RAMADAN (also known as Ramazan), the ninth month of the Islamic calendar is observed by Muslims all around the world by fasting in recognition of the first revelation of the Holy Quran to Prophet Mohammed. This holy month lasts approximately 30 days based on the sightings of the moon. Fasting is observed from sunrise till sunset during by one and all. After sunset FOOD is the major focus and that is what we explored on our visit to a local place that lights up post sunset for ‘Iftar‘
The best part of being in a country like India is to be able to enjoy diverse and beautiful cultural experiences that leave a mark on your soul for a lifetime.
The plan had been made and put off twice before. The date was decided this time with great planning and we planned to go there little early to beat the rush. We pulled in around sunset and that we realized, was slightly late. We were lucky enough to get a table for five before the place filled up pretty quick. ‘Imdadi’ was the name of the place where we had gathered. There was food everywhere and most of it was not for the vegetarians. The atmosphere was electric. Waiters rushing around to either seat new customers or serve the ones who had been waiting patiently for food to arrive after a days long fast. The air was full of aromas from the middle east. The warmth came partially from hot ovens and partially from laughter & bonding between families and friends.
We ordered our food. The system was pretty unique. Every table had to buy prepaid tokens and exchange them for food as it arrived at the table. We sat there like we would inside a casino with coins of all colors and denominations ready to be encashed as our hunger pangs hit us with increased intensity.
First to arrive was the Chicken Seekh Kabab. Delicious to its core the taste sent us into bouts of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ as the chicken melted in our mouths within minutes. The green chutney was blended out of a mixture of mint leaves and sharply pungent green chillies, garnished with onions. This was quickly followed a delicious serving of Chicken Tikka. Perfectly barbecued the tikkas vanished from the plate in a flash. Almost faster than they came.
Next in line was Mutton Dalcha. The Dalcha is a mixture of mutton, lentils and tamarind simmered over a low flame initially. The mutton and its flavors blend into the curried lentils so well that the resultant outcome had our palates wanting more. In the olden days, Muslim rulers from the west were fascinated by the rich regional cuisines of then central India and couldn’t resist incorporating local dishes into their own cuisine. Being prodigiously carnivorous, they remodeled original recipes which were ‘originally ‘ vegetarian to satisfy their meat-loving taste buds. Dalcha, which falls right into this category, is a delicious concoction of meat and lentils cooked together. Rice as a common companion, the taste that it brought out was beyond words.
Chicken Imdadi Special with Roomali Roti was next. The green gravy base in which
the chicken was cooked, redefined the meaning of the word ‘Flavors’. Curated to suit an artists creative imagination the flavors burst into a mild explosion. With eyes closed we silently allowed the flavors to take control of our senses. It took us few seconds before it all came back. Amidst the chaos, photo ops were missed. This dish is a “must have“
The roomali roti, by its name suggests a flat bread (roti) much like the other versions just that, it is exceptionally thin, large and soft made of wheat flour. Its softness brings a special delicacy to the cuisine both in taste and texture.
After a few more rounds of Kebabs and Mutton Dalcha it was time for the sweets. The king of food, ‘the Phirni‘. This preparation of rice and milk served in earthen pots took our dining experience to another level. Phirni is prepared by grinding soaked rice and adding milk to it along with cardamom and rose water while stirring it continuously to prevent it from sticking. The recipe for Phirni is slightly modified in different regions of India and Middle East to suit independent taste, however, there is no doubt that it still remains the best dessert out of all those being served. With quick scoops we quickly downed four earthen bowls of this delicious preparation. Along with the delicious phirni there was a bowl of Doodhi Halwa that was being ignored like a rested cricketer among the playing eleven.
With heavy stomachs and heavier hearts we picked ourselves up and pushed our bodies towards the exit but not before we picked up a glass of vibrant and dainty falooda. Falooda a milk preparation again, is laced with flavored syrups and soaked basil seeds and a dollop of ice cream. There was absolutely no space in our stomach for the drink or so we thought. Gulping down the contents we traced our way back to our car lazily. There was a clear sense of satisfaction that had covered our face.
Insane amount of food had made its way down our throats without the need of any motivation and we were ready to return at the hint of an indication. One thing that had left us in awe was the unique and yet diverse blend of flavors arising from the different spices used. There were different layers of flavors that were induced to perfection by introducing the spices at the right time of preparation. Not one morsel of food was pungent or had left us gasping for water. Our taste buds were left tingling, wanting more food of the same taste and varied flavors.
Some of our indulgence caught on camera :
Food photography is a very popular genre in DSLR photography. There are some important aspects involved when you photograph food. Some quick tips are listed below:
- Capture Food in its environment for best results.
- Use wide aperture to bring our the texture and colors in sharp contrast. (f 1.8)
- Light brings our sharpness in food photography
- Textures of food and background can pop the image to the next level.
For other quick tips click here
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