Kabaab and savouries in Frazer Town

The Muslim holy month of Ramzan is a time of extremes. Followers of the religion fast from sunrise to sundown, and feast throughout the night. As a result, every city in India has a place where Iftar food is a gala affair and attract people from all faiths.

In Bengaluru/Bangalore, that place has traditionally been Frazer Town, where the mosque roads teems with foodies crowding to month-long stalls that serve the most sumptuous and savoury food items. As Pooja and I found out, they are slightly on the pricier side, but more than make up for it in variety, taste and experience!

Now, we are Hindu by religion, but don’t follow it too strictly. I am more of a “sinner” in that context than Pooja, sampling the occasional “forbidden” beef kabaabs. But Frazer Town served up such a huge variety of food that I remained on the correct side of my religion. Well, almost.

See, the first thing we did after arriving there just a couple of days before Eid there was grab a couple of somewhat cold mini mutton samosas. Underwhelming.

Next, we got Pooja a shawarma. The man behind the cooking counter seemed extra generous, and Pooja really likes mayonnaise. The result: A heart-attack-inducing amount of chicken and mayonnaise in Pooja’s shawarma, and a heart-stoppingly beautiful smile on her face.

Wish I could show you that. The blame lies solely with me. For my senses—especially the olfactory one—were ensnared by what was taking place directly opposite the mosque on the eponymous Mosque Road.

The green stuff is the local interpretation of kalmi kabaab. The rolls on the side are filled with beef chunks. I happened to have a faal kabaab here—contiguous portions of beef fried to a near crisp on the outside, but juicily tender on the inside—but they had managed to partially ruin the experience with gravy and curry leaves.

Things could only get better from here, and they did! In the form of some chicken keema parotta—minced chicken spiced, cooked and stuffed into a flatbread, which then itself was fried in oil and served hot.

I’ll be honest here. This alone could be one of the reasons I would like to go back for this one dish alone!

Next on the block, literally, was some special faal kabaab. I didn’t eat this, but the photo is solely here for some clever puns. For starters, now I can smell what the rock is cooking!

As the evening progressed, the crowd thickened and the platters thinned. Within an hour, a mountainous pile of chicken-based kabaabs and dishes was reduced to this:

But some stalls were still piling it on. This one, for example, was making and serving kabaabs fresh off the skewer!

This is where Pooja tasted her first seekh kabaab. And here is where I would like to say that “seekh kabaab” is indeed the correct term. “Shishkabaab”, as far as I know, is mere anglicisation of the original.

An hour on Mosque Road, and we were seeing the people manning the stall get busier. Here’s another group making faal kabaab in yet another way.

We gave that a miss, and proceeded to devour a whole chicken thigh and leg that had been cooked Afghan style, or so we were told. The poached egg on top of the chicken is seen elsewhere, but I wonder if Afghans use capsicum/bell pepper in their food.

Now, this was at the fag end of the stalls, so we turned back, and turned our attention to a sweeter category of food.

Desserts are an integral part of any cuisine, and transcend barriers with their allure. Here’s Pooja making googly eyes at some firni in little earthen pots. Needless to say, one of these pots made its way back home with us.

Nearby stalls had other kinds of sweets. The two in the foreground are syrupy ones, while the off-white and brown blocks are the dry variety. Look up gulab jamun, ras malai, kalakand and gajjak for reference.

However, we happened to zero in on some pistachio-flavoured kulfi, and managed to get a brain-freeze on our ride back home.

Want to join us on our next trip? Want to suggest a new place? Or just want to point something out or have your say? Right this way.

Meanwhile, see you on our next stop!

Arkadev Ghoshal


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