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Feasting on Ramadan food treats at Mosque Road, Bangalore

Every year, during the holy month of Ramadan, Mosque Road in Frazer Town converts into a major hub for food lovers. Several stalls are set up selling a variety of Iftar treats by the road side, and every year, the number of stalls just keep getting bigger and bigger.

Now, you don’t have to go to Frazer Town for Iftar treats as stalls are set up outside every major mosque in Bangalore during the holy month of Ramadan. But Mosque Road being what it is attracts are a larger number of people. I have been Mosque Road with friends in previous years, but this year I wanted to capture some photos for my blog.

After meeting up with a friend, we rode down to Frazer Town, parked my bike near Savoury Restaurant and walked up to Mosque Road.

Ramzan food stall Frazer Town Bangalore
Stalls were set up away from Mosque Road too
Heritage hotel Ramadhan stall Bangalore
Heads up: a lot of meat in this blog post
Mutton kheema egg fry Ramadan food India
Mutton kheema and stir fried egg next to it
Free Quran distribution Bangalore India
This was an organization handing out free copies of the Quran (in English). I asked for a copy as I have always wanted to read for myself what was myth and what is actually quoted in the Holy Book.
Sheek kebabs Ramadan Frazer town
I moved to Mosque Road where sheek kebabs were being cooked over charcoal. Beef, chicken, and of course mutton were on offer.
Brazil beef kebabs Bangalore India
This stall was selling Brazilian beef. When I asked the guy why he wasn’t selling Indian beef, the owner just shrugged and said this “tastes better”. Oh well, I know why. None the less, I packed some.
Fried beef chicken kebabs Bangalore
Beef and colourful chicken kebabs beside it. Really put off by the use of food colour in meat.
Idiyappam Mosque Road Iftar Bangalore
Idiyappams and chicken kebabs?
Beef sukka Frazer town Banglaore
Beef sukka. Sampled some and it tasted okay.
Biriyani Palace Eid stall Bangalore
We then crossed over to the other side where much of the big stalls on Mosque Road were
Pathar gosht stone mutton Bangalore
That’s mutton being cooked on a huge slab or stone over a charcoal fire 🙂 They call it pathar gosht (pathar = stone; gosht = mutton)
Ramazan tent Iftar Mosque Road Bangalore
There were many of these food tents set up beside Mosque Road
Ramadan food tent Bangalore India
It was crowded!
Mutton haleem Bangalore India
Mutton haleem. Haleem, for the uninitiated, is a thick gravy like dish made using wheat, barley, lentils and meat (plus spices).
Ramazan food tent Mosque road Bangalore
I don’t think I could have even stood here and ate something. Too stuffy and way too many people passing through.
Iftar sweets Bangalore India
Lots of sweets on offer!
Fish chicken kadi Eid food
There wasn’t a whole lot of sea food available and given the ‘Bangalore premium’ for seafood, whatever that was on offer was kinda expensive.
Mosque road Ramadan stalls Bangalore
There were many more stalls alongside Mosque Road
Ramzan tent Frazer town Bangalore
We went in here next
Chicken samosas Eid food Bangalore
Chicken samosas, chicken fry, chicken kebabs, chicken this, chicken that…
Pathar gosht beef Frazer town
More beef and mutton grilled on stone
Dry fruit firny Shahi tukda dessert
Packed up some firny (sweet)
Chocolate cupcakes Karachi haleem
And picked up some chocolate cupcakes
Pudding gulab jamun sweets Iftar
I had some pudding next, which was yum!
Mosque road Ramadan night Bangalore
Even though much of the activity was on the right side, I crossed the road to check out what was on offer on the other lane on Mosque Road
Muslims sheek kebabs Bangalore India
Much of the same, albeit far less glamourous that’s all
Iftar sweets Frazer town Bangalore
There weren’t too many different varieties of food on offer this side

After packing up some more food, I left Mosque Road. It’s obvious the annual Ramadan treats have grown into a big business opportunity for vendors over these past few years. It wasn’t this crowded when I visited 2 years ago. People of all faiths turn up to try out the food. Of course there were a few ignorant people. One guy was silly enough to ask if pork was available! 😛

Also, the prices this year weren’t low by any street food means. A plate of pathar gosht was sold for Rs. 200, and the quantity was only good enough for just one person. A stick of just three chicken-cheese balls cost Rs. 50. Don’t even ask about the sea food prices.

Still, if you have an opportunity to check out the fare on Mosque Road, do so if you have never visited the stretch during Ramzan before. And do it before Eid. Happy feasting!

Microwave cooked roast chicken

Roasting chicken in a convection microwave

Roasting, baking… whatever you want to call it, this is how I cooked a whole chicken in my convection grill microwave. To be specific, I have an LG convection microwave at home. It has a rotisserie but I decided to bake/roast it on a non-stick, baking pan.

I’ve always wanted to try roasting a whole chicken at home because I got increasingly sick of buying roasted chicken from restaurants — or “grilled chicken” as it’s more commonly called in India. It’s not charcoal grilled, but cooked in a rotisserie (fired up using LPG). Not only were they getting expensive, but the chickens used were small — or they over-cook them so much that they suck the very life and soul out of the poor bird leaving you behind with a very shrunk chicken. Some of these restaurants even use food colouring to make the end product appear more red than required.

