Food Pit Stops – A Ramzan Walk in Mumbai Continues …

Mohammed Ali Road. Isn’t it a nice coincidence that you are walking down the very stretch that offers the best Ramzan food in Mumbai? Yes, a food stop is highly recommended. In fact let’s make it two food stops because the food at Bohri Mohalla is noticeably different from the fare at Minara Masjid.

A word of advice. As you walk down the food lanes, all the food stall owners will step into your path and try and lure you into their roadside digs. See, nod, smile, and move on. Walk down the stretch because there are many treats. You can sample many kinds of food or choose to sit somewhere.

At Minara Masjid, the signature dishes are the grilled and barbequed meats, skewers of gurda (kidney), kaleji (liver) and boti (succulent meat chunks), grilled batér (quail) and bheja (goat brain) fry. And do dig into the nalli nihari, which many stalls offer but Noor Mohammadi Restaurant is the place you should try it at. Don’t get carried away, keep your appetite for the second pit stop.

Marinating chicken legs, yellow roof – love the colours!

A fan gets the kebabs grilling

Rolls and what looks like a stack of omlettes

Gurda, kaleji and bheja sizzling on a tawa

A shawarma stall owner, bored and tired of the routine

Quail masala simmering on a tawa

The Bohris are known for their culinary skills and a subtle Guajarati influence creeps in to their cooking. So while you may find pav bhaji (surprise, surprise) next to grilling meat, make no mistake you are here for the meat. The must have in Bohri Mohalla is the “Bara handi”, twelve pots containing thick gravies of different hues which simmer for hours. Try the paya (trotters), nalli (marrow), pichda (ox tail), topa (ox hump) and boti. Surti Bara Handi and Valibhai Payawala are masterful in the art of the “Bara handi”.

End your feast with calorie-laden delights such as malpua (a rich pancake), firni (rice pudding) or hand churned sitaphal (custard apple) ice cream.

 The malpua man strikes a regal pose

Malpua, the eggless variety and served without malai (cream)

And some more desserts …

Suttar Feni, a sweet flaky dough that’s served garnished with pistachios

Couldn’t quite get the name but never mind, another colourful sweet to indulge in

Firni, soft gooey wickedness

However, if there is one food that you must try during Ramzan then it’s the Khichda. This 1000-year-old dish that has its origins in Arabian cuisine has equal parts of labor and love that go into its preparation. Made from meat, broken wheat, an array of lentils, milk, saffron and spices, all the ingredients are simmered slowly for as long as 12 hours over a wood fire until it becomes almost porridge like. It is served garnished with caramelized onions.

This rich, one dish meal is usually eaten in the morning by the devout because it keeps them nourished through the day. Jaffer Bhai’s Delhi Darbar serves the best Khichda I’ve eaten on this trail.

Khichda, a variation of Haleem and a cousin of the Harisa

Check out a “Quick guide to Enjoying Ramzan in Mumbai” on CNNGo

Want to read more about kebabs and niharis and bheja fry? Click here:

The insulted nawab vs. the toothless nawab

Eating in Mumbai’s most dangerous neighbourhoods

40 Mumbai foods we can’t live without


18 thoughts on “Food Pit Stops – A Ramzan Walk in Mumbai Continues …

  1. I was looking around for recipe of khichda and caught hold of ur space! malpuas really grabbed my attention! I came back again to check which place 🙂 Loved the way you write! would check out other posts of yours

  2. Malpua in Delhi is a lot smaller and served a little differently (dipped in sugar water) but being born in bombay means i want mine served with Cream. Any recommendations for places that serve the best Malpua…or jus the regular street vendors around Muhammad ali road?

    • Go to the Bohri mohalla off Md Ali Rd – you can ask anyone for directions. You get some of the best malpua there

  3. Brilliant! And such fantastic memories of our annual pilgrimage to Mohamed Ali road during Ramzan! Thanks for the photographs – I can almost smell and taste the food! Sadly, too far away now but I live in hope as I trawl the back streets of East London looking for a version of ‘khau galli’!

  4. Love the way you’ve captured the essence of Ramzan cooking. Love gurda & kaleji. Fondest memories eating at Noor Mohammadi; not the most glamorous but undoubtedly the most delicious fare x

  5. Seriously, he took pix of every step of the cooking process… he loves taking pictures of food. He took some divine ones when we went to eat at Olivier Roellinger’s restaurant in Cancale. The aromas were amazing and so now we’ve decided we have to cook at least once a week on the barbecue. What was really flavourful was I was aksing Pascal to roast tomatoes (from a friend’s garden), jalapenos and serrano chilies, garlic with the skin on for a slata mechouia and instead we just used the tomatoes directly into the mutton and the flavour was simply richer, tangy-sweet and they melted into the rassa instead of chunks. Ended up being mroe like a braised dish…

  6. Sanjiv, I’m counting on you giving me a proper tour of the areas you write about. Yesterday because we’re sans power due to Hurricane Irene, Pascal and I cooked Andhra style goat curry on the barbecue. Le Creuset pots are great on the barbecue, and we were roasting fresh tomatoes to add to the gravy. Simply yumtious with the wind blowing, and sipping a nice glass of Macon Chaintre in the back garden.
    Naan bought from the Kabab House completed the meal… As our son said, “What do the Herve-Samants do during a hurricane? We cook up a storm!”

    • that must have been delicious, a double yumm yumm! you should have taken a picture of the food in the storm. and your son’s comment – haha 🙂

    • Uju! How can I get in touch with you? Email address? I have been thinking about you and Pascal a lot lately and wondering where life has taken you two since the days back in Syracuse. I was doing a search for you on Facebook and came across a link to this webpage. If you see this, please reply here – I would love to get back in touch with you guys!

      Christi (Splonskowski) Ritchie

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