Ramzaan

10 Jul

So, the great holy month of Ramzaan is just about here. In fact I thought it commenced last night but just learnt that it, in fact, starts tomorrow. But I’m all ready and in the frame of mind to talk about it here and so let’s begin! And before I begin, Ramzaan mubarak to everyone out there. May it be even more enlightening and spiritual.

For me, a non-Muslim, Ramzaan stands for different things of course. And if you know me well enough by now, you’d make the right guess and say Ramzaan centers around food for me. Yeah, that’s right. Food. Yum! Always. I haven’t ever observed Ramzaan or the rituals that surround it until only a few years back. Yes, I do have friends who follow Ramzaan and I have just been an observer who never really participated in it except during Eid. And then over the years, I began attending Iftar festivities at friends’ places, which are what are wholly responsible for making this a foodie opportunity for someone like me. I use the term festivities because every Iftar I have attended has been nothing short of festive. And even though this is a month of abstinence in more ways than one, apart from many other things, I’ve never, ever had an Iftar that could be termed as anything but festive. I remember there been innumerable dishes, nothing heavy of course, that just got replenished infinitely. I swear. I have no idea how the food vanished and how a new platter of everything amazing replaced it in seconds. Iftar always featured meats of different kinds, fruits, dry fruits, faloodas, desserts and chai; sulaimani (black lemon tea), to be precise. And it was and always has been such a pleasure. I’ve always looked forward to Iftaar. Iftaar time is such a God send!

Anyway, over the past couple of years, Ramzaan has seen me go on quite the street food binge. Come Ramzaan and you find stalls with food crazy folk like me go absolutely nuts. It has become a tradition to head to these stalls during Ramzaan and get myself a load, to satisfy my soul and retreat into what can only be termed as an awesome…(I forgot the word!). This is what thinking about food does to me! Gosh, darn it! Anyway, here are pictures from the first time I ever went on this street food binge, two years back. Pardon the picture quality, I was clearly distracted.

I can hear my stomach flip out on me but one’s got to do what one’s got to do, right?

I began my food journey at the beginning of the road and I don’t think I will ever regret that decision. These are by far the best seekh kebabs I have ever sunken my teeth into. They are seekhs of a different kind because they’re pan-fried and oh.my.beautiful.god do they melt in your mouth. I cannot remember how many I ate. Also, I do not eat beef and it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a Hindu. But this is an exception I make once a year because they are just delightful.

Beef seekh kebabs One of the most melt in the mout

I went back the following year, and I looked all over for this old uncle and his son (I assume) but couldn’t spot them anywhere. Sigh. I will not give up this time. Find them, I must. Snarf down piping hot seekh kebabs made by them, I must, must, must!

I tried these out next. I think they’re kalmi kebabs. And they’re just so tender and juicy and flavourful and beautiful. And because meat cooked over coals trumps meat cooked in any other way for me, these ones are a winner all through.

Kalmi kebabs

And then I saw these babies. Seekhs on coals and of course I had to have them. Seekh kebabs and I go long back. I think my first memory of a seekh was back when I was a child. I remember my father bringing home such beautiful seekh kebabs and my memories of them will always be as flavourful. I found them so spicy back then and cried my eyes and nose out while eating them but savoured every morsel nonetheless. They were that good. These were a teeeeeeeny tiny bit drier than the first batch I’d had but that was just a negligible difference. These beauties are heavenly!

Seekhs over embers )Just look at them sizzle and become perfecto right there! And the aromas? You don’t want me to get started on that! Sigh.

Seekhs over embers just the way I dig them )

And then I went to a different guy and had more seekhs because you know why!

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Oh mama! Could I eat them right from off the screen?

My order to go

*just one more day*

And then I gave these chicken satays a try. They’re crispy on the outside thanks to not just the vermicelli outside but also because the meat has been flattened. They’re pretty tasty but really stand no chance in front of the Mighty Seekh!

Chicken satays coated with vermicelli (semiya)

And then as you walk by, you see tubs (and I mean tubs) of grilled chicken. Sometimes, if you have a crazy imagination like mine, you imagine yourself being Joey (from F.R.I.E.N.D.S) who sits in that tub and eats that chicken? Hasn’t happened to you? Oh, it didn’t happen to me at all! I didn’t imagine a tub full of chicken around me at all. Nada!

So I did feel tempted enough, despite the number of seekhs I’d consumed, to give this a try. Yummeh!

Tubs of grilled chicken to suit your level of spic

These are beef mince patties. And they are wonderful patties. These patties make me happy. These patties make me see rainbows. Seriously, these patties are so worth a try. Juicy, succulent, flavourful and oh.my.god so good!

Beef cutlets slurp

And these. Beef mince pies. OH.MY.GOD. They’re like explosions in your mouth with each bite you take. I love the flaky pie crust and the juicy meat inside. I love them! Love them a lot!

Beef mince pies

It’s clear that I like my meat. I am, however, a stickler and not a complete foodie because I do not eat anything and everything. I steer clear of brains and livers, etc, etc. I think I must define what the term foodie means to me just so we’re on the same platform the next time. A foodie to me is someone who loves eating, whose time is largely spent dreaming of, thinking about or consuming food. To me, being a girl especially, being a foodie means you NEVER count those calories. There, I said it!

Now that we’re clear, I was saying I’m a meat person. I steer clear of desserts unless my stomach needs one, in which case I head over to have a kulfi at the most. I love desserts, but they don’t feature on my list of things to snarf down during this time. Also, I love chicken but not so much when it’s during my Ramzaan binge sessions. Maybe that’s because beef tastes so good and that I only have it during this period? Either way, life’s a pretty rainbow during these evenings and if you’re in the city, you really must go.

I usually head to MM Road, off Mosque Road in Fraser Town. I hear the stuff’s great around the Shivajinagar side as well, but I don’t venture there at all. Give these a try. They’re an experience.

I hope to make a trip again this year. And I hope to have interesting updates as well.

Ramzaan mubarak once again, peeps!

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