Being a part of festivities and fervor always lightens up my spirits and the reason for it’s ascend is the gastronomical delights that are in offer during these celebrations! And being in India, opportunities are immense which transcend religion and creed.
Ramadaan is one holy month when I , along with like minded friends set out to Mohammad Ali road or Minara Manzd which is near Crawford market in Mumbai. This was my third year in a row that i visited the street on 16 June ’17, a Jumma day ( Friday) @1930 hrs and could not stop feeling amazed at the congregation of people who reach that place. The hustle and bustle in the streets cramping us for even a breath did not deter us from entering the streets and added to the excitement. We inched forward glancing through the gourmet delicacies in the lit up street mesmerised and immersed in a chaotic spiritual atmosphere.
We started our food trail with “Hyderabadi Haleem”, the special dish of all prepared during Ramadaan. This dish is made from mutton and is cooked through the night and in the process the meat gets so well blended in a paste like consistency that it imparts a totally different flavour of the combination of lentils, spices and meat . Garnish of fried onions and ghee rendered it an enticing look! It was really an exotic and royal dish cooked by the expert cooks.
We then tried “Khichda” which is the other variant of a combination of lentils and mutton but the mutton pieces were in chunks unlike Haleem. To add to the tanginess, a dash of lemon was added which further enhanced the taste of it. We had to self-constrain on the portions of our food since we had to taste it all – many exoticas were waiting !!!
It was then time to try something challenging for a few of us!!! Our first exotica was the “Bheja Fry” which I had used as a language only in the colloquial sense and not as food. The first nibble of Bheja Fry flabbergasted all the taste buds and the I felt heavenly. This dish had to be consumed more and we had a go at it and forgot our self-constraint. The other dish which followed was literally from the place where our taste buds resided – the “Zabaan” and it was “jabaan fry” on the plate. Though some of us were reluctant in gorging into it initially, we all had a go at it after the adventurous tasters had given a thumbs up. The taste was “Zubaan allah”with Pav to go with it.
It was then time to have a proper sit down meal. So we landed at “nihari express” where after waiting for about 10 minutes , we managed to squeeze and plonk ourself on to the plastic chairs provided by the restaurant. It was like winning the Musical chair for all of us. We ordered “Nalli nihari” and “Mutton chaap” with gravy and it tasted out of the world with “Khameeri roti”. We had to our hearts content and quenched our thirst with a chilled Toofani Thanda- our Thums up. What a deadly combo it was.
It was time to seal the journey with the famous mithai that are made on the live counter at the galli. We had malai laddoo, badaam milk, phirni and maal pua . To watch maal pua being fried was an experience in itself . The colours came alive from the boiling oil!!
Some of us packed some stuff for home and then we left at 10:30 pm. It was truly a Gastronomical delight for all of us.