Mancherji- A tryst with Parsi Culture

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Mancherji, located at 14 Kyd Street Kolkata – 700016, is a place that will come to you as a shocker. Why, yes it is a restaurant which serves ‘parsi’ cuisine with a lot of pride and joy. Most foodies, we included, like to experiment and explore cuisines and this led to ‘Mancherji’- the parsi restaurant in Kolkata. There are no ostensible interiors to boast about, but the place will impress you with its food which is made under the strict supervision of the lovely parsi couple who run the place.

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Since we ourselves had no clue about the parsi culture and it’s food- we struck a conversation with the couple who run the place. Needless to say they were quite accommodating.

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On suggestions made by the owners, we ordered a plate of ‘chicken dhansak’ and ‘chicken farcha’.
Now, chicken dhansak is a curry made of three kinds of dals, pulped vegetables, and a careful selection of spices dear to the parsis. It is served with a plate of brown rice and a portion of green salad. Coming to the ‘chicken farcha’, it is basically an egg based batter fried chicken with a parsi twist- the twist being the way it tastes, subtle hint of spices and the rich flavor of the juicy chicken. Although the flavours are alien to our taste buds, it is a pleasure to have them- ‘a new’. There were a number of alluring parsi delicacies on the menu but owing to the generous quantity we could not stomach anything else.

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But like they say, ‘there’s always a little corner for some dessert’, and so glad there is- for we were treated with mouthwatering parsi custard which is known as ‘Luganu Custard’.

Mancherji or the only parsi restaurant is not one of those clichéd fancy places where one gets fancy food with even fancier prices. At Mancherji’s everything is served with love and care of a mother and the place is run by a prudent father. Here food is what you write home about.

An excerpt from our hour long conversation:

How important is fine dining in the parsi culture?

Fine dining is a very big part of parsi culture. Normally in our parsi bazar, within an hour or so the entire market is swiped empty, you’ll hardly get anything later.

Where has this cuisine originated from?

All the techniques and cuisines have come all the way from Persia. But, to a large extent, the dishes are Indianized now with the local spices.

So, do you face any difficulty in maintain the original flavors?

Parsi food is basically very rich in spices and heavy and most dishes are mutton-based. This really increases the cost of the food. So, we try to bridge that gap by making these dishes chicken based with the same ingredients.

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