Friday, December 9

Iftar treats a call away, thanks to home chefs

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The holy month of Ramzan in Kolkata is incomplete without the delicious iftar goodies on offer in the Zakaria street market adjacent to the Nakhoda Masjid in the city’s Chitpur area. This year, due to the pandemic, city foodies won’t get a chance to gorge on the delights on offer at the market. But that doesn’t mean one can’t savour iftar delights at all. Several restaurants, home chefs and even small eateries on Zakaria Street are now delivering iftar dishes on your doorstep. From dates, fruit salad to haleem, samosas, kebabs and bakarkhani, everything can be ordered through food delivery apps and enjoyed in the safety and comfort of your home.HALEEM ON TOP

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You have successfully cast your voteLogin to view resultHaleem, the protein-packed meat and lentils stew that’s traditionally hailed as the nutritious fast breaker of the season, is among the most sought-after iftar delicacies in Kolkata. So it goes without saying that it’s the all-time best-seller.
Home chef Manzilat Fatima barely gets any time to relax around this time of the year. “I became a home chef by making haleem for my friends and their friends. And Ramzan has always been a busy time for me. Now, given the pandemic, I’m getting even more orders,” she said. To break the monotony of the usual meat and dal, home chef Rukhshi Elias came up with magaz, gurda and khiri haleem. “Haleem is in high demand and that’s why we offer these varieties. We also make warqi (layered) keema samosas and salli kebabs,” Rukhshi told us.
MORE IFTAR DELIGHTS
Traditionally, iftar is also about dates, fruits and fritters. Home chef Nandini Nandy is offering not just haleem but an entire iftar platter comprising several items. “My friends requested me to start an iftar platter this year and I had to comply. We usually have dates, fruit salad, aloo pakora, dal pakora, onion pakora, haleem and biryani. My friends are happy with the spread,” she said.
Meanwhile, Sima Ahmed, her daughter Nazmee and daughter in-law are offering traditional Faizabadi chaat, keema samosi, pulao, dates, fruit salad and more. “Our platter comes with sharbat Suleimani or sharbat-e-gulab. These are in powdered form and can be mixed with water to make the traditional sharbat. We also customise our menu according to customer needs,” Nazmee told us.
ZAKARIA STREET DELICACIES ON YOUR DOORSTEP

Zakaria Street also has permanent eateries apart from the makeshift stalls. And these eateries are open as usual and are preparing their usual delicacies. Many of them are also delivering to different corners of Kolkata. One such eatery, Taskeen, which is famous for its chicken Changhezi and faluda, has been delivering the dishes through food delivery apps or on their own. “We have also diversified our menu. For those who are reluctant to gorge on the deep-fried chicken Changhezi, we also have a healthier roasted version and a gravy version. We have also introduced Afghani and Peshawri murruggan,” said Md Shahabuddin, the owner. VEG OPTIONS GALORE

While traditional iftar platter is mostly non veg, the new-age feast also includes veg items. “A lot of our friends insisted on veg items and as a result, my mother experimented with interesting vegetarian options for the iftar platter. Now we have daal ke kebab, Awadhi sabz kebab, baingan (aubergine) ke kebab and so on. We have Nargisi kofte for egg lovers and also try to make proper veg biryani,” said Nazmee.
Keeping healthier options in mind, Rukhshi offers whole-wheat pita bread for kebab rolls. “For weight watchers, I make doner kebabs with less oil, pitta bread with atta and instead of full-fat mayonnaise, I use a dip made with hung curd. It definitely has a lot less in calorie count and yet, gives you the traditional taste,” she told us.

We have to keep the pandemic in mind before allowing makeshift stalls in the
market: Khilafat Committee

Calcutta Khilafat Committee, the body that organises the Ramzan market on Zakaria Street, is yet to allow makeshift stalls in the alley. “While we understand the importance of this season’s business and festivity, it is also important for us to keep the pandemic and people’s safety in mind. The full market set up might invite large gatherings. We have to follow the Covid-19 SOPs in the current situation. We are in talks with the KMC and Kolkata Police. We will decide if the makeshift market can be set up within a day or two,” said SA Faisal, the treasurer of the committee.

How the Zakaria street market became famous

According to food blogger Indrajit Lahiri, the Zakaria Street market becoming a tourist attraction is a relatively new phenomenon though the Ramzan fair has been happening for decades. “Most eateries on this street are permanent joints and serve similar delicacies all year round. It’s the widespread print and social media publicity in the past five-six years that actually put the street on the city’s food map. Soon, youngsters clicking selfies and shooting photos and videos with fancy DSLRs became common sights in the market. Many more came to savour the variety of iftar platters on offer. But the pandemic has taken all that away. Let’s hope everything gets back to normal by next year,” he said.

Source: Times of India

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