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Fine Dining

The Cubbon Pavilion

locationResidency Road

Tuck Into The Unique Cuisine Of The Bohra Community On A Giant Thali At This Food Festival

Natasha posted on 28 June

Biryani and kebabs always make for a splendid meal. Each city/town has its own version of these dishes, and within the Muslim community, there are variations based on sect and state. Growing up, it was the Hyderabadi style of cooking that I was most familiar with. And I also got to try the goodies in the lunch boxes of two Bohra classmates, whose food, truth be told, were the most interesting amongst the group. From khichda {which I called a white haleem in my head} to kebabs and always some sweet as well. Thus, when an invite popped into my mailbox, proclaiming an upcoming Bohri Shahi Dawat food festival at ITC Gardenia’s Cubbon Pavilion, I knew there was only one answer – yes! That the festival coincides with the closing week of Ramazan and the Eid celebration was an added bonus. You too can enjoy this feast, which is available for dinner until the Sunday, July 2, as part of their Kitchens of India – Unique Tastes initiative.

A Big, Fat Thaal

Young Chef Zohair, a Bohra from Mumbai {the community is predominantly from Gujarat, and with roots in Yemen and with a touch of Mughal influence}, curated and created every dish and detail for the festival, wanting to share his heritage and culture, down to the Thaal — a giant plate that serves as the focal point of the meal, with the family sitting around it and then all tucking into different courses off it. He has even sourced from his home town, the Chemlachi Lota — a silver jug that holds water used to wash hands before the meal. Tradition dictates that the youngest member of the family offers salt to every diner, since the meal is supposed to begin with a pinch of salt. Then it is time to dig into the successive courses, which will alternate between sweet {Mithaas} and savory {Khaaras}. Since community style eating would present a logistical challenge, for the purposes of the festival, we were served individual mini thaals. Mini cause they were regular plates, not because there was any less to eat, I should add!

Sweet And Salt And All Things Nice

We were offered two drinks first — a sweet tender coconut one {Coconut Malai with Elaichi} and a salty Gol Paani with sabja {basil} seeds, with lemon and tulsi. This hit the spot with a nice tangy flavour. It is traditional to begin with dates in some form and we got Kharek — dates soaked in rose syrup and stuffed with khoya, pistachios and almonds. And then the real feasting started! And as there was a vegetarian at the table, we learned that there is an extensive range of vegetarian delicacies prepared in Bohra cooking too. Our non-vegetarian starters included divine Kheema Samosas – a crisp, thin, fried encasing stuffed with hand pounded mutton mince, Kheema Pattice — mince stuffed potatoes, and Chicken Cream Tikka, chicken nuggets with cream that would make for the perfect comfort food on a cold evening. For vegetarians, there was the Nariyal Kebab {potato encased coconut), and Dal Na Samosa, a lentil samosa. Before the mains, the Mango Malai was common to both thalis, and kept up the one sweet-one savoury tradition.

The Main Attractions

And now it was time for the main course. For vegetarians, there was Patrel Soya Nu Tarkari made with Cocoyam leaves; and the non-vegetarian version, Patrel Gosht combined mutton and the leaves. There was a Bohri Dal that used five kinds of lentils to great effect, and a rich Ghaker Roti which was layers of flaky pastry and ghee, and didn’t really need any accompaniment. Though it was perfect to dip into the Kaari Chicken – a cashew gravy and gorgeous spice combination, which made this the dish of the night!

No meal of this sort would be complete without biryani – and the Bohra Gosht Biryani {with mutton, potatoes and deep fried onions} served with a delectable Bhuna Baingan Raita, was stellar. Now of course the meal had to end on a sweet note, and obviously, given the season, Sheer Khurma was a must – and with the charonji and other nuts, it transported me back to Eids of my childhood! For those who would enjoy ending the meal with paan, the Bohri Paan Goli is a sort of deconstructed paan ball rolled with dessicated coconut. All in all, this was a decadence and a rare glimpse into a food culture that is not easy to find locally. 

The Bohri Shahi Dawat is on till Sunday, July 2 and is available for dinner. 

The post first appeared on the blog Plated Thoughts. Read the full post here.

More Information

Fine Dining

The Cubbon Pavilion

Location Details
locationResidency Road

ITC Gardenia, 1, Residency Road, Bengaluru

Fine Dining

The Cubbon Pavilion

locationResidency Road