Traditional, wholesome and delicious Bohra Food Fest concludes in Karachi

KARACHI (Monitoring Desk): After three days of offering homemade delicious, whol­e­some Bohra food to big crowds, the Bohra Food Fest, organised by the Dawoodi Bohra community that was under way on the rooftop of the two North Walk malls in North Nazimabad concluded here on Sunday.

From simple daal-chawal to biryani, meat curries, daal gosht, gakhar gosht, fried chicken, cutlets, pav bhaji, vada pav, bharta, khattay aloo, masala dosa, masala stuffed green chilli, sev puri,chana chaat, dahi baray, paani puri, khowsuey, barbeque, pizza paratha to traditional sweets such as gur papri, kunafa and also non-traditional sweets such as cupcakes, brownies, doughnuts, caramel popcorn, etc., the mixed aromas tantalised the taste buds, making one want to try everything from every stall, which was not that simple because there were around a hundred stalls at the fest.

Several of the stalls were set up by Bohra food vendors, mostly from Nazimabad and Pakistan Chowk but many more had housewives in their traditional and pretty colourful rida dress, selling you homemade delights. Everything was reasonably priced with good-size portions. The entry pass only cost Rs100 each and the most expensive platter didn’t cost more than Rs500 with most things for Rs100 to Rs250 only.

It is said that a special Bohra thaal has as many dishes on it as the years of age of the Dawoodi Bohra community spiritual leader but as Muffadal Shabbir at the Hakimi Kitchen stall told Dawn that it was not necessary. “Actually, on the first of Muharram, we have the thaal birthday. That’s when we honour our spiritual leader by placing on the thaal as many dishes as there are years in his age,” he explained.

As per Bohra customs, all meals begin by having a pinch of salt followed by a sweet appetiser. Only then are you to help yourself with whatever else you would like to have from that huge stainless steel thaal (platter) before you.

There can be several dishes on a thaal, which you sit down around along with at least two and four or as many as eight persons. Usually Bohras enjoy their food sitting cross legged on the floor around the thaal but there is no hard and fast rule. You can also place the thaal on a table and pull up a chair to enjoy the food.

For some strange reason, there were no tables or chairs to sit on at the Fest, which became an issue for some people who wanted to sit down to enjoy their food. But one visitor observed that it was probably because the organisers wanted people to not just stay at one place but move around and explore all the stalls while buying anything that they might like and enjoying it on the go.

Apart from the food, there were other activities, too, at the Fest such as an area where children were encouraged to experiment with preparing their own food. The various stall vendors, especially the women among them, also had no issues sharing their recipes with the visitors. There was also a gaming area at the Fest to keep children happy and occupied.