Every Parsi worth their papeta pur eedu (and I make mine with chips too) will tell you that on Sunday you have to eat very little breakfast. This is followed by one or ten glasses of shandy at beer o’clock which starts approximately at 11am. Then…and only then…will Mumma call out “JAMVA CHALO NI….”
Like a herd of hungry vultures (no disrespect intended) the family, and usually some friends/ pretend friends / friends that show up miraculously only at DHANSAK time, descend on the table. They heap their plates with steaming fragrant fluffy fantastic brown rice. Some of the greedy goombas steal all the caramalised onion on top and we don’t like them (those people, not the onions).
The heady smell of the meal really hits you as you then flood your rice with ladles and ladles of daal and mutton. Oh the mutton! And there’s no way you could serve this without kachumber. And frilly cutlets… as if there was not enough meat on your plate.
I want to let you in on a little secret. Meal time is the only time, and I mean the ONLY time you will hear silence in a Parsi household. The talking stops, the jokes stop, the laughter stops, the nagging stops, heaven forbid, even the swearing stops. It is only once the first round has been near licked off the plate that you will even hear a word. And it’s usually to plan the next meal.
I want to let you in on another secret. Or maybe it’s just something Walrus does. To finish your meal you must serve yourself the daal only and using a wedge of lime as your spoon, slurp-wipe your plate clean.
After a meal like this you are usually powerless to move. Many a Sunday afternoon has been spent in a food coma, a slightly intoxicated state that results from eating the quantities we do. So charge your (shandy) glasses people, and without further ado I present tonight’s recipe. Dee x
And for the die-hard recipe follower…or if you don’t find dhansak masala in your town…here’s how you can make your own. I’m not sure who stuck this recipe in my book, mum has no idea either. If someone recognises the writing, please let me know.