And the time of the year is here, where Kolkata rises after sun-set- the ramzan time. After a full day of roza, the muslim community here takes on the streets with their offering of clothes, ittar and off course food items and we are more than happy to join them in their celebration.
Last week was my this year’s first visit to the chitpur area, the famed Zakaria street and was more than happy to see the offering. So, here I am trying to provide a brief foodie-roadmap for the same.
We started from the Nakhoda masjid on rabindra sarani. During this time of the year, please reach there after sunset (food stalls start from the afternoon though) so that you don’t miss the glitter and aura of the place.
Take the next lane from the masjid and start cursing me. Because, this time, there is no road beside the mosque. Its a mish-mash of numerous make-shift stalls on road. Welcome to the Ramzan time in chitpur. Enter the lane. I promise you won’t be disappointed. A little further and you’ll find the stalls selling large bread pieces. Don’t be surprised. Those are the things you’ve heard so much about. They are called Bakarkhani and the second variety is sheermal.
Bakarkhani is a thick, crispy (often layered) flat bread. Its almost biscuit like textured and smeared with poppy seeds before baking in oven. They serve 3 varieties here. Succumb to the snob effect and buy the costliest one- 80/ per peice and I promise you won’t regret it. For us, it went extremely well with morning tea (after re-heated a little in OTG).
Now, sheermal is kind of a more sweet/ soft variety of naan, where warm milk is used in the dough and it more resembles the danish pastry. We again purchased the prime version of 25/- a piece and the next day gorged on it with the afternoon tea at home.
While tea is here, how can ‘Biscoot’ be left behind for a bong ? And we ended up grabbing some nankhatai biscuit. This is a variety of shortbread believed to have originated in Surat during the Dutch era. We got a below variety at 100/- a kg and around 8-9 pieces came at 500 gms. But its pretty mediocre in quality and avoidable.
Go a little furthr and at right-hand corner of the first crossing, you can find Taskeen shop. The were making some brilliant Chicken Changezi and Maahi Akbari. Do not bother, you won’t find Chicken Changezi in wikipedia. Its the desi muslim answer to KFC-ishtyled chicken. Large chicken pieces are double fried and served piping hot. Maahi Akbari is large Katla fish chunks marinated and deep-fried. Damn yummy and a must-have….. Chicken Chungezi was coming at 440/- a kg and Maahi Akbari was 540/- a kg.
While I was chatting with the shop-boy, he suggested “saab, thora falooda bhi taste kijiye ? ” “Karaiye” was my response and I was served with one of the best falooda I ever had in my life along with a piece of shahi tukra. Personally, I liked the shahi tukra of Royal Indian Hotel better, but this is not bad by any means… Falooda was 40/- a plate and so was Shahi Tukra.
After all these sweets, I was craving for some ghosht-Roti. And as per suggstion by my good friend Deepanjan Ghosh, I went to Bombay Tea house.
This is at the first left lane corner from the Nakhoda Maszid. They serve a brilliant beef champ- to be paired with tandoori roti (all year long) and a pretty good Beef Boti kebab (Personally I like Adams’ version better though). The quality is consistent throughout the year. Go for it, definitely you won’t regret it. But, let me warn you. The biggest challenge this time of the year is to find the shop, as its name-board is covered in shamiana and posters now.
We are almost full and so must be you. So, let’s go and pack some take-away from the sweetshops in this area. Head straight for the Bombay sweets on colootola road crossing. You’ll find a brilliant dry fruits halwa in this place. Its 450/- a kg and extremely rich in taste. This is a little sticky in nature but a heavenly taste. Statutory advice, they tend to get over by 830 PM, so better hurry.
Our last stop should be Haji Allauddin Sweets at the phears lane just a little way back for their Ghond Ki Halwa. The best variety there is 400/- a kg and topped with mawa, makhana and coconut slices- go for it. You won’t regret.
For the kebabs (e.g. Sutli kebab and kheeri kebab), you may like to read this post .We are full and so are our hands. But many of you must be thinking why I’ve omitted Haleem – the staple ramzan-time-food of bongs ? Well, Frankly, I don;t like haleem personally and rather would have another bowl of Dal Gosht. Hence…… Till then, Cheers and happy eating !!!
And if you have some time, in hand, you might like to watch my foodwalk video of 2017
Bon Apetite !!!
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