RAMADHAN FOOD FAIR
<< Personally, I believe the Lebanese are the undisputed kings of pastry. >>
Khajas(pakvans) have been fried....>>
You are absolutely right. Lebanese are the best when it comes to pastries. Their baklawa is tasty to eat and so is the vermicelli sweet stuffed with pistachio that is coated with sugar syrup and left to simmer. In the Gulf States Lebanese sweet is preferred to Indian mithai.
Bhadra, presently we are going through Ramadhan and mava khaja very much talked about. The Bohoras daily in the evening have iftaar at their mosque and mava khaja forms part of their thaal. At 'Al Muazzin' along Kisutu Rd in Dsm. they sell mava khaja besides many other items and people flock there in the evening. There are varieties and the business hectic. You name the item and you get it.
That reminds me of Bombay’s Memon Moholla, Mohamedali Rd and Bhindi Bazaar which liven up in the evening as people make their purchases. 'Suleman Usman' near Minara Masjid is famous for its firni (mava pudding), and earthenware bowls filled with firni are on display. The malpua is another favourite of the Muslims in Bombay. At night they relish faluda which has a distinct flavour. The faluda in India is vermicelli or noodle like long thin strips chipped out of china grass in a glass of soft ice cream with essence and syrup poured over it. Over here faluda is china grass mixed in steaming milk that is set into soft solid form.
While in Bombay I used to have my iftaar at a Muslim restaurant across Flora Fountain which was not much of a distance from my hostel in Churchgate. During weekends I visited Mohamedali Rd and Bhindi Bazaar and would go to ‘Saidi’ (Memon Moholla) or ‘Nizari’ or ‘Karimi’ (Bhindi Bazaar) to enjoy the taste of their Mughlai curries.
If you remember in Zanzibar the vendors abounded selling their speciality like mkateyamofa and kalimati. People sent each other routine sinia (platters of snacks and desserts). In particular it was customary to send sinia to the newly engaged girl by the boy’s family and vice versa. It would be a big sinia that had to be carried through the Zanzibar gullies. At times it became problematic to squeeze in the sinia if the door happened to be smaller. The sinia had to contain at least seven dishes garnished with nuts, rose petals and sweets. The dishes included such delicacies as mkateyakumimimna, malai/mawa khaja, meat chops, fish cutlets, kukuwakupaka, shami or sikh kabab, samosa, freshly baked cake, syrupy dahiwara, custard shira etc along with a flask of ice cream.
Bhadra, remember Forodhani at night in Ramadhan? There was an air of festivity. After darsa at Nai Misid we rushed off there. Despite sumptuous iftaar at home we must eat mishikaki (roasted meat) at Forodhani. We would dip the small mishikaki sticks into a container filled with red hot chilies and relish its taste. Then followed Saidi’s (we referred to him as Salim) maajiya (sharbat/juice) machungua, ndimu or ukwaju. Ramadhan in Zanzibar was out of this world.
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