Friday, August 24, 2012

On the sweet trail news

During Ramadan, the Minara Masjid lane on Mohammed Ali Road, Mumbai, turns into a foodie’s fairyland with delights to treat incurable sweet-toothed souls, says Swetha Amit, who visited it one evening as the devout were feasting after day-long fasting  

It’s a road that is less travelled on normal days. However, the Minara Masjid lane in Mohammed Ali Road during the month of Ramadan is jam-packed and turns into a sparkling street of joy that spells lights, laughter, mouth-watering delicacies and more. We experienced the vibrancy and warmth exuded by the folk of the sweet street during our recent visit. Being residents of South Mumbai, India, it was easy to access this place via a cab which took us there in 15 to 20 minutes.

Glimpse of the castle: Post a hard day’s work; this was an outing we looked forward to, to liven up our tired souls. As we drew closer, we got a glimpse of the mesmerizing Minara Masjid adorned with dazzling colourful lights. The resplendent sight reminded us of a castle right out of Grimm’s fairy-tales. 

The festive fervour: The street bustled with activity. The shop vendors had placed chairs outside their tiny stalls. Busy as bees in creating Iftar (evening meal when Muslims break their fast during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan) dishes, they were multi-tasking: hurriedly chopping vegetables, preparing piping hot dishes and catering to the demands of customers. 

The great Ramadan feast: We seated ourselves at one of the stalls. After a warm welcome, our orders were taken down in a jiffy. From the varied vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare available, we ordered ‘baida roti’, which was flat bread filled with white flour and egg. The other recommended dishes were potato and chicken rolls. Kebabs and pakoras, served with hot green chutney, were aplenty. The ambience made the meal even more enjoyable. It was not a plush five-star setting; however the continuous animated chatter and toothy grins of the waiters made it a memorable evening. After a sumptuous feast, we headed towards the sweet shops.

The sweet tooth syndrome: Colourful displays of sweets set our mouths watering. We were transported back to our childhood when we would hover around sweet shops hungrily gazing at delicious-looking goodies. The vast variety was a treat to the senses. The most famous amongst these were the heavenly malpuas, pancakes made from milk and flour and served with a generous helping of saffron milk on top. It melted in our mouths and we blessed the soul who invented the delicious dessert. 
The next speciality offered to us was the phirni, another popular sweet made during Eid. This rich, creamy dish is a must-have for milk lovers. Saffron phirni and almond phirni were the flavours on offer.

The shopkeepers also recommended a sweet called the meetha idlis, which were white in colour and resembled mini pancakes. Other sweets like jamuns, jalebis and halwa were on display as well. A few shops even sold cakes as an option. However malpuas and phirnis ruled the roost when it came to popularity.

The stroll at dusk: After giving in to the cravings of our sweet tooth, we strolled around. It was fascinating to see how the sleepy lane came alive during the month of fasting and feasting. It was a season where class, caste, community and religious restrictions were shed and everyone was welcomed to join in the joyful feasting. It is the most sought-after location during the holy month of Ramadan.

Ramadan coincided with the monsoon season this year. However, it didn’t dampen the spirits of the young and old from venturing out for a fun-filled evening. We headed back to the main road to find ourselves a cab home and the Minara Masjid twinkled on, radiant as ever.

How to get to Mohammed Ali Road
For residents of Mumbai: One can take a cab if residing in South Mumbai which would cost around Rs30.
One can take the train to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, if residing in the suburbs, and take a cab which will get you there in 10-15 minutes.
For non-residents: There are several flights available from most cities / countries to Mumbai. It’s a one-hour drive away from the domestic / international airport subject to traffic.

Price to pay: One can get their money’s worth of food. All items are reasonably priced and don’t burn a hole in one’s wallet.
A plate of baida roti: Rs30-40
Rolls: Rs30-40
A plate of pakoras: Rs20
A plate of kebabs: Rs40
A plate of malpua: Rs60
A plate of phirni: Rs35

Other guidelines:
  1. Being a conservative area, one is requested to dress modestly.
  2. It is advisable to go post sunset to enjoy the atmosphere and spirit of Ramadan.
  3. One needs to keep in mind the thronging festive crowds.


Blogger R.Ramakrishnan said...

Ramazan is a wonderful colorful celebration with mouth watering & delicious array of dishes. Your great and captivating narration makes one yearn to travel to this exciting place !

5:28 AM  
Blogger Whirlwind said...

Thanks a lot Rama!!

4:59 AM  

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