The one time you need to keep your dietary restrictions, finickiness and Google maps away!

There are two things you must have if you want to go and sample all the Ramzan delicacies at Mohammad Ali Road in Mumbai. One, is of course, an appetite; because in the spirit of the festival each stall owner will try and stuff you to the gills. If you refuse they take it as a personal insult, it is hard not be endeared by their generosity and love for food. Two, you need to have the ability to throw away all the concern for hygiene, etc. If you’re one of those who wants street food cooked in mineral water then you are looking down the wrong alley, literally!

So having said that now, let me proceed to tell you about this year’s encounter with the Ramzan delicacies.

It is like some kind of a pilgrimage, an annual tradition of some sorts, that I need to carry out. Perhaps it’s my dad’s legacy that I’m carrying forward or maybe it is just the plain ol’ love for food. But whatever it is, these little things bring me immense joy.

After our trip to MA Road last year, the husband and I turned wiser. How? We knew exactly what we wanted to eat and it seemed like the stars had aligned accordingly too! The cabbie that I got on my way home from work was also observing Ramzan. I asked him if he could take us there, because in my 15 minute ride home he gave me delicious little nuggets of information, but he had to rush to break his fast. Thankfully the Rain Gods didn’t play spoilsport this time, I told you, the stars were aligned.

We got off at Shalimar Restaurant and walked right up to the big mosque at MA Road and plunged into one of the bustling lanes. Just this time, we put our phones away. No Google maps, we chose to let our sense of smell be the guide for this journey.

It was like an attack of aromas. We could make out the smoky aromas of kababs, the mouthwatering samosas and the sweet smell of the various desserts. So we began with some simple Chicken Tikka and a Kesari Kabab, the former was simple and spiced just right. The latter was something new for us to try, it was intense but not overwhelming, the kesar was subtle and that is always a good thing.

As we finished with our first round my senses were in for another aroma attack – this time it was of something being fried. One of the things I wanted to have was the chicken samosas, of the patti variety. I told you that the stars were aligned, didn’t I? So as we walked away with our formerly hungry tummys satiated with kababs, I spied this hole-in-a-wall kind of stall which was selling all things fried. Normally, I would have just taken a deep breath and walked past but this time I knew I couldn’t just walk past. So the husband and I decided to taste the samosas. Oh man! That crackle of the patti (outer dough of the samosa) and that juicy, spicy chicken filling. If I could have one of these every day then I’d be a happy girl. Sigh!

The husband wanted to sample some Seekh kabab with paratha, now the paratha in question is not the one that’s fried on the tawa. This one is a deep fried version which is almost like a puri, it is often served with kababs. Yes it does make for an artery clogging meal option but come on, when you are celebrating a festival it always helps to stay true to the tradition, especially if the tradition has something to do with food! So the seekh kabab was everything a good seekh kabab should be – moist, juicy, mildly spiced and delicate without falling apart. Yum!

Now after all this feasting we were beginning to feel a little full. I would have loved to try some khichda but I knew I wouldn’t be able to do justice to it. So I knew we had to head for dessert. I also knew what the husband wanted – Ande ka Malpua. This is not something I would eat so I went in for plain and simple Gulab Jamun. But the Malpua piqued my curiosity, I watched fascinated as the guy in front of this gigantic kadai expertly mixed the batter, poured it into the hot oil and coaxed it to brown evenly before serving it hot with rabri. Simply marvellous.

I wish I could have gone back to MA Road there would have been another adventure waiting in the wings and another story to tell. But for now, I’m happy with the memories. Till next year then! Eid Mubarak!

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