My personal favourite joints at Md. Ali road are Modern and Mashallah which serve excellent bheja masalas, delectable paaya and nalli nihari. I generally start my evenings with that. There are few things that give you joy as much as a warm plate of nihari with a hot roomali roti as soft as wool. Yes, finding a table will be a headache, but you have to dig your heels in, scream your lungs out for the waiters to get your attention, and fight your way through. Ramadan evenings at Md. Ali road is not for the faint-hearted.
After the first course (yes, that was the first course), I advice people to take a dessert break with Burhanpur mawa jalebis. The Burhanpur jalebi stall is a tiny shack snuggled into the first by lane in the Minara Masjid alley and sells a plate of four jalebis on two sheets of newspaper for thirty bucks. These hot-juicy-sticky-fudgy bites of heaven work as an excellent palate cleanser and, unless you fill yourself up with them, prepare you for the next course of savouries.
I like to pair haleem with beef rolls. Always spot a busy haleem pot because that means fresh ingredients are going into it daily. Same goes for beef rolls. Always taste the haleem before you have it because different concoctions work for different people. I make sure mine comes with a hefty garnish of caramelised onions and lemon juice. The reason why khichda does not work for me is because it is spicier than haleem. But, to each her/his own.
After haleem, it is time for some halwa puri. The outrageously orange halwa is possibly the unhealthiest thing you’ll ever eat but it is such a delicious dessert when paired with a large-sized community puri or fried Indian flat bread. I have fond memories of standing in the middle of Md. Ali road, holding a warm plate of halwa and tearing off pieces of a puri with friends, huddled under umbrellas, trying to stay dry from the incessant rain.
For malpua and phirni (though phirni is quite a regular dessert for me all through the year), Usman Suleiman is the best bet for huge deep-fried malpua lathered with rabdi. It is a meal by itself and I never suggest a malpua treat after stuffing yourself with dinner. Phirnis are creamier and lighter, unless you are a glutton like me who goes through four bowls in one sitting.
End your night with another round of mawa jalebis maybe?
While I enjoy the street affair to the core, hotels and restaurants around the city offer excellently curated Ramadan menus during this period. The newly opened Taj Santa Cruz kicks you off with a khus mocktail and possibly one of the best rose faloodas (in an unnaturally tall glass) I have had in the city. Dig into a round of hummus and moutabel to work up an appetite for chicken pakodas, crunchy chicken cutlets and gilafi seekh kebabs. For mains, they are serving a beautiful murgh biryani, a rich, creamy and buttery nalli nihari and an excellent khichda. The food is excellent and I was quite stuffed by the end of it. Dessert had a delectable phirni, baklava and baked gulab jamun platter which was hard to say no to.
Iftari Menu – Jal – Z Luxury Residences, Juhu
Jal is serving a crackling Ramadan menu too. Start off with a heartwarming gosht or pistachio and asparagus shorba which, paired with a baby buttered naan, is the perfect rainy day dinner. After the customary mezze platter, dig into a beautiful spread of mutton chapli kebabs and murgh seekhs. I would personally pass on the baida roti though but if you are a fan of deconstruction, you might like it.
The haleem was wonderfully flavoured, though I am personally a fan of street handi haleem, I can happily warm up to this one. The paaya nihari hits the spot too, with the succulent meat falling off the bone, spiced perfectly. The bohri biryani is another star on the menu. Close the meal with a happy bowl of sheer qorma and an excellent mahalabia.
Wish to try some mouthwatering dishes at the comfort of your home? Well, here are a few recipes crafted and recommended by one of the most talented chefs from Dubai, Mr. Jens Muenchenbach, Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah. A delight for your taste buds, these classic Arabic recipes are easy to whip up, healthy and will definitely leave you wanting for more!
500g boiled chickpeas, 500g yoghurt, 10g peeled garlic, 20g gee, 10g pine nut, 10g red paprika, 5g chopped parsley, 5g cooking salt, 30g fried bread, 100ml water of chickpeas, 10g dry mint.
Method of preparation:
- Put the chickpeas into a hot pan with garlic, salt, chickpea water and bread.
- Mix in the yogurt, parsley, mint, paprika.
- Add the hot gee and pine nuts.
- Blend to a smooth consistency.
Mini Kebbeh Ball With Truffle Soup
3g Truffle, 300g Yoghurt, 200g Lamb mince, 15g Pine nuts, 150g Crushed Wheat, Nutmeg 5g, Dry mint or fresh 4g, Egg yolk 1 pc, Roasted almond 10g, Shallots 3 pcs, Butter 15g, Vegetable stock 1.5 ltr, Carrot 30g, Baby marrow 30g, Pepper, Salt, Turmeric powder 5g, Zattar sesame bread 1 pc and Roasted Almond.
Method of preparation:
- Mix the yoghurt, egg yolk & vegetable stock to make the stuffing for the lamb ball. Mix it well on low heat.
- Keep mixing, bring it to a boil, and add the dry mint, nutmeg, vegetables (carrot, zucchini and baby marrow), turmeric and seasoning.
- Finish it with truffle and butter.
- On the side, after soaking the crushed vegetables for 1 hour, combine it with minced lamb and seasoning in the mixer. After this, shape the mixture into an open ball.
- Sauté the shallots with the lamb mince until cooked, and add the pine nuts.
- Stuff the mixture in the lamb ball & close it.