Of Fasting and Feasting: Calcutta’s Eat-Street, Ramzan 2016

I never observe religion or politics when it comes to food. I believe food has the ability to transcend barriers of every possible kind, and these feelings become stronger especially the month of Ramzan in the city that nonchalantly boasts of eating to one’s heart’s content. If you have your doubts, just take a walk down Kolkata’s Zakaria Street this week.

This year I could only spare a couple of minutes to drop in at the labyrinthine lanes next to Nakhoda Masjid last week to check out the Iftaar spread. The rush was so overwhelming that I could hardly photograph my way through the hubbub of the streets. I was only able to bring some of the delicacies home which I would like to share with everyone who is interested in food that would tantalize every taste bud, excite the nose and delight the eyes.

Directions: Zakaria Street, near Chitpur. The makeshift stalls crop up at afternoon, starting from Nakhoda Masjid on Rabindra Sarani.

Time: 3pm onwards IST, if one wants to observe the full spectacle of the month-long celebrations which leads up to the day of Ramzan.

Here is a list of munchies that I brought home for Iftaar.

Baqarkhani: A thick layered flat bread with a crispy exterior drizzled with a generous dose of poppy seeds, the most expensive bread of the lot. Can be consumed as an accompaniment of Haleem or by itself or with tea. Such Englishmen we are! (Price- a whopping 80 INR each)

Sheermal: A softer version of the flatbread, more like the milk buns we are served in tea-stalls in Kolkata, the outer crust decorated with sesame seeds and red tutti fruitti. Goes well with Haleem or even as a great tea time accompaniment or re-heated with just some butter. Ultimate comfort food. (Price- 25 INR each)

Beef Cutlet: Beef mince and spices in the form of finger sized rolls. (I don’t remember, something extremely light on the pocket)

Beef Samosa: Deep-fried delicacy of minced beef in a crispy triangular casing of dough. Served hot with chutney. Ultimate junk food, a must try. (Not overtly pricier than an ordinary samosa)

Chicken Changezi: Crispy double-fried chicken pieces marinated in yoghurt and secret dry spices. Will give KFC spicy grilled chicken a run for their money any day. Served hot off the kadhai at Taskeen Hotel. (Price- 450 INR per kilo)

Beef Haleem: Thick lentil stew with juicy chunks of beef, flavoured mildly with spices and garnished with lemon chunks, green chillies and coriander leaves. Heavenly. (Price- 100 INR per plate)

Falooda: Yellow soupy mixture of lightly sweetened saffron-flavoured milk with tapioca (sago) pearls and rose essence. Kind of an acquired taste, rather hit or miss; has a faint aftertaste of zarda tobacco and cough syrup. (Price- 50 INR per plate)

Dry-Fruit Halwa: Brown sticky dough stuffed with pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, dry coconut slices and raisins drenched with ghee. One large spoon will satiate the sweet tooth; it’s the real deal, people. (Price- 450 INR per kilo)

Do plan to make a visit to this magical food bazaar before Ramzan which is in a couple of days for a taste of this exotic cuisine?

If you have any questions or thoughts please feel free to comment below and share if you enjoyed reading this post.

If you have been on a Ramzan food trail before I would love to hear about your experiences.

Also I would love to know your thoughts, comments and suggestions on such posts and whether you would love to continue reading them in the future.

Till then, happy feasting and a very happy Ramzan to all.

Xoxo
Belinda

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