Ramadan Kareem to those who observe this holy month of fasting.
My recent blog feed has some fabulous posts that were a visual delight as many fellow bloggers have been posting for Ramadan.Some focussing on various street eats,special hotel buffets and tents while others cooking up a storm in their kitchens.One such post on Facebook brought back recollections of a fantastic experience from last year.
Mumbai has an eclectic and vibrant neighbourhood that comes alive around Ramadan every year. These by-lanes of Mohammad Ali Road,Bhendi bazaar and Bohri Mohalla are abuzz with food vendors and street stalls.This is perhaps one of Mumbai’s oldest and significantly iconic neighbourhood’s that reverberates fervent activity at sundown and can quite rightly be named the old Muslim quarter.Wandering down these lanes can turn into a delightful experience for the senses as one revels in the array of street food and small eateries that serve up some finger licking good food.
The Bohris are a relatively small a community of Muslim businessmen , many of whom reside in an area of Mumbai called Bhendi Bazaar. One of the streets there is called Bohri Mohalla and is one of Mumbai’s foodie haven indeed. Although the street is at its busiest during Ramadan, food lovers can still have a fantastic gastronomic experience around the year as well.
My sister who has braved a walk down these streets on numerous occasions was quite insistent that we absolutely trek down here some day.You could even turn it into a great blog post she said.Well it was decided and we ventured out on this culinary trail,husband in tow,especially since the carnivore in him just came alive with the mention of all the Meats,Biryani’s and Kebabs.
Our taxi drops us at Bhendi Bazaar as the husband spots a signage for Tundaay Kebabs.A relatively small and fuss free place,undoubtedly serving up the best Shammi,Galawatee kebabs and Paranthas in this part of town.And that is what we precisely order.The plan is to keep hopping at each street stall and sample a variety that each place specialises in.Well Kebabs it is.These are extraordinarily soft and absolutely melt in your mouth kebabs.Oh the joy of digging into these was just amazing.
- Tunday Kebab:
Shami Kebaba,Galawati Kebabs,Laccha Paranthas,Mint chutney and onion rings at Tunday Kebab.
Our next pit stop for yet more kebabs is Zaika. The sight that attracts us most to this place is the that of juicy chicken tikkas and succulent seekh kebabs being threaded onto the skewers,all ready to be grilled into the hot coal tandoors.We settle for some seekh kebabs that are served between bread buns along with some chopped onions and a fiery mint chutney.My sister recommends the flat mutton kebab that comes served in a bun and wash this down with a cummin flavoured chilled drink that works as a great digestive.
Seekh Kebabs,Kebab bun and Kashmira Masala Zeera Soda at Zaika.
We are armed with a list of some more legendary must do places and hence our mission is to keep moving to the next stop.Having sampled an array of spice ,we spot JJ Jalebi wala and decide to indulge in some piping hot Jalebis and are surprised to find that this places has a lot more delectable sweets as well.We notice hordes of little pots of Phirni (rice pudding) Mango Shrikhand and Kulphi (ice-cream) too.Keeping in mind that we still have a few more must visit places we decide on sharing a plate of piping hot jalebis and settle for the irresistible Phirni.
4.Surti 12 Handi:
Foodie aficionado’s had mentioned Surti 12 Handi over and over again and hence an integral part of our trail.This family owned business hails from Surat,Gujarat.The concept consists of various meat and chicken dishes are slow cooked in 12 Handis or 12 vessels.We manage to navigate our way around, with much thanks to my sister who seems to quite effortlessly guide us through these bustling bylanes. We arrive at an absolute no frills place which has a couple of tables and chairs set out.We just sit outdoors and partake in the dishes cooked for the day.I would term the experience here as a gastronomic delight.We order the Nalli Nihari (slow cooked beef with bone marrow ) along with some hot tandoori rotis.The meat is very tender and falls off the bones.The curry is just perfect too and paired well with the roti’s.Slow cooking brings out the flavours of the meat and allows its natural juices to combine with the spices.Each dish is cooked for atleast 8-12 hours in large vessels which are then placed in earthern oven and cooked for 8-12 hours.
Presumably all culinary trails around Bohri Mohalla must culminate at the ultimate destination namely, Tawakkal Sweets.Quite rightly so, as this place is very popular with the Bohri community.Their specialities include Gulab Jamun’s,Mango Phirni’s,Sweet samosa’s and other assortments.I was eyeing the Malpua’s (sweet batter fried pancakes with condensed milk) with Rabri and some Dhoodhi Halwa (Bottlegourd pudding)
Our Culinary trail down Bohri Mohalla turns out to be quite a revelation.The eateries here portray a diverse food culture that is quite typical to the communities that reside here.The cuisine show cases the religious and social cuisine habits of various communities which make up Bohri Mohala. Our trail, not only expose’s us to a variety of food, but also daily life and the hustle and bustle in this chaotic part of the city. I also had ample opportunity to take some great photographs.We were all quite satiated with our walk and the variety we sampled.
I came away feeling inspired and exhilarated ,perhaps with a sense that there was still so much of Mumbai that I had yet to visit, explore, and experience.
Do you enjoy Culinary walks? Would love to hear of your experiences too.