India is not only known for diverse cultures but also for its delectable cuisines. And when there are so many cultures bonded together, amalgamation of cuisine is bound to happen. However, occasionally bigger communities overshadow cuisines from smaller communities. For instance, Bohri Muslims, they predominantly exist in Gujarat and also other parts of India.
Did you know that Bohri Muslims take their food very seriously? Yes, they do. Kitchen Pops was invited to The Resort, which is situated in one lush corner of Mumbai, close to the Arabian Sea. We were thrilled to meet the manager Satyajit Kotwal and the home-chef Umaima Abdulally at the live-cooking counter.
For the first time The Resort has organized the buffet with authentic Bohri food created by the home-chef Umaima Abdulally at the High-Tide restaurant in The Resort. The Resort is a five star hotel adjacent to Aksa beach—weekend getaway. The ambience of the restaurant was too good to be true. Kitchen Pops loved the long window panes that faced the pool area. The service was quick and friendly. In fact, there were regular guests who visit the High-Tide restaurant on every Sunday for a great spread at the buffet counter. And, this time there was an added counter that had two dishes with a welcome drink called as Gol Paani (jaggery water).
Umaima has studied to be a chef, but never pursued it as a career. She has also worked in the test kitchen for recipe development with Tarla Dalal. However, she got into food writing and recipe development. She has also started her blog recently. She is also on Zomato. She is a proud Bohri and strongly connected to her roots, especially when it comes to cooking. Umaima proudly quips, “Bohri women are genetically blessed to be great cooks, whether they cook often or not it doesn’t matter.” Umaima has been a helping hand to her mother since she was very young. And especially, Bohri being a small community, they often have these small occasions wherein couple of ladies gather and cook a lavish meal for themselves. Ethnically, Bohri have their meal together in a thaal (huge plate)—family who eats together, stays together. All the delicacies are assembled in just on thaal. They always taste little salt before their meals to clean their palate. They usually start with sweet rice, followed by a proper sweet like a halwa (any traditional sweet), followed by kharas like a savoury dish that includes either chicken or mutton, followed by another sweet dish that could be an ice-cream or kulfi (cold dessert), followed by a savoury, if needed and finally comes the main course, which includes curry accompanied by rice or chapati or bakery thick naan (also known as Afghani naan).
Umaima chose her dishes with a great thought behind it. Let’s get to know the dishes first:
• Kalamro is rice and curd based dessert made during the month on Rabi-Ul-Awwal to celebrate the birth of Prophet Mohammad. It is a fairly simple dessert made using a handful of ingredients and garnished with fruits and dry-fruits. Pomegranate is the most common fruit added to Kalamro. To make the dessert richer many add mawa or malai to it. Kalamro is best served chilled.
Unlike other desserts, Kalamro is one of the healthiest recipes in its category. The goodness of rice and curd make it a dessert guilt free dessert. Owing to its cooling properties most Bohri women also prepare this dessert during summers for their family.
• Dabba Gosht consists of the famous Bohri White chicken packed in a foil container and baked topped with eggs. Dabba refers to the foil container or baking dish the gosht (meat) is baked in, hence the name.
The meat is cooked along with light spices in a rich cashew nut based gravy and then baked with a generous beaten egg layer and ghee. Macaroni is commonly added to the dish for variation. The dish is commonly served during weddings or community feasts as a ‘kharas’ or entrée.
Kitchen Pops recommends Kalamro as it’s a must have—a dish on its own. Gol Paani is another unique drink that’s healthy and refreshing. Not to forget, the dishes offered by the in-house buffet, which included dozens of dishes to meander along, and live counters that offered toasties and Bohri cuisines. Last, but not the least the restaurant had a small peanut counter, which offered peanut salad, as it was the World Peanut Day on 13th September 2015.
Follow the recipes offered by Umaima Abdulally:
Serves – 4 Preparation Time: 15minutes Cooking Time: 15minutes
• Basmati Tukda – 50grams
• Cow/Toned Milk – 150ml
• Powdered Sugar – 50grams
• Curd – 100grams, whisked
• Pomegranate – 1 tablespoon OR 15grams
• Raisins / Kishmish – 1 tablespoon OR 15grams
• Charoli – 1 tablespoon OR 15grams
• Red Rose Petals – for garnish
• Wash and soak the rice for 15minutes. Soak raisins in little water and keep aside.
• Cook the rice with milk and some water till it is overdone. Before switching off the flame mash the rice well.
• Cool the rice. Mix in sugar and curd.
• Finally add pomegranate, raisins and charoli. Mix well and chill well before serving. Garnish with rose petals.
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