Ramzaan Reminiscing

17 Jun

First and foremost, Ramzaan/Ramadaan Kareem to each of you. I realize that this holy month started a while back, but here I am, hopefully still in time to wish you the very best of it, which winds up with a beautiful Eid and lots to learn and reflect about over throughtout this auspicious time. Being a non-Muslim, Ramzaan still holds quite a bit of significance to me, as does Lent, even though I am a non-Christian too. More than it being about food, which is just one factor that has made Ramzaan stand out in our world view for a lot of us, it does bring to perspective so much that we often either are too busy to see and acknowledge in and around us or that we simply just take for granted.

The last time I wrote about it was in this post here, as the time for me to leave my home city was nearing. I remember mentioning how our upbringing played a notable role in our perception and perspective towards other ways of life and living. Thanks to my mother, we grew up in the company of her friends who practised different religions, and whose ways were so different and yet so similar to our own. Some of her friends, who by society and family or by adoption, belonged to a certain religion and either practised it very actively or observed their respective religion minus its many rituals, while some didn’t participate in the active practice of it at all. It was a healthy mix to grow around, which also assisted in us forming our own ideas about religion, practice, understanding, and most importantly, about tolerance. My brother and I, owing to our school and our social interactions, do similarly have friends just like our mother does – some practice, some don’t, some remain spiritual while some believe to not make that a definitive part of their identity at all.

This is my first Ramzaan away from Bangalore. I remember the first time a friend and I decided to go to Mosque Road and MM Road specifically, to check out what all this fanfare about the holy month was, back in 2011 if I’m not mistaken. And so we went. When I look back, the first thing I remember thinking and feeling was a sense of awe and disbelief; because here was this same road I used to pass on a daily basis which was now alive and bustling with people and stalls, its air bursting with the aroma of grilled meat that makes you salivate instantly.That was the first time this concept of having stalls brimming with all kinds of meat, along the entire length of the road came into place. I hardly remember seeing such an event like this before, unless I’m forgetting.

If you love meat, then this is your place to be. I don’t think I even remember the varieties of meat on offer. Of course a lot has changed from 2011 to now; what with it becoming more commercial, hyped and accessible to a larger crowd. The first time I went, I remember not being jostled around as much while I ate my treats in peace. Today is a different scenario altogether, but one that still must be experienced. I won’t be surprised if it’s on Bangalore’s tourism guide, really. Here are a few pictures from the first time I went there; and of some of my favourite things to eat.

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One of my all time favourite meat treats is a good, juicy, bursting with flavour seekh (stick) kebab. It’s a must have if you’re interested and I promise you won’t be left disappointed.

Beef seekh kebabs One of the most melt in the mout

The first time I went, I tried my hand at seekh kebabs made two ways – one that was grilled (in the first picture) and one that was pan fried (in the picture above). I’d always had the grilled one all my life, but this particular pan fried version stole the show, really. I’ve tried looking for this man who made them but haven’t been able to find him since the first time. He was so confident I’d ask for another plate which also probably added to how delicious it really was – soft, juicy, packed with flavour and oh so tender.

Seekhs over embers just the way I dig them )

On trying the mutton and beef seekh kebab versions, I favoured the latter by a great deal. Sometimes ordering a mutton seekh kebab can be a risk because the ones I’ve had so far were either dry or lacking in flavour. The beef ones blow your socks off, in every measure and I highly recommend them. Besides, a plate of mutton seekh kebabs can range anywhere between 100 bucks and above, while an explosive plate of beef seekh kebabs can be as less as 35-40 rupees. The last time I ate a really good plate, which was last year, I remember paying 60 rupees for it.

Chicken satays coated with vermicelli (semiya)

MM Road will also be filled with truck loads of chicken dishes, should poultry be your choice of meat. These chicken satay sticks are quite delicious if you dunk them in a dipping sauce, without which they’re quite dry and lifeless.

Seekhs over embers )

But once you’ve had that mind-blowing seekh kebab, it’s hard to turn to a chicken dish, to be honest.

