Iftaar celebrations begin with the best!

The holy month of Ramadan is a favorite for the many foodies which includes me. All the food looks so tempting and yumm even though we don’t abstain from it whole day. My school days in Pune during Ramadan were incomplete without a visit to the Shivaji Market area to taste the variety of food from kebabs, curries to desserts.

Was browsing through the internet and came across the iftaar celebrations food hosting on Authenticook at Kalyani Nagar. The place being close to my house, I decided to not miss this opportunity and registered for the Authenticook Iftaar Bohri Thaal hosted by Rizwana. The menu looked promising and the cost was worth-it which was Rs. 1050/- per person.

We reached the venue by 7.30 pm sharp so that we don’t miss out on anything and I also wanted to meet and interact with the other foodies who were coming. Rizwana and her daughter welcomes us with some dates which are normally used as a start to breaking their fast during the day.

The host – Rizwana’s house was neatly kept and she had perfectly laid it out to give an authentic feeling to hosting a traditional bohri thaal.

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Next we had the refreshing watermelon cooler which in collaboration with the lovely aroma arising from the kitchen, increased our appetites.

After some discussions on various topics right from our introductions till the cuisines each of us were passionate about, we went and took our seats on the floor so that we could surround the thaal well and each of us could have a good reach to the food.

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Before placing the thaal, the hosts placed a steel stand on top of which the thaal can be placed. We were then each given a towel to wipe our hands after washing them in a chelamchi lota (a kind of basin and jug).

 

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We were first served the fruit custard since as a tradition, the meal is always started with a sweet. I found this common to even the south indian tradition and if you look at it scientifically, its good from a digestion perspective to start the meal with a sweet since it contains glucose and it helps break down the food consumed after it thus promoting easy digestion. The custard was not too sweet and it tasted lovely with all the mélange of fruits like sweet lime, mango, pomegranate and apple. It also had a layer of jelly right under the glass which was again perfectly sweetened and went well with the custard.

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The thaal was then placed on the steel stand and it first consisted of the smoked mutton kheema samosas, the nargisi kebabs, mint chutney, cucumber salad.

We were then asked to pick a pinch of salt from a small miniature bowl which the youngest member from our group had to offer to all of us. The pinch of salt helps cleanse our palettes and gets us prepared to taste the food really well.

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Kheema samosas are a personal favorite to me and to be honest with you, when I read the menu I decided to register, thanks to the kheema samosas. I am so glad I did this, since the kheema samosas were a great hit.

The nargisi kebabs were an India Bohri version of the very English scotch eggs. The outer cover was seasoned just right and was tender. The inner portion had a boiled egg. It went well with the mint chutney. The only thing I would do is call them koftas instead of kebabs because of the shape, but then “what’s in a name, when my tummy is happy”.

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On being done with the starters, we were served the grilled chicken drumsticks and French fries. The drumsticks though not traditionally bohri, it was the hosts special recipe. The drumsticks were cooked well and were succulent. They had an Asian twist to it with dark soya sauce which could be tasted while relishing them.  It was a good one but yes not part of the bohri cuisine.

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Through the meal, we foodies couldn’t stop our chatter while we clattered on food and like they say foodies connect, we could just about connect on any topic anyone bought out.

Another side dish which was worth the mention was the channa bateta – a traditional bohra snack comprising of spicy chickpeas and potato. Its almost like a ragda chaat and a good healthy snack option.

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The next on the thaal was the khichda with paranthas. The khichda was soul food and had a great simplicity to it with the wonderful taste of ghee and the caramelized onions which went well with the slowly cooked wheat, lentils and the mutton. This was not a big favorite of mine since it was a bit too bland for me.

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With our stomachs full, we still decided to shake ourselves and make some space for the malai kulfi. It looked delicious and it tasted just as its name – creamy and cold.

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We all were satisfied after the meal and had some paan mukhwas after the kulfi. The authenticook meal experience was surely a wholesome one and not only helped us experience a traditional bohri thaal but also got us to socialize with like-minded folks from different walks of life.  We thank the hosr Rizwana, who was on a faast the entire day and then also put in efforts to make the evening special for all of us with her wonderful masterchef skills. Kudos!

I think such experiences are totally worth-it and hence all of us bid adieu to each other on a promise of meeting again at a home cook off experience.

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