Celebrating Nowruz with Jehangir Mehta
“The Nowruz dinner is especially meaningful to me, as I am a practicing Zoroastrian and grew up relishing this fare. Today, my love for ingredients and spices is largely influenced by this cuisine, and I look forward to sharing these wonderful gastronomic delights,” says Jehangir Mehta, chef at Mehtaphor and Graffiti, about the Nowruz feast.
Nowruz, the Persian New Year, falls on March 21 and is a time of celebration and feasting. It is a big day for the Parsi community of India. Recalls Mehta about his growing up days in Bombay, now Mumbai. “We celebrated by going over to the same friend’s house every year and there would be about 40 people who knew each other really well – my parents had been going to their house even before I was born! In the morning we would always visit the Fire Temple, and it was great because we bumped into old friends.”
For those who’ve never tasted the wonderful cuisine associated with this culture, there’s a chance to try some of the dishes cooked by Mehta who is hosting “Forgotten Cuisine,” at Mehtaphor. Since this form of Persian cooking is largely restricted to the 70,000 or so Zoroastrians in India, it is relatively unknown even to other Persians. It’s a good chance to see Mehta’s interpretation of this ancient cuisine.
So what’s on the menu? Calf Brain Crostini, Tomato Cinnamon Chutney, Okra Eggs En Cotte, Banana Leaf Green Chili Steamed Cod, Apricot Braised Lamb with Shoestring Potato, Spicy Tomato Shrimp, Cumin Rice, Lentil Puree. Semolina Almond pudding provides a sweet ending to this festive meal.
‘Forgotten Cuisine’ is part of the global NY dining series at Mehtaphor and at subsequent events Mehta will be highlighting Chinese, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Jewish cuisine. It’s a 6 course tasting menu with paired wines. Details here So let the feasting begin!