Beef mince pies

Another delectable snack was this meat pie that was zomg smashingly good. I remember having some on MM Road and packing some for home as well. Lip smacking is an understatement.

I love the variety available at MM Road – it’s nothing short of a gastronomic roller coaster ride. From chicken to quail to other game meat to camel, beef, lamb, mutton, veal to offal, desserts, thirst quenchers and more, this place has it all.

The stalls usually function full-swing around the time of iftar, which is around 5pm onward. It’s best to go empty stomach and really try not having lunch, either. It helps you pig out more minus feeling sick later.

Last year, we stumbled upon this roadside cart selling Arabic tea which was the bomb because it not only hit the spot (it was raining outside plus having a milk product after a particularly spicy meal reduces the heat factor drastically), but because it also had a sugar factory in it which sort of ended up being my dessert, sadly. But if a small cup of very sweet tea is not your idea of a dessert, like it isn’t for me, then do check out their dessert spread. It’s a tough choice to choose from their puddings and sweetmeats such a chaand ka khajur (which is my favourite), shahi tukda, among many, many more. If you’re feeling too full but would like to have a sweet bite, do indulge in the dates that are on display and sale from around the world. The ones from Jordan specifically, feel like a puffy melt in your mouth cloud once you bite into them. Divine.

But, if you do have space, hop over for some kulfi from Bombay Chowpaty which is right next to the mosque. They have a variety of flavours which helps soothe the fire that’s blazing in one’s mouth after all that gluttony.

My order to go

Come rain or shine, slush or too many people, iftaar at MM Road is an experience to have. I haven’t ventured towards the Shivajinagar area because MM Road has everything and more. I urge you to give it a try because there’s nothing like savouring a piping hot, tangy and tender plate of beautifully cooked kebabs in the company of friends, rain and that celebratory atmosphere in general.

PS, please do give this gem from our beloved Savoury a try sometime. You’ll go back for more if you have tummy space, I promise.

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The blitzing of lemon, mint, soda, water and sugar has never felt or tasted so delightful ever before. Pair it with your meat dishes, and you won’t be left with a sore and tired stomach the next day.

What are your favourite Ramzaan treats?

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6 Responses to “Ramzaan Reminiscing”

  1. anyone4curryandotherthings June 19, 2016 at 12:04 PM #

    what a lovely name, but do you know what “Babuschka” means, ……old old lady with headscarf over her head…..and you are certainly no Babuschka :) :) :) Like your Blog – follow you now and have also past it on to our eldest daughter in Bangalore!! Thanks.

    • Babushka June 19, 2016 at 6:20 PM #

      Hi and welcome here, Carina :)

      Thank you for stopping by and participating + sharing this. :)

      Looking forward to hearing from you more.

  2. The Girl Next Door June 20, 2016 at 2:45 PM #

    We went to Mosque Road last year, just to photograph and experience the huge spread of food there, at around 7 pm. We were stunned at the variety, honestly. We didn’t eat anything, though, because we are vegetarians and everything there was hard-core non-vegetarian. You are right – the spread is on Bangalore’s tourism guide now, it seems. There were so many, many people there, just to sample the delicacies, photograph them, and just soak in the experience. We even saw people leading tour groups there.

    We did have some amazing, amazing fruit cream at Bombaysthaan there – https://thegalnxtdoor.wordpress.com/2015/07/08/more-foodie-discoveries/. Have you had it any time? I strongly urge you to try it out some time, if you haven’t already!

    Wow, you do seem to have grown up with a mixed religious group! So lovely to have something like that growing up.

    • Babushka June 21, 2016 at 10:17 AM #

      Wow, fruit cream brings back so many memories. :) I’d love to try it some time. And you guys should give their kulfis a try. However, I hear that the fare has now shifted to Bannerghatta Road and is not at Mosque Road, anymore. :)

      • The Girl Next Door June 21, 2016 at 4:54 PM #

        Kulfi where? Bombaysthaan?

        • Babushka June 21, 2016 at 7:49 PM #

          I don’t think it’s called Bombaysthaan. It’s something Chowpatty on MM Road.

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