Glad I moved beyond Mohammad Ali Road this Ramzan
Most of the world celebrated Eid on the 20th of August this year. Eid marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, also known as Ramzan. World over, Muslims observe fasts and offer prayers during Ramzan. These fasts, that involve refraining from consuming food and liquids, are observed from dawn to dusk for 29 or 30 days, depending on the visual sighting of the crescent moon. At sunset, Muslims offer a prayer and break their fast. This fast breaking meal is known as ‘Iftar’.
Being a foodie, the month of Ramzan, is something that I look forward to every year; only for the Iftar. Every year, I make it a point to treat myself to at least one Iftar. Mumbai has endless number of places that offer excellent Iftar food; the most well known being Mohammad Ali Road and Bohri Mohalla. There are no two ways about the fact that these places offer an insane variety of Iftar food, so tasty that it could out do the best chefs in the world, at throwaway prices. However, for someone living in the suburbs like me, Mohammad Ali Road and Bohri Mohalla are extremely far away.
After treating myself to Mohammad Ali Road early this Ramzan, I set out to discover more places across the city, closer home. With almost no help from google (there wasn’t much information available) and a hungry stomach, I set out to Mahim and Jogeshwari, looking for a good Iftar. The logic behind going to these areas was the heavy Muslim population in both these areas and to my surprise, I struck gold at both these places. Undoubtedly, these places were much smaller compared to the South Mumbai eateries, but I promise you they were no less varied.
Balamia Road, opposite Mahim durgah, in the lane beside hotel Midland, is where Mahim’s khau galli is located. Known for its baida roti and khichada (and rightly so, both the dishes are unbelievably awesome,) the lane is said to offer foodies every kind of meat available.
Chicken Vada Pav was the most unusual dish available at the khau galli. It’s something that looks just like a regular vada pav, but with chicken instead of potato; tender and juicy, cooked to perfection. In addition to the chicken tandooris and the mutton kababs, another striking feature of this khau galli is that, this place does not disappoint vegetarians. The vegetarian options being chana chat and dum aloo. My favorite of the two was the dum aloo; with just the right amount of spice, the aloo was cooked so well, it almost melted in my mouth. The best part of the Mahim food experience however was the khichada. Khichada is the Indian equivalent to Pakistan’s haleem. A mixture of various daals and meat cooked on a slow flame served with a dash of lemon, garnished with mint and deep fried onions, the khichada at Mahim’s khau galli was undoubtedly the best I have ever eaten. Amidst all the chaos, I wouldn’t be lying if I said that I found peace in that bowl of khichada.
The khau galli has a wide variety for those with a sweet tooth. Right in the middle of the lane, there are a few stalls selling halwa-parathas; not exceptionally good, but worth trying in my opinion. Maybe it was the chicken vada pav and the khichada that increased my expectations form the halwa-paratha or maybe it was the atrocious neon orange colored halwa that just made it less appetizing. My pick for desserts at the khau galli would be at the Usman Suleimanbhai Mithaiwala located close to Paradise cinema. The shop offers fresh, hot, sizzling malpuas; so huge that three of us struggled to finish one. Dripping off ghee and leaving trails of it on your fingers, this is not something you would want to eat if you are health conscious. Apart from the malpua, the place also sells excellent firni. The firni, also available in mango and kesar flavors, was creamy, milky, warm, not too sweet; just right.
After my Mahim experience, I headed to Jogeshwari the next day. The lane opposite Boston hotel near Jogeshwari station, S.V. road, was a mini Mohammad Ali Road; crowded and full of stalls selling delicious food, that looked as good as it smelled and tasted. From seekh kababs to halwa puri, from chicken cutlets to phirni, Jogeshwari did prove to be an amazing fooding experience.
Nawabbhai’s humble little stall sells probably the best boti kababs and tawa parathas in the area. Served with spicy green chutney, the steaming hot kababs melted in my mouth almost immediately. Seekh kababs, in my opinion were better at my all time favorite Farid Seekh Kabab at Behrambaug, not too far away from Jogeshwari station. Soft and so juicy that you can actually squeeze the juice out, spiced and cooked (on charcoal) to perfection. Farid’s Seekh kababs taste best with lemon, onion, the spicy green chutney served along with it and a bottle of ThumsUp brought from a nearby shop. Jogeshwari also offers excellent tandoori chicken and bheja at Munna’s stall, located close to the station. Though he is open till the wee hours of the morning, most of his stuff gets exhausted a little after midnight.
Jogeshwari’s food stalls offered some brilliant desserts as well. My favorite from what I ate there would have to be the halwa puri. Being one of my most favorite desserts of all times, I devoured the halwa puri I ate at one of the stalls located in the very beginning of the lane. Steaming hot and not too sweet, the halwa, garnished with dry fruits, tasted excellent with the freshly fried puris.
Over and all, I am happy I moved outside Mohammad Ali Road and Bohri Mohalla this year, and discovered some places I was totally unaware of. Jogeshwari and Mahim did offer me some unparallel gastronomic experiences. The best part about these places, apart from being close to home, is that most of these stalls are open through the year, which means, I will not have to have to control my khichada and malpua cravings for an entire year before I get to eat them during Ramzan.
My only disappointment with both these areas was that I wasn’t able to find their equivalent for Mohammad Ali Road’s Taj ice creams’ hand churned strawberry ice-cream.