How often do you sit together and have a meal with your entire family? I posed this question to a group of friends and received varying answers. Some couldn’t even remember the last time they ate together, others said at least once a week. When I said family dinners are an everyday affair in my house, I was stared at in disbelief. With guilty faces, everyone started ranting off a predictable list of excuses- hectic and conflicting schedules, working over-time, endless assignments and the list goes on. For me – When we sit around the dinner table I’m filled with a feeling of warmth, love and the days troubles seem to vanish away.
As I attempt to rally and get my point across I’m pleased to inform you, I’ve found an ally. Not just one person, but a whole community. A community which believes no dish should be served, until everyone is seated together. Meet my formidable allies- the Bohra community. To this day, they uphold their age old tradition of the Thaal system which signifies unity, harmony and togetherness. A Thaal is a large circular metal plate which up to eight people can share.
I have always known about Iftar, the meal with which the fast is broken at sunset during the month of Ramadan. What I didn’t know was these community meals are sponsored in rotation by prosperous families. If their big hearts haven’t won you over by now, their mouth-watering dishes will definitely do the trick. As luck would have it, right in the middle of my phase of learning more about the rich and diverse culture, I had a Bohra wedding to attend.
Their sweet dishes are called Mithaas, while their savoury dishes are called Kharaas. First Seviyan– a vermicelli pudding was brought out. The second course was made up of delicious Kheema Samosas. My sweet tooth was appeased when Thuli-a cracked wheat and jaggery dessert found its way to my plate next. This was followed by Dabba Gosht, a marinated mutton topped with raw egg. I thought I had found my favourite dish but the next Kharaas almost made me forget how much I adored the earlier dish. Mutton Kari Chawal -spiced coconut milk based stew served with rice left me craving for a second serving. Famous for their soups, I was quite excited when Chicken Khurdi was brought out. My first taste of their white chicken stock soup, flavoured with whole spices and I knew I had found my new go-to comfort food. In this manner a total of seven to eight alternating sweet and savoury courses were brought out till my stomach was at the point of bursting. As hard as it is to pick, my personal favourite to this day is Dal Chaawal Palidu– a spicy daal stew served with a steamed mix of rice and red masoor daal. Finally, with fruit sorbet some dry fruits, this delightful meal came to an end.
The quandary you’re probably faced with now is how do you get your hands on this delicious food? Unless you’re Bohra or have Bohra friends, the chances of you eating authentic Bohra food are slim. Instead of waiting for the next Bhora wedding invitation to come in the mail, let HausKhaas bring the food to you. Don’t let your busy lifestyle deprive you of a warm home cooked meal with your friends and family.