Not all blogs and videos about Ramzan have to be titled in Urdu, nor should have a Sufi background score, but we still do it, yours truly included. It’s been about three years that we make a trip to savour the haleem and the kebabs. For two years in Bangalore, Mosque Road in Frazer Town was the place to go when Ramadan started. I graduated last year and shifted back to my hometown. Pune. I knew for a fact that the scale of the foodstalls in Pune was incomparable to that of Bangalore. We really were left with a very few options, since places like Delhi and Lucknow were out of reach.
Like most people’s Goa plans, our Hyderabad plan failed miserably.
Initially, we planned to make a weekend trip to Hyderabad, try to hog as much haleem and patthar wala gosht as possible, but Indian Railways had other plans for us, and that got dropped. Fast forward a couple of weeks, and we found ourselves make our way under the JJ Flyover in a kaali-peeli amidst the chaos and confusion that the Mohammed Ali Road was, that night.
Finding where all the food that night was easy. You could trust your nose, or you could spot the maginificent Minara Masjid. It is from this point, that #foodgasm starts. The place is filled to the brim with people. On each side, hundreds of stalls adorn the place. The smells and sights of the whole place made us so hungry, that we just went and sat at the first empty table we saw. We ordered a plate of malai kebab and tandoor chicken. I won’t go into the nitty-gritties of food technically, since I’m not qualified enough for that. I, however, will talk about what I went through, my experiences while gorging on the meaty delights.
The first round had begun. A plate containing Malai kebab, and another containing a full tandoor chicken arrived at our table. In this age of #foodgasm, photographing your food has become a necessity. Not everyone prefers to lug around their heavy DSLRs, and this has given way to an exponential improvement in mobile phone cameras, and I digress. Malai or cream dominated the flavour and the presentation of the kebab, and that was it. The tasteless cream did not infuse any flavour into the spice-less chicken. Apart from the feeling of biting into the muscle, there was absolutely nothing. I diverted my attention to the blood-red tandoor chicken. I squeezed some lemon over the spice-dusted tandoored to perfection piece of chicken. One bite into it, and I was in my special gastonomic heaven. A 700 INR bill followed this, and we promptly left the place after paying it up, making a mental note to eat at cheaper places henceforth.
Since this was going to be a part of the second ‘season’ of ‘Kitna Khayega Be’, a ‘series’ I made after hearing a taunt after a long food hunt/walk in Ahmedabad with my college mates, we decided to try out everything that was being sold on Mohammed Ali Road. Pranav spotted a shawarma-walah, and all of marched down to his little stall. ‘Persian chicken shawarma’ announced a little makeshift signboard. In about three minutes, he handed us our shawarma. Yes, we shared ONE shawarma in between the three of us to make space in our stomachs for the food to come. In between my first and second bites into it, I made a mental throwback trip to Dubai. It reminded me of the one I had somewhere near the JBR. Once I was back from my trip, we made our way to the Haleem stall.
Haleem. This dish had eluded me for almost two years. I had been craving it after having it for the first time in Bangalore in 2016. The meat stew gives me the feeling of being in Hyderabad, a city that I love. Kyaa daawat miyan! I had a very good feeling about it. My pre-concieved notions got confirmed. Is there any place above the aforesaid gastronomic heaven? Because this was way above it. The rest of the dishes went off in a whiff, and I was left reeling in the nostalgia of the haleem I had consumed barely twenty minutes ago.
We had a couple of desserts too. Firni- Kesar and Malai, and the Falooda and a type of a rice cake. I couldn’t have the malpua, because I wan’t supported by my mates- Mayuresh, Chinmay and Pranav, and I was sure I couldn’t finish it by myself. Oh, and we also bought malai jalebi which Mayuresh left somewhere. Uhm. 😛
Ramzan comes once a year, and this Ramzan is probably going to be my last one in India. I feel I have made the most of it. As the last few days remain, I wish everyone Ramadan Kareem!