Came to know a lovely couple,the Dalals through friends.Kurush Dalal is an archaeologist and a caterer(and a humorous and jolly guy,quite evident from the photo taken by Kalyan Karmakar, above) while his wife Rhea Mitra-Dalal is a freelance content writer and also writes a food blog.
Kurush is the son of the well known author and archaeologist Katy Dalal, who has passed away. It was she who started the business in 1976 and Kurush worked with her till he went away to Pune to complete his M.A and PhD.He then launched Dalal Enterprises in 1998 and there has been no looking back.
While his mother excavated Pre-Harrapan ruins in Northern Rajasthan,Kurush’s archaeology trips have been all over Maharashtra…Revdanda,Murud,Janjira,Vadgaon,Siddheshwar and recently to the Konkan…Chandore.He is able to give time to both food and archaeology thanks to the wind beneath his wings…his Bengali wife Rhea.
Kurush says his inspiration for catering comes from his mother and grandmother who were amazing cooks and a long list of aunts who cooked “real food”
His mother published “Jamva Chaloji”,”Seafood Fiesta” and Vitality (a book on vegetables and their nutritive content and benefits). I have copies of Jamva Chaloji and Jamva Chaloji 2.I am told that the first book had three editions and is now out of print.
The first book talks of Parsi wedding food and the call of the caterer at the beginning of the wedding feast “Jamva Chaloji”…meaning “come to eat”.I like the second book better as it has a lot more history….how Parsis came to India and lived at Sanjan near the Gujarat-Maharashtra border,how Parsis were into toddy farming and the concept of “Gambhars”.Kurush Dalal has catered for one such Gambhar,a community event started to get the people together as womenfolk and kids lived in villages and the menfolk in jungles.Here food is provided free and included Istoo,Papeta Ma Marghi and Dhansak Dal.
She talks of toddy which is the sap of the date palm and it reminded me of the sweets made with date palm jaggery by Bengalis.In her book she has included a recipe of Drumsticks cooked in Toddy.Parsis too used it to make sweets.
In these books,you will find unusual recipes such as Tarkari Per Eda (Eggs on Mixed Vegetables),Mud Fish Patia,Parsi Pora and Bawaji Nu Bhujan (Grandfather’s Barbecued Chicken)
Dalal Enterprises serves traditional Parsi,Bengali and Continental fare like Grilled Fish Fillets,Baked Vegetables in Tomato Concasse,Tuna Pasta Salad,Chicken in Red Wine and Vegetarian Paella.
I tried their Whole Stuffed Roast Chicken which was marvellous.It was plump,juicy and tender….stuffed with mince,apple,sultanas and a whole boiled egg.It was enough for six people!
The Boiled Vegetables that accompanied the chicken were also flavorful unlike the bland veggies that are served in most places.
When ordering,one has to give a day’s notice to them as they buy all ingredients fresh and make the dish.They deliver a minimum of four portions and each is quite substantial.
I can’t wait to try their Dhansak! They have received an award for being the Best Parsi Caterer!
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Rita Jamshed Kapadia has authored "Parsi Cuisine The Manna of the 21st Century" and individual "Parsi Cuisine" series cookbooks with matched digital e-cookbooks.
Rita teaches and demos Indian Parsi Cuisine at Libraries, Museums in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Rita's books are listed here on the website for ordering a signed copy directly within USA OR purchase from Amazon. Please go to the tab for "Cookbooks". http://www.ParsiCuisine.com/cookbooks