Sunday, February 21, 2016

Parsi Patra Nu Bhonu, Its A Pangat Too

Oh yes! If the Maharashtriya love their pangat the Parsi love theirs too. I got to to know this only at our reception. Like we Maharashtriya call the 'kelichya paanavarche jevan' the Parsi call theirs 'Patra nu bhonu' which is a meal on banana leaves. When the meal is served to people sitting in a row by many servers its called a Pangat.

So a Pangat it was from the Parsi side too. I smiled at the common love but if you thought the menu would be similar you are wrong. A Maharashtriya kelicha paan traditionally has only a vegetarian menu as you saw in my pangat. While it may shock those who don't know that Parsi bhonu is all the way non veg even though it is eaten on a banana leaf. It would be sacrilege for the Maharashtriya.  But then if you have eaten the bhonu once especially if its by Tanaz Godiwala then you que up for it!

AC's family has always had bhonu catered by the Godiwalas, whether it was for my SIL's marriage or the Niece's Navjote. This set is his favorite, he was obviously careful about choosing for our wedding feast. He joked that a Parsi decides to attend the wedding only if the invite goes with a message that Godiwala is catering :) ;)

The bhonu starts with gajar mewa nu achar, saria and rotli then come the chicken farcha, followed by parcels of Patrani Macchi, Lagan nu custard after this the mains of Mutton pulao and dal.

Golden fried prawns ***** AC simply gorges on these at every chance but he could eat only a few at our own reception. If my nose could talk it would say they smelt delicious as they fried when I was changing into my lacy white in the Vanity room.

Pepper chicken ***** He loved it.


  1. Patra ni Macchi***** What's a Parsi wedding without it says my Bawa.
  2. Chicken farcha ***** The batter fried massive pieces of chicken are yet another set of jewels from the bhonu.
  3. Lagan Nu custard***** Yay! I tasted this and loved the smoked flavor of the custard as it is baked on wood fire. The dominant taste of  nutmeg was just amazing. Yes I made an exception on this day.
  4. Mutton Pulao***** Every Parsi looks forward to this in the feast.
  5. Masala ni Dal***** ditto. The Parsis love the Pulao dal combo.
  6. Gajar mewa nu achar*** I have tasted many variations of this and its not one of my favorite versions.
  7. Rotli
  8. Saria***** My man eats heaps of this.
The ratings are on a scale of 5, mostly by AC and I have added my comments too for some that I tasted.

The caterer sent us a huge thaal loaded with some leftovers and a week's stock of custard for 2. Which AC enjoyed every bit. I was glad I was not cooking for our first week into marriage!
 The squares of custard are small, I say! You see the patrani macchi, chicken farcha, saria, rotli on his leaf. 

Did you notice that people are happier with a shorter menu of Non veg meal while the Veg meal is so much more elaborate and vegetarians like to dip their fingers in more no. of things?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Maharashtriya Pangat

A good caterer allows one to relax and enjoy the celebration. Here is Girish Ketkar of Ketkar Caterers checking with each and every person in the pangat. Well done!

When we decided to get married AC and I were very clear we wanted to host separate receptions. We did not want any clashes in cultures. Until someone commented, "What's a union if both the sides don't get to meet each other. 

After which we simply started looking for a hall that would be convenient for everyone to attend and for us to host it. We chose a Parsi heritage hall. He had already made up his mind that his catering will be done by Tanaz Godiwala, menu post to follow. It was obvious that the Parsi Bhonu would be Non veg with Non veg starters. We finally decided we wanted everything in our reception to stand for our union, a mixed marriage of Parsi and Maharashtriya. I wore a Gara to the Civil ceremony. So in the reception I walked in a Paithani and changed into a French lace white saree to show my acceptance of my husband's Parsi culture. 

I was still looking for someone good for the Maharashtriya menu and since majority of my family is veg we decided to have a Veg Menu and Veg starters. Out of the blue came a recommendation by Dr. Mohsina Mukadam, anthropologist and food historian and who can ignore that kind of a reco. I trust her sensibilities for they are much like my own. She insisted I try Ketkar Caterers, she also mentioned that his matar karanji is to die for. I went to meet him, after a quick brief about what I wanted; he waved a magic wand and saw me off with hot samosas and Dalimbi Usal packed for home.

That tasting got him our reception catering and yes Matar Karanji had to be on my menu. When I told him I wanted a pangat he was thrilled. He would be doing a pangat after a long time. He almost called me a revivalist. A pangat is a traditional Maharashtriya sit down meal where servers coax you to eat till you burst. Its the 'agraha' that makes all the difference, he said. I knew I had trusted my reception catering in good hands. We agreed on a traditional Maharshtriya menu that everyone would love. 

Love they did, both the Parsis and the Maharashtriya! Proof is in seeing.

