Ramadan or Ramzan is a Muslim celebration of when the Quran was revealed to the prophet Muhammad. Fasting is necessary for Muslims who aren’t sick, elderly, menstruating, breastfeeding, pregnant or travelling. It’s one of the famous Five Pillars of Islam.
My Muslim friends fast from dawn till dusk, and don’t have sex, eat, drink, or smoke. They spend a lot of time in prayers (Salat), along with reciting the Quran, doing charity and good deeds.
But for me, and most other Mumbaikars, or Bombay locals, or Indians who call Bombay their home, the most important is the Iftar. While Muslims fast most of the day, they are allowed to eat during the Suhur which is before dawn and the Iftar which is after dusk.
So like any normal Bombayite would, we went to the infamous Mohammed Ali Street which is one of the famous khau gallis one evening this June to participate in this month’s Iftar. Traditions are important. We try to participate as much as we can. Some of my friends go every day to Mohammed Ali Road and enjoy the food and delicacies during Ramadan.
Mohammed Ali Road, South Bombay
We get to watch the embers from the shigree in slow motion. Or maybe my camera is in slow motion? But it’s lovely, except for the embers that land on my sleeve and my brother’s pants.
We then pass a store on the way to Mohammed Ali Road where they’re making delicious Malpua, and serving it with mawa rabdi.
We finally reach Mohammed Ali Road and go past the barricades that are meant to leave the vehicles outside.
Anyway, we get onto Mohammed Ali Road and find a lot of litter. But this is Mumbai now, so how can you not find litter.
The Ramadan Iftar Crowd in Bombay or Mumbai always contains people of every sect and religion. Here, we can see so many diverse citizens here just to partake in Iftar.
An assortment of food and more food, with seats for some patrons and place to stand for the others.
Yes, there’s a shop for bread. It looks like a regular shop that runs throughout the year instead of just for Ramadan or Ramzan.
There are stalls that sell dry fruit and sutarfeni for Ramzan. I’m not sure if this guy is posing because we’re taking pics or what 😉
And when he moves we get a better pic of the dry fruits. Dates, anjeer, cashewnuts, almonds, and more… And not to forget the heaps of brown and white sutarfeni. Mmm!
And then there are the stalls with the chicken and mutton rotis and rolls, with and without eggs. Lush! See the guy cutting the onions in the left corner and the eggs stacked right there? Yes, that’s my hand in the pic. Forgive me, it’s really difficult to get pics in the middle of the throngs here.
And then there’s phirni, traditional sweets made of rice, milk and dry fruit.
There are a range of barfis. My favorite from the storeSuleiman Usman Mithailwala is the black currant barfi. This store is open all year round, not just at Ramdadan.
And there’s always so many more sweets to try.
Of course, you have to remember that it’s the monsoon, and raining a lot. We’re drenched to the full, so take most of our loot home to eat. It was delicious as always. And no, I’m not going to show you any pics of the sweets we took home. You can guess 😉
Khau galli in Jogeshwari, Mumbai
This year we also visited the Khau Galli in Jogeshwari. It’s known for iftar food. Maybe not as famous as the one of Mohammed Ali Road, but still good. The food tends to get over quickly though, with lots of people buying. So best get there at least an hour before iftar. If you need the exact location, it’s Sahakar Road near Jogeshwari Station, opposite Bostan Hotel. (Yes, I know the spelling. It’s not Boston like the city, but truly Bostan.)
Anyways, we got there about 45 minutes after the sun had set, and already many of the stalls had shut down. There were a few that claimed to stay open from iftar till sukhar, but the little food they had left, it hardly looked likely.
We started with the large oily puris. Puris or pooris are deep-fried Indian flatbreads that are usually saucer-sized, yummy and oily. But the puris at Ramadan are more communal. Here’s the kid measuring ours. It weighed in at 900 grams. So INR 140. (They were selling at INR 40 per 250 gms.) One puri is more than enough to feed 5 to 7 people, depending on how much you eat.
The orange bit on the left is the infamous orange suji halwa. (Suji is the Indian term for durum wheat middlings.) We didn’t buy it though since we had recently enjoyed a lot of the orange halwa which we got from Nagpur on our way back from Pench Tiger Reserve. Plus, we make our own custard powder halwa at home often too.
Right next to the puri guy was the chicken shawarma, which we didn’t try since it’s available throughout the year. There were a few others eating it though.
We then reached the next stall. One of the guys was still putting the shutters up after the rain.
They had a yummy boti masala and brain masala. See the guy on the let concentrating on making some? Definitely got some of that. 😉
I just love how this pic turned out. So why not share?
Okay, back to business. On the skewers hand tandoori chicken legs, malai chicken, reshmi chicken, and pahadi chicken legs; followed by boneless tandoori chicken pieces, malai chicken, reshmi chicken, and pahadi chicken pieces.
And finally the kiri and kaleji. Yep, yummy goat udders that taste like marshmallow and soft goat liver that are loaded onto skewers (local name seekh or shig) and fried over the warm coals. We also got some kichda and biryani. Forgot the pics. Oops!
No meal is ever complete without sweets. So here they are. The fresh hot malpua being fried by one person, then being lathered with rabdi and rolled by another. These guys had a malpua that tasted a bit different than other malpua; more like pudding instead of the usual rubbery texture.
Next are the phirni pots. We got some malai and mango phirni. And finally gulab jamuns. Yummy!
There are a few more khau gallis in that are frequented during iftar. Maybe we’ll catch up at one of them the next time?