I on the other hand, longed for the kind of roast chicken I grew up eating in Bahrain. Simple yet spicy (but not chilli) and generally not a whole lot as far as the marination goes. I looked up a few recipes online, mostly using the keywords “Arabian” or “Lebanese” and got the gist of what the common ingredients used were. I then read up on the simple Western baking recipes for chicken and how the marination was to be done.

Once I had a fair idea, I went out to buy me a whole chicken with skin. You would think it would be an easy task but considering most Indian cooking involving chicken uses skinless chicken, it proved to be rather difficult. After trying the local chicken vendor, I went to HyperCity which is a well stocked, big supermarket in Meenakshi Mall (Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore). They had everything but a whole chicken with skin. So I rode all the way to Auchan (formerly known as Spar) on Bannerghatta Road. They had much better variety and stocked a lot of chickens for sale with the skin intact. All cleaned out and retailing for a very reasonable Rs. 139 a kilo, I bought a bird that weighed about 1.2 kilos (2.6 lbs).

Back home, I washed the chicken at least twice and left it in a bowl so as to drain out as much water as possible.

Whole chicken with skin
Drain out as much water from the cleaned chicken. You’d be surprised to see how much more water comes out of the bird while cooking.
Pouring olive oil on chicken
I first poured some olive oil and rubbed the chicken gently with my own hands. You can use a brush if you want, but I’m a rather ‘hands-on’ person.
Lifting skin of chicken
Separate the skin from the meat by gently pulling it apart. You may need to use a knife to make cuts so that your fingers can be inserted in between the skin and the flesh.

The whole point of doing so is so that you can marinate the flesh with the spice mix under the skin and on to the meat itself and not just smear it all over the outer skin.

Indian spice mix
My spice mix consisted of chilli powder, pepper, turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, and some oregano

I’m not mentioning how many spoonfuls of the above spices because it all depends on how spicy you want your chicken. Also, depends on the size of the bird. I wasn’t seeking ‘hot,’ but enough of a spice mixture so as not to end up tasting bland.

I then smeared some ginger-garlic paste along with the spices all over the chicken. Be gentle when using your hands marinating the chicken. Especially under the skin, which can tear easily. I turned the chicken over and got my fingers in as I far I could so as to properly spread the spice mix.

I then rubbed some salt all over. Note: Olive oil, ginger-garlic paste and condiments like oregano already adds a bit of saltiness. So be careful not to over-do it with spoonfuls of salt.

Marinated chicken ready for baking
I cut up some capsicum, baby potatoes and onion, and even stuffed the chicken with the same (and a few cloves of garlic). The rest covered up the space on the pan face down on the buttered surface.

Now back to the microwave. Whether you use a convection microwave or a conventional oven, it still needs to be pre-heated. In the LG microwave, that means clicking ‘Mode’ and then turning the dial to the ‘fan’ symbol on the display with the symbols indicating ‘Pre-Heat’ function. Enter, and when you get to the temperatures, it begins at 180° Celsius (356° Fahrenheit) and goes all the way up to 220° Celsius. I always believe slow cooking ensures uniform cooking right through, so I set it to 180° and pre-heated the microwave. When the microwaved “pinged” implying it was now ready, I placed the pan on top of a stand and put it in. I set the timer for 45 minutes and pressed ‘Start’.

At the end of 45 minutes, I took the chicken out and used a knife to poke through the skin and meat. The meat was still a bit pink around the legs, which tends to be the case when roasting a whole chicken. I then flipped the chicken around on its back because the juices that flow out of the bird while cooking made the base of the chicken quite soggy. I didn’t drain the juices from the pan because it’s full of flavour and I have use for it.

I placed the turned chicken back inside the microwave and cooked it for another 30 minutes. By the way, your cooking time will depend on the size of the bird. Larger the meat, obviously the longer its going to take.

All said and done, this was the end result…

Microwave cooked roast chicken

I cut a sliver and it tasted great! (If I may say so myself)

I made the above chicken for a few friends who had come over and a group of five ate devoured the whole bird leaving behind only bones in such a condition you probably wouldn’t have guessed it was a chicken.

I’m quite happy with the way the microwaved chicken turned out. A few months prior I attempted to cook tandoor chicken (yoghurt marination and all) in the microwave and it was… no, it didn’t quite work. There are some things you just need the right utensils for.

None the less, the success of this led to more attempts and trying different recipes for marination. Like, I mixed the spice powders (not as much though) with dollops of barbecue sauce (brand: American Garden). Logic being, the flavour of hickory is only better accentuated by hot charcoal, something that’s missing when cooking using electricity. So I figured the spices would sweeten the chicken less had I only smeared the chicken with barbecue sauce.

I also tried an even simpler marinate of olive oil, ginger-garlic paste, chopped coriander leaves and salt. Came out swell — jut not something your average Indian will like.

I wanted to roast chicken myself because in Kannur, we now get locally made Lebanese bread (Rs. 20 for 5 pcs) and I had a can of hummus and baba ganoush lying around in Bangalore. Instead of adding more olive oil to the hummus (as is the norm), I use the juices left in the pan and mix it. Dip the Lebanese bread in hummus, dig in to the chicken and… mmmmm.

The success of roasting at home has meant I no longer buy “grilled chicken” from restaurants such as Empire and other places like that. Not only are their food dripping in oil, the quality of their chickens (read: age) leave a lot to be desired.

So there! If you ever thought about roasting an entire chicken at home, let me tell you, it’s do-able if you have a proper oven or a good convection microwave. Have fun cooking!

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