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Iftaar of Gastronomical Proportions – Ramzaan Mubarak!

July 2, 2014

When I arrived in Mumbai 11 years ago, I met Ishaaq (then a friend, now my husband :)) and he showed me the other side of the Bombay. Mohammed Ali Road – the underbelly of Mumbai, the other side of the posh South Bombay. Where all the noise of the traffic, horns and people mingles with the calls of fruit vendors and smells of sweet shops and other hawkers. It can all make you crazy or make you love it! Well, I didn’t love it for the noise, but the food? Oh, the food in those little bylanes!

diclofenac 50mg cena I’ve been through Bhendi Bazaar, had the Imam ka Sharbat – a refreshing drink made of milk, fruit syrup and topped with watermelon pieces – I’ve had the quintessential Bohri dish, Chana Batata. I’ve had Tandoori Chicken Tangdi, the Chicken Baida Roti, Chicken Mayo Rolls at Hamza Fast Food here.

Chicken Rolls, Chicken Baida Roti, Et. Al.
 Nagdevi Street is where I first had Paya – Goat Trotters rendered down beautifully and cooked in a flavourful Barah Handi. Barah Handi is nothing but 12 vessels filled with 12 different elements to make up flavourful meaty dishes. I don’t eat offal or beef, but the Chotte ka Paya (‘chotte’ meaning mutton and ‘bade’ meaning beef) is finger licking good.

Come the holy month of Ramzaan and all of Bhendi Bazaar and Mohammed Ali Road lights up. The hustle and bustle of the space, if it were possible, increases in decibel levels and the smells, in intensity. For the past 9 years I’ve been visiting Mohammed Ali Road and Bhendi Bazaar for its delicious food every Ramzaan, and I’m going to take you, dear reader, down my lane to eating the choicest dishes – especially if you don’t eat Beef or Offal!

buy generic estrace Nagdevi Street & Bhendi Bazaar

Go to Nagdevi Street or Bhendi Bazaar (Valibhai) for the delicious Barah Handi. I swear by the Paya (available both in Mutton and Beef) and Khameeri Roti (the latter, I could eat all alone; it is so delicious) here. You can also eat the Nalli Nihari (this one is made of beef) with the creamy bone marrow (nalli) and the bhel, which is the combination of all the 12 ingredients in the 12 handis. This place does not serve mutton nalli nihari.

Paya with Khameeri Roti
Move on to Tawakkal Sweets in Bhendi Bazaar and have the Malpua. You have three varieties here, each with the option of it being served with Malai or fresh cream. You have the Eggless Malpua, Single Egg Malpua and Double Egg Malpua. I just love Malpua, and here was where I tasted my first even Egg Malpua. The egg batter lends this deep fried pancake kind of dish a beautiful texture, where the sides are crispy, while the centre is pillowy and soft.
Malpua in hot ghee! Minara Masjid Lane

Now, you can get Malpua across several bylanes in the area. You can also get Firni (rice pudding) in various flavours (malai, kesar, mango; I’ve even had one with fresh chikoo!).

Trays and trays of Kesar and Malai Firni
Malai Firni

And then, there is the Nalli Nihari! My favourite of them all. The chotte ka Nalli Nihari that is available at Chinese n’ Grill in Minara Masjid street (15 min away from Bhendi Bazar) is delicious. The special ‘balti’ nalli nihari is basically a gravy with some pieces of mutton served with lots and lots of bone marrow that you don’t even have to put the effort in to get out of the bone. You can also ask for double nalli. What takes this dish to another level altogether is those slivers of ginger and the mildly spicy sliced green chillies that you garnish the dish with!

Mutton Nalli Nihari
The ginger-green chilli garnish
Another specialty at Chinese n’ Grill is the Crispy Thread Chicken. Red Chicken pieces rolled in Noodles and Deep Fried is served with an equally red Schezwan sauce. There is something totally comforting about that hot chicken in the sweet and spicy sauce that makes you want to eat the whole lot at a go!
Crispy Thread Chicken
My friends also swear by the Bheja (brain) tawa fry, which is supposed to be really creamy and delicious. Just outside Chinese n’ Grill is a whole host of vendors selling Malpuas, Firni and Cold Masala Milk. The Masala Milk at Noorani Milk Centre in the lane is the best thing to wash down all those spices, oil and meat with and ends the evening on a perfect note. A few tips: 

  • Do the Minara Masjid Round on one day and the Bhendi Bazaar Round on another.
  • Go with at least one person to experience all this food, especially someone who knows their way around! The crowds are crazy and you may just feel lost! 
  • If you do not eat beef, ensure that you confirm with your server that it is mutton and not beef (use the chotte-bade jargon)
  • If you are a stickler for cleanliness more than you are a lover of food this place is not for you! 
  • A lot of these places serve these dishes all around the year. So, if you don’t like the crowds, you can go there. However, the charm of it is in the crowds, smells and sounds.
Dry Fruits Aplenty
Fresh Fruits

Malpua in the Making
Luscious Gulab Jamun

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  • Reply Perzen Patel July 3, 2014 at 00:14

    I want you to come with me and take me to all these places. You’ve made me crave Iftaar even more than I already was!

  • Reply Shanti July 3, 2014 at 04:53

    Perzen, you come back and we’ll go for sure!

  • Reply Vignesh Nair July 3, 2014 at 05:17

    Shanti….Ishaaq n u must take us on a Ramadan trail….Please! 🙂

  • Reply Kurush June 21, 2015 at 11:38

    Lovely post Shanti … full on nostalgia :)PS Valibhai is shut … he’s sold out and moved. Also after the beef ban i dont know how good it will be … 🙁

  • Reply Shanti June 21, 2016 at 10:38

    Thanks Kurush! Coming from you, that feels really good – I so miss this place sitting here in Dubai and all I want back is the ambience of Mohd. Ali Road! Is he back now? I heard that he is.

    • Reply Elson November 24, 2017 at 13:33

      Yes. Valibhai is baack.. I had been there last (in the afternoon) and the place was opem

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