According to Wikipedia, “Ramzan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is observed… as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief. This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths.”
The corners of Delhi light up during the month of Ramzan showcasing eats from different corners of the city waiting for customers to hoard these stalls during their Ifta meals. I visit these stalls to take in the culinary delight these stalls offer to their customers; their wide varieties from the scrumptious biryanis, fresh fruits, rich kormas, platters of delightful sweets and what not.
Generally people might equate Iftar meals just with meats but there are various choices which many are ignorant of; like the sugary ‘malpua’ and the hordes of dates which are sold on the busy roads of old Delhi. I being a meat lover is always in search of treats which satiate my protein craving. The small vivid Bengali in me misses the kind of rich meaty delight from these streets which is normally found in the Bengali ghettos of Delhi, the ‘mughlai paratha’; it might not be the kind of food one associates with an Iftar meal but any meals is specific to ones region and culture even if the religion of the festival remains the same. In a tryst to mix my culture in this rich tradition of food I made Mughlai parathas this weekend.
The Mughlai paratha is a street food famous in Calcutta for its simple flavour of the mince mutton which is wrapped with raw eggs in a flour dough, deep fried till it is glistening with oil and is golden with flavour. I have tried and eaten various versions of the paratha in Calcutta and Delhi. Over the years I have cooked it at home making changes at every corner to make it into my own.
Ramzan Special Mughlai Paratha
For the mutton filling
- 500 gms mince mutton
- 2 nos 2 inch ginger and about 10 cloves of garlic minced to a paste
- 2 large onions finely diced
- ½ cup mint leaves chopped
- ½ cup coriander leaved chopped with their stalks
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp chilly powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 4 nos green cardamom
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 3 green chillies split in half
For the wraps
- 5 eggs
- 4 tbsp ghee
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 tbsp carom seeds/ ajwain
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup warm water
For the filling
- Heat oil and throw in the cardamom pods, the cinnamon sticks and the green chillies and stir a little till they pop
- Add the onions and sauté till light brown, add the ginger garlic paste and cook till the mixture has turned golden brown. Browning the onions gives the mutton a nutty flavour. If the mixture sticks to the pan just add some warm water but be sure not to make it watery though.
- Sprinkle in the cumin, coriander and red chilly powder and cook for about a minute.
- Add in the meat, salt, mint and coriander leaves; mix and cover till it is done. If your meat starts sticking to the pan you can always add a few teaspoon of warm water. The mixture needs to be dry so that the meat parcels do not break away when you are frying it.
- Take off the heat and set it aside to cool.
For the dough
- Keep the eggs aside and knead all the ingredients in a dough
For the Parcels
- Divide the dough into 5 balls.
- Roll out the dough really thin on an oiled surface so the dough does not stick to the surface.
- In a separate bowl mix one egg and 3 tablespoon of the cooked meat together.
- Put this mixture on the rolled out dough and spread evenly.
- Now seal the dough and make it into parcels
- Heat oil in a frying pan and shallow fry for about 3-4 minutes on each side on medium heat till both sides are golden brown.
- Serve with some pickled onions.
As I wished my friends on the special occasion of Eid this weekend and shared a few bites with some of them, I remembered my early childhood days in Calcutta enjoying my first parathas on the busy streets.