A Foodie On A Quest!!!

Ramzan is the holy month of fasting for the followers of Islam but more than that it also calls for absolutely mouth-watering fare of khichda, nalli nihari, mutton samosa, and everything that pleases a foodie. A foodie like me could not afford to miss out on this and hence I headed to the haven of tasty food during Ramzan- Mohamed Ali Road. One can only eat here after sun down that is Iftaar – the time for the fast keepers to break their fast. Women clad in their hijab, nikab and burqas, men donning their traditional skullcaps and kurtas were finding their way to various eateries. Wherever I turned I saw happy faces full and content with their meal; well then the saying should be ‘the way to everyone heart is through their stomachs’ how delightful!
This place I visited is flocked by foodies regardless of their religion for the super yummy food they have to offer and my foodie spirit couldn’t be dampened by the mild showers on that day. I visited Zakaria Masjid Lane which was further narrowed down by make shifts dining area leading to eateries and stalls with a man standing at the entrance of every such dining area ushering people into their dining area. As I walked into this lane the smoky smell of barbeque and kebabs filled my nostrils, numbed my senses and faded away the crowd and the chaos around me.Germophobes or the hygiene conscious would not really be appalled but they should take note that owing to the weather, the roadside eateries and dining area have a comparatively lower degree of hygiene and they can opt for restaurants on the interiors of the lane. Vegetarians will not find much to eat because most of the dishes on the menu consists of meat dishes they can enjoy the paneer o potato version of such them.
My culinary endeavour kicked off with tandoor, which is the Indian version of barbeque in a coal-fired earthen oven. My fare of starters consisted of bater tandoor and chicken kebabs. Bater is a small bird very similar to a quail. It was served to us piping hot with the staple of mint chutney which was rather too watery, slices of onion and lemon wedges. It was an appetising sight and I tore apart a leg it being the most flesh laden part. I could only be overwhelmed by the tenderness of the meat. It was tender, juicy not over cooked done just right and I can say that because I could taste the flavour mixed with the juices of meat deep inside the flesh complementing each other very well. So it was a total must have. Chicken kebabs were served t us next, more or less the Ramzan fare it is small chunks of chicken marinated in red spices and roasted in the tandoor. This I have to confess that the kebabs were not all that great because the chicken was over cooked, slightly greasy and the flavours were just the coating they had not percolated into the meat. The meat was tender no doubt but definitely overdone and when paired with mint chutney which did not complement it well it was a below average, not such a relish after all.
I decided to explore the lane a little more before settling for the main course and hence I headed into the quest of yummier food. A few minutes later I found myself with a Shawarma. It is a tortilla wrap with tiny chunks of roast chicken with dressing of mayonnaise which is commonly used as far as I have eaten. Available all year round the greasy aft based mayo coats mouth from the inside and that’s the major flavour though in some places they add pickled vegetables to give it a sour hint. My eyes ran all over the place and what intrigued me was a tiny samosa cutlet stall. Now traditionally a samosa is a deep fried triangular pyramid like pastry case with a spiced potato filling but after the lady in the burqa, I learnt that they serve mutton samosa, chicken roast, chicken crispy etc. mutton samosa being a Ramzan snack I opted for it available at rs 5 per samosa. As a samosa lover, the first bite into this samosa sent waves of delicate flavours down my tongue. The crust was crispy and the crunch I heard as I took another bite attested to the crunchiness of the samosa. The mutton filling was neither too spicy nor bland nothing unpleasant about it just a perfectly crispy samosa with a delicately flavoured lamb mince filling spreading the aroma into the most intricate nooks and crannies of my mouth elevating my senses . ‘Who needs dipping sauce or any accoutrements with this tiny piece of heaven?’ I thought to myself.
Having my tummy full with the yummy meat dishes I decided to look around for desserts. Malpua and Firni were on my wish list tonight and after seeing a few shops serving giant malpuas I finally managed to find and settle for a stall run by two sisters that served a smaller version and that are exactly what I was looking for. The Malpua was similar to a pan cake only that the malpuas cannot be stuffed with berries or fruits or topped with ice cream. Spongy porous and sweet are the adjectives to associate with these as they got me nostalgic about making my own pan cakes as a child and topping them with absolutely anything that I could think of . They are actually fried on a pan though they hardly retain any oil again though they taste just like pan cakes they have the right amount of sweetness.
Firni was the next and the last thing on my wish list, for a brief description Firni is a pudding made of rice flour, condensed milk, water, sugar and pistachios for the garnish. Various flavours such as saffron, strawberry, blueberry were also available. Strawberry being my favourite berry won over the other flavour to satiate my sweet tooth, served in an earthen pot it becomes my blue eyed child for the night. It had grainy consistency may be the rice flour was replaced by semolina but the taste was not compromised on. It subtly slipped into the contours of my mouth and travelled as far as my mind could. Working to my favour the consistency and flavour left no stone unturned to please my palate. If it was too sweet the after taste would have been horrible and if it was unsweetened it would be porridge but somehow both the desserts were just the right amount of sweet and I absolutely loved the experience to bits.
Although I lacked time and appetite this was better than what I expected, so although not an orgasmic explosion of scintillating flavours it was exactly what I was looking for.


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