Dolly Mumma Indian

Ready-to-cook Indian products

At the market: Most Sundays in the Main Hall

Contact: Rushad & Perzen Patel

Call/text: 027 633 7533 


Instagram: @dollymummanz

Facebook: /dollymummanz

Perzen's Story

Perzen Patel makes delicious ready-to-cook Indian pastes that Rushad sells at Grey Lynn Farmers Market on Sunday mornings.


Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Mumbai. I came here with my mother when I was fifteen.


That must have been a big change after living in such a big city

Yes - it was a shock. I wondered where all the buildings and all the people were. It was my first experience of a co-ed school.


How did you and Rushad meet?

Our parents were good friends so we had met as kids but we re-connected when I was on a 4 month exchange to Canada, while I was at AUT. Rushad was studying in Florida and we linked up through social media and then in person.


Did Rushad come back to New Zealand with you?

He visited a few times and we had a long-distance relationship for a while before I moved back to India to get married. 


How was it moving back?

Food was my biggest challenge because I had never learnt to cook Indian food. As a student in New Zealand I had been more into cooking pasta and European food – I ate a lot of butter chicken.


So how did you cope back in India?

I rang my Mum for recipes and she just gave me long lists of ingredients and I had no idea what to do with them. I had all these pieces of paper so I started a food blog as a joke, making fun of my naivety. That blog turned out to be very popular and it connected me to lots of local foodies and I got lots of helpful cooking tips.


Was the blog successful?

Yes - I knew it was successful when someone asked me to do some catering. I was surprised but Rushad encouraged me to give it a go. I won an award for the blog, but the real benefits were that I learnt to cook and run a food business, and I got to indulge my passion for writing.


Then you came back to New Zealand

Yes – we came back with our two toddlers so that we could be with my Mum. I was delighted to see that the food scene here had become much more diverse and interesting than when I left.


How did you get into your ingredient business?

I knew that I wanted to start a food-based business so I applied to, and was accepted into, the Kitchen Project. They provided excellent training and helped me to focus my business. I wanted to provide the steppingstones that I needed before I learnt to cook. We provide authentic flavours that home cooks can adapt to suit their personal cooking style.


You and Rushad are both Parsi, tell me about that

Parsi is the community of Indians who are descended from Iranian Zoroastrians who escaped persecution by migrating to India. Parsi food is distinctive from being a blend of Persian, Indian, and British food.


Are your ingredients Parsi flavours?

Our Coastal Curry Paste is – it is my grandmother’s recipe. But the other ingredients are more well-known Indian flavours that go beyond butter chicken. We are very mindful that we need to meet people where they are, and build a bridge for them, and gradually pull people into our world.


How does the market help your business?

I like to tinker in the kitchen, but Rushad is a real people person – he loves meeting market goers on Sunday mornings. We love the feedback that we get from our customers. We developed our Cashew Korma because some people told us that they think Indian food is too spicy – there’s no chilli in the Cashew Korma. And a customer sent me a photo of them using our Tandori paste to spice up avocado on toast – I love that creative approach to food.

As published in Ponsonby News : April 2022