet flavours typify this dish with red chillies and a dose of cayenne pepper providing the heat whilst a red wine vinegar, dried fruit and caramelised onions add a touch of sweetness to the meal. The crispy sali is scattered into the dish just before serving and occasionally an egg might be cracked on the top as a flavoursome garnish. Eggs are an important element of Parsi cuisine and they are utilised in a variety of dishes in a great number of ways.

The popularity of Parsi cuisine extends from the Indian sub-continent to many other destinations in the world. But it is just one of many culinary cultures that together make up the vast and varied gastronomy of India. To sample a range of authentic specialities collated from all over India, pay a visit to Masala Zone, one of London’s best Indian fine dining restaurants. Here you will find a range of traditional meals that take their influence from some of the most famous foodies destinations in India. From Punjabi cuisine to Gujarati specialities, enjoy the very best of Indian cuisine and book your table today.

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