There was a counter serving shev puri and masti chaat which drew the crowd, it always does, doesn't it?

That was my keli cha paan or banana leaf meal. A few things are missing on it like the chutney, pickle etc.

The Maharashtriya Keli cha paan had :

  1. Matar Karanji - Peas in pastry crescents ***** I gobbled up quite a few, flaky crusty and delicious totally!
  2. Kothimbir vadi - Cilantro savory fried cakes **** Crisp on the outside and soft inside, just as it should be.
  3. Dalimbi Usal -Vaal / field bean in coconut curry) *** I would have loved this to be thicker in consistency.
  4. Bharli Vangi - stuffed baby brinjals **** These babies were good.
  5. Sukki Batata bhaaji - dry yellow potato bhaaji **** Dependable always, nice hinga-mohri podni.
  6. Puri  and phulka- fried bread and flat bread ****
  7. Steamed rice ****
  8. Varan - yellow dal *****
  9. Masale bhaat- Maharashtriya pulao **** 
  10. Sol kadhi - Indica garcinia coconut milk curry ***** This was a total hit!
  11. Kesar Mewa Shrikhanda- thick yogurt based sweet with saffron and dryfruits ***** Thick, lickable and loaded with nuts.
  12. Gulpoli - a jaggery and chickpea dough stuffed flatbread **** Its a rare appearance on wedding menus and many guests flipped over it.
  13. Chana chaat 
  14. koshimbir- Maharashtriya salad
  15. Ghee, lime, stuffed n fried green chilies, pickle, papad, green chutney
  16. and Pista Kulphi to close.
I have rated each dish and the 5* are my most favorite.

And we finally sat down for the meal. Exhausted and too tired to eat. We just tasted the food and wished it was someone else's pangat we were sitting at so we could have relished slowly. Its really not possible to enjoy in your own wedding reception when all you want to do is rest after a long day and anxiety.

The Food was fabulous and the service was lovely too. Thanks to Girish Ketkar of Ketkar Caterers. Anyone booking his catering please invite me so I can enjoy his food in a relaxed mood.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

The Yellow Glow Of The Turmeric and my Halad Menu

What's a bride without the glow of turmeric? Even though we were going to have a civil ceremony to avoid all religious ceremonies my Mama and Mami insisted I have a Halad ceremony in the village.

On the day of the Halad I was taken to Varsoli to perform a special pooja at the Khandobacha Darbar and get blessing for the wedding to follow. Khandoba being our family deity all our auspicious beginnings are with his blessings. Then we visited the Thaleshwar, Bhavika Devi, Vithal and Tulja Bhavani Mandir in the village before going to our family God's abode. You see me setting out for darshan.

After the darshan 5 married women applied halad to me at the Family God's. Following it I was taken to the Holi platform in the village and then to our Kalkai's (Kali) home. Before finally sitting down to a halad at my ancestral home. 

A lot of fun was had by the village women. Each one applied turmeric on me and blessed me. I offered Oti to all the women who attended. Oti is a gift set consisting of a blouse piece, coconut and halad kunku in the minimum. I also added a Koiree (rice-turmeric-vermillion box) and packed all of it in a Batua. I had ordered the batuas and blouse pieces done in beautiful Kantha work all the way from Shantiniketan from 'Suryabartta' an enterprise run by my blogger buddy Sayantani's Mum, Mamata Mahapatra. Go ahead order from them that would support the artisans directly.

None were allowed to leave without eating. The menu for those fasting as it was Sankashti was 

1. Sabudana Khichadi
2. Wafers
3. Malai Pedha
4. Cold drinks, soda

While for the majority who were not fasting it was 

1. Rice 
2. Pivli dal
3. Gavar batata bhaaji
4. Chavali chi bhaaji
5. Lasun chutney
6. Pickle
7. Pheni (rice papads)
8. Koshimbir
9. Puranpoli ( made by the AnnaParabrahma team led by Kavita) 

The Puranpoli was a total hit. Guests ate it and even took home. That's why I had requested for it to be packed in singles.

The Halad ceremony touched my heart for I was among the people who love me and who care for me.

Monday, February 01, 2016

A Koli Weds A Parsi

Did you see this headline? Oh yeah we made history, a Koli tied the knot with a Parsi ! Just kidding ;)

After knowing each other for almost a year, we finally decided that a partnership for life looked feasible. So here we are AC and me all decked up.

My maternal uncle and aunt hosted a beautiful Halad ceremony for me in Thal which was attended by all my relatives and friends from the village. Which was followed by a civil ceremony. Then a reception for all our friends and family in Mumbai from both, the Koli and Parsi sides.

I will share the menus of all my ceremonies separately as I know you would be most curious about it. The reception food represented both the communities. Watch out for it :) :)

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