I have been living homeless from a loooong time now (Don’t point out the extra o’s) and what I dearly miss is the ambiance, the family eating together, the talks and of course, the food.
Home Made By Tasneem is a concept where you Eat out the authentic Bohra Food at Home and by home, I literally meant at home.
“You can’t wash your hands in the basin. I will bring the lota. Its the complete tradition”, says Tasneem, the chef and the discussion is immediately supported by her daughter, Alifiya.
Our hands (We were a group of 5) were being washed with the help of lota. I unfortunately don’t have the picture of it. It is also referred to as Chillum lota.
Don’t expect a Mojito or Coca cola to slake your thirst, have a jaggery based drink Gol Nu Pani. It is made out of jaggery which is earlier kept soaked in water for days and since the color becomes golden orange, bohras consider it to be golden water. It is then mixed with basil or chia seeds.(Too much confusion)
Food is considered very important in Bohra culture. Infact Food is the glue that holds this community together. Ideally, a group of 8 people share a thal (A really big thali) and the feast always starts with mithas or sweet.
But before you start anything, you have to take a grain of salt which is believed to clear your taste buds.
My meal started with Doodhi Nu Falooda, a rich sweet dish prepared out of grated doodhi (bottle gourd), milk and dry fruits. It is slowly cooked on low flame for hours. Tasneem likes to keep kitchen to herself only. She won’t let anybody come inside and dare you try! especially when she is cooking.
The next course is kharaas or appetizer which contained the most delicious and extremely well prepared chicken I have ever eaten. To give you an exact feel of how well the chicken was made, the meat fell effortlessly off the bone. Cream Chicken is the perfect mixture of coriander and mint. Initially out of shyness, I didn’t eat one more piece.
Almost everyone of us ate one more piece towards the end of the meal which made the hosts very happy.
Shami Kebabs also made their entry into the meal and it was just a matter of minutes before each of us gobbled them up our stomach.
Again, came the mithas and this time, it was Sanchani Ice Cream!
The home made sancha ice cream had subtle butterscotch flavor, dry fruits and tons of love inside it. And Yes, towards the end, we ate it again (shamelessly)
The main course or jaaman comprised of Kaari and Zeera Rice.
The kaari served was Mutton Curry cooked in bohri spices with gravy based out of coconut milk which explains the influence of Thai Cuisine on Bohra dishes. To prepare mutton kaari, the spices are mixed together and the meat is made to cook on a very low flame. The inclusion of coconut decreases the spiciness in the gravy. Topped with fresh coriander, the kaari deserves an applause.
This was the first item of the day where eggs made their way. For the first time in my life, I saw Zeera Rice topped with a chopped boiled egg, Coriander and Cashew Nuts.
The last part of the meal was the simple zeera masala soda drink.
Each of us again took a grain of salt and completed our meal.
Interestingly, Bohra Cuisine is not spicy. Their was no instance where I felt the need of water out of spiciness. Yes, there are variations in Bohra Cuisine itself where some families prepare their food spicy but then we all have variations.
I am also happy that I made a wise decision- To go in lose clothing.
P.S. Don’t miss out the home made Pan
This event was an invitation from Alifiya. Since the meal was complimentary, it shouldn’t be considered as restaurant review. All thoughts and views expressed in this article are purely my own.