Chef Rayomund Pardiwalla,
Executive Chef, Mövenpick Hotel & Spa
Tell us about Parsi food.
The Parsis are a peace loving community mainly residing in the state of Gujarat and Mumbai. They were originally from Persia, which is now Iran. They love food and spend hours cooking up feasts. Parsi food is a delicious blend of western influences, Gujarati influences and Maharashtrian giving it strong flavours of sweet mixed with sour with a generous use of dry fruits. The sweet from Gujarat, the sourness from using Kokum which is a Konkani influences and the dry fruits as part of their Persian influence.The cuisine adds richness and variety of the Indian cuisine which is a mix of vegetarian Gujarati cuisine and non-vegetarian Iranian cuisine. However, the non-vegetarian dishes dominate the cuisine.
Some dishes like the Dhansaak which is a mix of lentils with soft pieces of goat meat the Patra ni Macchi which is delicate fish wrapped and steam cooked in a Bananna leaf, Salli Boti / Marghi, Marghi na Farcha stand out when one thinks of Parsi food and of course we cannot forget desserts such as the Lagan nu Custard and Dal ni Pori.
Are there family recipes in the menu?
The family recipes in the menu are Mutton Dhansaak, Patrna ni Macchi, Checken Farcha, Bawa Peg and Lagan nu Custard. All handed over generations making them special and authentic.
Where else can you get good Parsi food?
Over the years Parsi food has become quite popular with restaurants opening up in every city; because of the density of the Parsi population in Mumbai, south Mumbai is quite famous for it.
What other cuisines do you enjoy?
As a chef, I have a taste for all cuisines and enjoy anything which is well cooked where the flavours and the ingredients are married perfectly to give a taste that appeals to all your senses (texture, taste, look, smell).
What made you choose this career?
A lot of cooking is like science, I love how different ingredients react with something else to create the WOW element in food – the mixing of flavours, experimenting with different cuisines to create dishes with an edge are all things I enjoy. Learning about the history of food, the various techniques used –these are all subjects of interest to me and a career in food seemed like the obvious thing to get into.