As soon as we enter the barricade around 7:15 p.m, we heard the azan (prayer call). It was time for people to break their roza (fast) and start munching on all the delicious food all around them at the very famous ‘Mohammad Ali Road’.
The environment was electrifying and it looked almost like a carnival. People came in in tens of thousands and why shouldn’t they? Just one more reason was added to list of reasons to be here: It is Ramzan!
We started off with trying the ‘badami haleem’. Now, the special thing about this is that it is available in Mumbai at Mohammad Ali Road only during the month of Ramzan. Although a very famous and regular dish in Hyderabad, it is not so common here in Mumbai. Special stalls are set up every year and some of them are by people who come over from Hyderabad specially for providing us Mumbaikars with this ultimate combination of mutton, pulses and dry fruits. The Haleem is usually cooked over night for about 8-10 hours in huge vessels. No wonder the taste is so good. Neither the mutton, nor any of the other ingredients are overpowering. The blend is just perfect. A must try while you still can!
Next up was the Bhandoli.
Now unlike the haleem which was on the savoury side, bhandoli was much on the sweet end of the spectrum and tasted pretty much like French toast. Having been made from coconut milk and egg-based batter, they were soft enough to break easily and good enough to eat more than one. They had a yellowish colour with a smooth texture and the tasted a bit sweet. What’s more interesting is that the stall where I had this has been there since 35 years, that too only during Ramzan.
The next place seemed familiar but it was not what I was expecting. Here was a Bademiya which opens up only during Ramzan and is famous for its chicken soup and goat tongue fry and soup. Having tried the Jaban fry, I wasn’t really satisfied with the taste of it. Though it was cooked well and maintained the softness and taste of what a goat’s tongue should taste like, the quantity of lemons used seemed a bit too much. You could skip this one if you want to.
After this we moved to the stall which sold mawa jalebi. These jalebis were not orange in colour because no colours were being used in preparing them. They were rather dark brown in colour. The taste was nowhere like the jalebis we have but it was more like gulab jamuns. They tasted like a gulab jamun had been fried and pass over to you to eat. They are a speciality of Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh. A must try!
Moving in to another area which saw merely a tenth of the crowd, we came across Noor Mohanmadi Hotel which supposedly sells a dish named chicken Sanju Baba as actor Sanjay Dutt had created this dish. M.F. Hussain used to be a frequent visitor at this hotel too. It is also famous for its nalli nihari and the white chicken biryani.
We stopped at Idris Cold Drinks which is popular for its soda and milk-based drinks. I highly recommend you trying their varyali soda which is green in colour and tastes like Absinthe for the non -drinkers. Probably the most refreshing drink I’ve ever had. This shop has been here since around 25+ years now.
No matter what you do, DO NOT miss the Chicken Kasturi Sandwich at Jinali restaurant on Pakmodiya Street. This will probably be the best chicken sandwich you’d ever try. If you aren’t stuffed after having this, try their chicken baida roti. The-melt in-the-mouth sensation will leave you spellbound.
Moving on, we stopped at Surti bara handi which is famous for its Paya dishes. It is also famous for its nalli nihari which is a dish made from the bone marrow of the goat. It is called Bara handi because there were supposedly 12 vessels which contained different dishes initially when they started. The other story goes like there were 12 spices and ingredients which were used for making these dishes.
Next was the most filling thing you’d have: Malpua. We ordered the single egg malpua with black currant and mango malai. The malpua and the malai made the perfect combination. The single egg malpua was big enough to serve two people. It was yellow in colour and had a sweet taste. It comes in three variants: the single egg malpua, the double egg malpua and the eggless malpua. The eggless malpua is the smallest in size; the double egg is the biggest.
Our last stop was ‘Taj ice cream’. The specialty of the place is that the ice creams over here are not made with the help of machines. Yes, they are still made by hand! The fruit-based ice creams are more natural than the ones you’d get at any other ice cream chain. The guava-flavoured ice cream tasted like te fruit itself.
With this, the amazing food walk came to an end. Not only did I enjoy the food, I was also left amused by the fact that there was so much I did not know about my very own city, Mumbai. If you guy are interested in similar walks and would like to know more about your city, check out Khaki Tours.