Life & Style

A laden table

Explore one of Chennai’s oldest localities on The Ramadan Walk, and taste rare and seasonal food preparations

The season of Ramzan is special, especially for food lovers in Chennai. The bustling area around the Big Mosque in Triplicane, where one can savour Ramzan’s traditional food items, is a treat for gastronomes. “What a joyful experience it would be to go on The Ramadan Walk in the evening, experience the ambience and relish the food at various locations!” says Chef Saravanan of The Park, Chennai.

Saravanan had curated The Ramadan Walk last year as well, and says he has made it a point to include a few more famous places this year. More importantly, typical homemade preparations will be the highlight this year, while last year’s walk had predominantly covered commercial establishments.

A mix of both

We have made arrangements for participants to go to the Bada Mosque (the Big Mosque, as it is referred to locally) in the evening, view the prayer hall from a distance and observe how the fast is ended. An Iftar pack will be given and they can eat it along with everyone in the mosque, and feel the ambience in the mosque at that special moment,” says Saravanan.

A laden table

As Pista House set up shop in the vicinity recently, the walk will include haleem tasting there as well. “While that will be a commercial preparation, I will be taking the participants to the Bada Mosque, where they will get to taste home-style haleem, made by Haleem Express, which is exclusive because they cook inside the mosque and are available only during the Ramzan season. They make just two items: ande ka meetha and haleem, says the chef, who will be leading the walk.

Nombu kanji, a sort of liquid biryani, will also be served at the mosque, and as accompaniment, vada and non-vegetarian samosas and puff will also be available. The tradition behind nombu kanji is interesting. During Ramadan, it used to be a community activity where everyone would contribute whatever ingredient they could, be it rice, dal, spices, water, mint and coriander leaves or mutton or chicken pieces to the mosque, and it was all cooked in a huge handi and served to everyone. That is why there is no standardised recipe to prepare nombu kanji, says Saravanan.

A laden table

There is a small roadside eatery opposite the mosque, where aattukaal soup is in high demand during Ramzan. After this comes shawarma tasting at a restaurant nearby. “A Ramzan walk in Thiruvallikeni will be incomplete without stepping into Baasha Bhai’s shop. He makes the best dam ka rot halwa. The owner had initially set up the shop only during Ramzan, but due to the popularity and demand, he had decided to keep it open permanently,” says Saravanan.

There will be a stopover at Charminar Biryani as well. Such walks are enjoyable as we get to know of famous dishes available, and understand the local cooking traditions behind the delicacies.

(Participants of The Ramadan Walk should assemble at Six O One restaurant at The Park by 3.45 pm, on June 22. For registration and details, call 9840485991 /9884493601.)

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 3:36:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/the-ramadan-walk-ramzan-special-food-at-the-big-mosque/article19114522.ece

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