A Culinary Journey with Taheri Delights

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By

Avinash Mudaliar

Updated:Jan 28, 2024

We recently had the pleasure of hosting a Bohra meal at our home, catered by the remarkable Taheri Delights. Founded by the dynamic duo, Alifya and Aziz, Taheri Delights began as a modest venture but quickly gained recognition, especially after fulfilling an impressive order of 650 shawarmas for a community kitchen.

Celebrating Bohra Tradition: A Journey With Taheri Delights

Image Credit: Avinash Mudaliar

Enter at your own risk! 🙂  This is a feast to die for!

This entire experience is rich and for the hungry only! 

Like the famous saying goes : “Be mithaas, be Khaaras ehna pachhi Bohra bhai nu bypass”

“Two sweets/desserts and two starters and then the Bohra bhai had a bypass”

The experience however is one of the most amazing food experiences I have ever had at my home.

So a little background…

The Dawoodi Bohras, belonging to the Mustali branch of Ismaili Shia Islam, have roots in Yemen but have spread globally, influencing and incorporating diverse culinary traditions from the Middle East, Africa, India, Pakistan, and beyond.

Their unique language, Lisaan ud-Da’wat, merges Gujarati with elements of Arabic, Urdu, and Persian, and is written in the Arabic naskh script. Bohras are distinguished by their religious attire, Libas al-Anwar, and the traditional practice of men growing full beards. Communal dining on a large plate called thaal during gatherings, and observing major Islamic festivals and practices like Eid celebrations, Muharram, and the Hajj pilgrimage, are central to their communal life. The majlis, a gathering for religious events, remains a cornerstone of their tradition, reflecting their deep-rooted religious and cultural identity.

Their cuisine, rich in history and flavour, reflects a blend of Arabic, Middle Eastern, Mughlai, and Indian influences, particularly notable in their adaptation of kebabs, tikkas, and other Mughlai dishes, alongside traditional Gujarati flavours, especially from their early settlements in Surat, Gujarat.

Distinctively, Bohra meals often start with dessert, featuring sweets like Malida, lacchka, and Kalamro, followed by savoury appetizers and a full course meal, usually with a salad. Their cuisine is rich in rice dishes, from biryanis to various pulao, and specialties such as Bohra khichda, kheema khichdi, and mutton kari chawal. Soups, both cold and hot, accompany these rice dishes, adding to the variety and richness of the meals.

Meat in Bohra cuisine is typically boiled with spices before being added to sauces or gravies, a method that ensures tenderness and is reflective of Arabic culinary traditions. While beef is not commonly used, chicken and mutton are staples in their curries and other meat dishes.

Their culinary expertise was evident in every dish they served, each bursting with flavours that spoke volumes of their passion for cooking. The service was seamless, with Alifya and Aziz ensuring that every guest was attended to with the utmost care and attention.

What was interesting is how a savoury dish was always followed by something sweet, be it a dessert or anything else 

Namak: A traditional practice of starting and ending a meal with a pinch of salt, believed to cleanse the palate and reputed to ward off 72 types of diseases, according to folklore.

Sodannu: A celebratory dish made from rice, ghee (clarified butter), sugar, and nuts, symbolizing a sweet start to the festivities.

Sekelo Dudhi No Halwo: A unique preparation of Dudhi (bottle gourd) halwa enhanced with the richness of browned mawa, offering a delightful blend of sweetness and texture.

Smoked Mutton Kheema Samosa: Crispy samosas stuffed with smoked and flavourful mutton kheema, combining traditional spices with a smoky twist for an irresistible snack.

Apricot Prune Souffle with Vanilla Ice Cream: A luscious dessert featuring the creamy goodness of apricots and prunes, perfectly complemented by a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a refreshing finish. (The only Non- Bohra dessert. But the shuffle was super creamy and rich like any Indian mithai)

Tandoori Bawda with Gravy: Slow-cooked mutton shoulder served with a rich and vibrant red cashew gravy, showcasing the depth of traditional tandoori cooking.

Khopra Pak: A coconut-based sweet treat made with mawa, offering a dense and rich flavour characteristic of the classic Barfi but with a distinct coconut twist.

Dabba Chicken: A luxurious dish featuring chicken in a cashew and white sauce gravy, adorned with eggs, tomatoes, and a drizzle of ghee, presenting a harmonious blend of flavours and textures.

Chicken Kaari Chawal: Aromatic chicken curry prepared with a homemade spice blend, including cashews and fennel seeds, enriched with a touch of coconut milk, served alongside fragrant rice.

Tandoori Roti Dunked in Paya Masala: Hearty mutton trotters cooked slowly in a flavourful onion-tomato gravy, enjoyed with freshly made tandoori rotis for a satisfying meal.

Gosht Masoor Pulav: A layered dish featuring masoor (red lentils) masala and rice pretzels, combined with tender mutton and boiled eggs, offering a symphony of flavours.

Tomato Soup:  This tomato soup is not your normal restaurant soup. It is essentially Bohri and goes well as a gravy with the Gosht Masoor Pulav. It sets the tone for the main course with its comforting warmth and simplicity.

Gol Paani with Takmaria: A refreshing beverage made with jaggery, water, lime juice, and sabja (basil) seeds, perfect for cooling down and cleansing the palate.

Paan Balls: A creative twist on the traditional paan, these balls offer the quintessential after-meal refreshment in a bite-sized delight.

Smoked Dal Samosa: Another innovative samosa variant, filled with smoked dal (lentils), offering a unique and savoury taste experience.

Masala Bateta Topped with Kokam Chutney: Spicy and tangy potatoes tossed in masala and topped with kokam chutney, presenting a delightful combination of flavours.

Dal Chawal Palidu and Bhartu: A layered dish of toor dal (pigeon pea lentil) masala and rice, served with drumstick gravy and a distinctive version of Baingan Bharta (mashed eggplant), showcasing the diversity of Bohra culinary traditions.

“When eating fruit, remember the one who planted the tree.”

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