Hello Friends, hope you all are doing great! First of all let me wish you Ramadan Mubarak! May this holy month bring you peace & bless you with health, wealth & happiness.
The month of Ramadan is a very special month for Muslims round the world. It is the holy month of fast from dawn to dusk; increased offering of prayers, having pure thoughts and refraining from eating and drinking.It is believed that the Quran was first revealed to the prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w) during this month on “Laylat al-Qadr
”, more commonly known as “Badi Raat
”, considered the holiest night of the year. Worship on this night is equivalent to more than a 1000 nights of worship.
During Ramadan, my day begins as early as 3.45 in the morning with a pre-fast/ pre-sunrise meal called “Suhoor” or “Sehri”. After an entire day of prayers and fast, food and beverages, otherwise known “Iftar” is served at sunset to break the taxing fast.
This fasting ritual instils values of patience, modesty and spirituality. The wicked soul hopes to be a little less wicked during this period and learn to follow some of these modest values.
Just as every cloud has a silver lining, the eagerly awaited day of “Eid al-Fitr” is my silver lining. It marks the end of a testing period of successful fasting and the start of a grand celebration.
We are still a couple of weeks from this splendid celebration; however, the daily “Iftar” is no less than any celebration and there is no better place in the city to enjoy a meal than the iconic “Mohd Ali Road”.
|busy street during Iftaar
Just like other popular eating hot spots within the city, this place does not need an introduction. During Ramadan, Mohd Ali Road transforms itself into an illuminated paradise adorned with food and sweet stalls, a heaven on earth for food lovers. The roads leading here are extremely congested with clothing, accessory and food stalls spilling out onto the road; these remain open until the wee hours of the morning. Almost impossible to miss is the excellent artistic work in the arches of Minara Masjid which stand out from among the neighbouring ancient buildings.
|One of the stalls at Mohd.Ali Road
I decided to visit early in the evening hoping to avoid the thronging crowds that gather here to break their fast, alas, it was not meant to be!! Walking sideways and avoiding being shoved over, the heat from the coal grills along the sides only worsened the conditions. The sight of succulent looking kebabs being cooked over a fire and freshly prepared malpuas flying out of giant kadais were the sole motivating reasons to keep pushing through this over-crowded junction.
The most prominent stalls here are the ones selling Dates (Khajoor). The cheapest to the most expensive, the thinnest to Maal Bhara, a wide assortment is easily available here. You can actually count “50 shades of Khajoor” 😛
Fast is usually broken with dates followed by prayers and then meals. It is believed Prophet Muhammad broke his fast with three dates and as such has been followed suit ever since. However, there is a scientific reason associated with the tradition of eating dates to break a fast. While fasting, a person’s body sugar levels can drop and cause a headache. Dates are an excellent source of fiber and sugar and help the body recover better.
After nibbling on a few dates, I quickly headed over to a kebab corner to calm the hungry soul craving within. The sight of light coloured, succulent kebabs being cooked over crackling coals and the mood uplifting aroma is enough to test the sternest resolve.
An assorted range of kebabs; hara kebab, malai tikka, chicken tikka and reshmi kebab were quickly ordered off the menu and just as quickly wiped clean off the plate.
Another meat delicacy was waiting in the wings; the Shawarma.
The beautiful rotating pit of chicken meat had me drooling the moment I set my eyes on it. Shawarma consists of meat shavings stuffed inside lavash bread, topped with French fries, pickled beetroot juliennes & mayo. Priced pretty meagrely, this Lebanese delicacy is a complete steal.
For those with an elephant-esque appetite, just a few metres away stands the famed “Noor Mohammedi Hotel”, another one of my favourite picks on the Mohd Ali Road stretch. One of their specialities is the “Chicken Sanju Baba”. Legend has it, the recipe for this dish was shared by film star Sanjay Dutt.
Thick chicken gravy is served with a single chicken leg piece. Ordered Tandoori roti to go with which is served in a cane thaali, which helps keep it warm and fresh. The chicken was soft and succulent and the gravy was flavorful with spices.Priced at Rs.100, “Chicken Sanju Baba” is enough to satiate the cravings of one person.The restaurant has posted the recipe of the dish on its walls for it’s patrons to try at home. Ensure to try it yourselves and share your experience.
Nalli Nihari is also another popularly ordered dish at the “Noor Mohammedi Hotel”. It is a stew consisting of slow-cooked beef along with bone marrow mutton. The melt-in-the-mouth mutton along with the aromatic spices is what rates this dish highly.
Having wolfed to my heart’s content, it was time to move on. As TheWickedSoul preaches, no meal is complete without a dessert.
Thewickedsoul has a sweet tooth like no other and she certainly ain’t holding back in this dessert oasis. My favourite store, Modern Sweets, serves one of the best Malpuas and Rabdi in town.
|Phool Khaja (L) & Nankhatai (R)
I have been visiting this store since my childhood and they still dish out the best mouth-watering sweets like aflatoon , khaja, mawa samosa, rabdi, malpuas and many more.
The malpuas, upto 10 at a time, are prepared using a fresh batter of eggs and maida, deep fried in oil, drained and then drenched in malai rabdi. This sweet calorie loaded pancake is available mainly during Ramadan and is one of the absolute must try’s of the season.
Matka Angoori Rabdi is nothing but malai rabdi with mini rasgullas served in a palm-sized clay pot topped with dry fruits. Every single spoon of this creamy delight is pure bliss.
I was so engrossed in relishing these sugar delights that I forgot my phone at one of the counters. Fortunately, the shop owners were kind enough to locate me and return it back.
You really have to be aware of your belongings; the treats here are enchanting enough to send you into a state of trance.
|Nawab Ayaz Masjid
I trotted down from Mohd Ali Road to the JJ flyover only to gobble on this infamous sugary treat.
You should certainly try Rabdi Jalebi at J J Jalebi if you are nearby.They also serve other exciting sweet meats but none come closer to the Rabdi Jalebi.
The Jalebis served here are towards the darker shades of brown instead of the traditional bright yellow or glistening orange coloured ones. The batter (prepared using Multi grain flour) is poured into dizzying overlapping circles, fried till crisp and then dipped into sugar syrup and served with generous amounts of rabdi on top.
Just like your regular jalebis, these are also crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside, except they hold within them overflowing lava of mawa. (lava of mawa…. Lol)
It is understood that these can be stored unrefrigerated for upto 2 days but why would anyone wanna wait that long?? At Rs.60 for 3 mid-sized sugar bites, these are enough to give one heck of a sugar rush.
There are plenty of other scrumptious delights to feast on around this area; a single visit is never satisfactory. But as they say there is always a next time and another visit toh banta hai boss!
Do share your foodsical experiences from Mohd Ali Road and also how you liked my suggestions.
Until next time,