A pinch of salt passed around to partake before start of the meal. Where the meal doesn’t start until everyone has been seated around the thaal. Where the first course of the meal usually tends to be the ice-cream and then continues on. Bohri Cuisine has been relatively new to us. The only other time to have dined out to experience Bohri Cuisine was when Radisson Blu had a Bohri Food Festival during their anniversary festivities in Hyderabad.
But to be experiencing Bohri Culture first-hand was indeed exhilarating. The Dawoodi Bohra’s are a sect of Islamili Shia Islam originated in Yemen, who later spread to India and Pakistan. In India, they primarily settled in Gujarat (Surat) before spreading out. Being from Yemen, there is a lot of Arabic and Middle Eastern influences to the cuisine.
Bohri Food has primarily two sides to it. The meethas (sweets) and kharas (savouries). A traditional Bohri meal consists of several courses of meethas and kharas which are served alternately. But the first course of a meal has to be the dessert, usually ice-cream. Their love for ice-cream is unending and is almost a must part of the meal, unless a special occasion when it’s the sodannu, a rice dessert with lots of ghee and sugar.
The Bohri Kitchen or TBK in short is an experimental concept which has been started by Munaf Kapadia at their home in Colaba, Mumbai. Community eating on a single thaal has been always been part of Bohri Cuisine. And this concept helps people bond over a common love for food which forms the backbone of TBK. The most authentic of Bohri food is served at their house as they host guests to some delicious dabba gosht and countless courses of meals.
As we asked Munaf as to why TBK? Why the idea to open The Bohri Kitchen? Munaf had always wanted to monetize his mother’s skills. Mrs. Nafisa Kapadia is an entrepreneurial chef who has years of cooking skills. She is the backbone of TBK, who conceptualizes the menu and the masterpieces of the Bohri Cuisine to be served as guests. The father, Mr. Turab Kapadia does all the shopping personally from the Colaba/Crawford markets for the best produce to be used.
As the mother-son duo greet the guests to a brief introduction of Bohri Culture and Food before everyone starts off on a gastronomical journey. Starting off with the customary passing of salt around, which is supposed to activate the taste buds. A rose infused Watermelon Cooler follows next and many more kharas are brought in. There is the delicious keema samosas, nargis kebab (hidden inside is a surprise boiled egg).
The Kaari Chaval, the most respected dish of the Bohri Main Course dishes made with Bohri Kari Masala, Coconut Milk and tamarind is astonishing. Also part of the main course is the traditional dabba gosht. The Dabba Gosht is a concoction of mutton, mixed vegetables, eggs and pasta all placed together before being baked. No one actually knows how macaroni actually came to be an integral part of the Bohri Cuisine, but it’s all there.
To end it all with a bowl of Fruit Salad. The unending range of fruits is al there. Oranges, Mosambis, apples, bananas all in custard to make a heavenly sweet end dessert. And considering that no meal is complete without the saunf, which is customary to partake after a meal.
The Bohri Kitchen has been opening up the doors of it’s home to the invigorating experience of Bohri Culture. The menu changes every week to make sure you explore the cuisine with every visit.
They host batches of 14 and can also be contacted if a batch of 6+ want to do their own menu version of it at TBK. It’s like creating your own customary TBK.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/thebohrikitchen
Photo Credits: From The Bohri Kitchen FB Page