Farokh Talati has always wanted to share Parsi food with the world, his long-held goal being to open a Parsi restaurant to share the traditions and innovations of the cuisine he loves. And it was this very desire (and the luxury of time afforded to him during the pandemic when the London restaurant he worked in, St. John Bread and Wine, closed its doors) that compelled the chef to publish his first cookbook, Parsi: From Persia to Bombay, earlier this month: a collection of recipes and images that combine the cultural traditions of this small Indian ethnoreligious group with his own community of creatives and cooks in London.  

The journey of the Parsi people, a group of Zoroastrians who fled persecution during the Arab conquest of Persia in the seventh century, brought them to the shores of India—and has since continued all around the globe. Talati credits this worldly mix of influences for the exciting array of flavors he writes about. “We’ve got such unique flavors from the Persian side of the cooking—the saffron and the dried fruits and spices and the pilaus and gently stewed meats,” he says. “And then going over to India, you mix that with the fish, the coconuts, the chilies, the stronger spices, that masala paste, and wow. It is undeniably delicious and fragrant and tasty—that’s the thing about Parsi food. Maybe I’m biased, but I feel it’s undeniable.”

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Mooli, or mooro as it is known in Gujarati, is a member of the radish family. The long, white root has a fresh, earthy flavor and is popular in east Asian cooking. I love this salad because everything about it is fresh, crunchy, and juicy. The fresh herbs provide a delicious contrast against the freshness of the mooli and cucumber, and the pomegranate brings a sweet pop.

Ingredients1 mooli (about 25cm long) 1 cucumberA bunch of mint1⁄2 bunch of tarragon1⁄2 bunch of dill1 pomegranate2–3 teaspoons turmeric pickle200ml lemon and cumin dressingPomegranate molasses, for finishingSea salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepperMethodMoolis come in all sizes—if yours is particularly large, slice just enough to match the length of your cucumber. Then slice both the mooli and cucumber into wafer-thin slices using either a mandolin or a sharp kitchen knife.Pick your mint leaves and give them a few good rips. Pick your tarragon and dill, keeping the leaves whole.Cut your pomegranate in half and hold it over a bowl. Using the back of a wooden spoon, give the skin side a few short, sharp taps—the seeds will fall out pristinely.In a large enough bowl, mix your mooli, cucumber, herbs, turmeric, and half the pomegranate seeds together with a few glugs of dressing, a healthy pinch of salt, and a few cracks of black pepper. Give everything a good toss to coat it all in the dressing, adding more if you feel the salad is running the risk of being dry.Place the salad on a large platter and top it with a few licks of pomegranate molasses. Scatter over the remaining pomegranate seeds to finish.

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