On numerous occasions... inquiring about good Non-Vegetarian delicacies/specialties of Surat had resulted in the same answer - “Rangooni Paratha” of “Rander Ramzaan Bazaar” by various people who know this city well... So we decided to take a dip and visit the mela this time around (in spite of being on a “strict” diet).
#LifeInSurat Project Place – Rander Ramzaan Bazaar
Explorers – Rahul Kedia, PrakashAnandani, Puja Kedia
Must Visit for - Foodies, Culture Enthusiasts, Street Photographers.
Avoid If – Agoraphobic (fear or crowds), Gastroparesis (weak stomach)
Facebook Link - Click Here
Ramzaan Bazaar at Rander started in 1938. And since then it happens in the same alley, near the Chunarwad Masjid. The way to the mela was relatively simple from what we had imagined… you just need to take the straight New Rander Road and it will take you directly to this venue (Marked with the red square in the map).
We were careful enough to park our vehicle a little far from the chaos of the mela near this old bakery.
So our journey started from this little bakery... And as usual when they saw us with a “big” camera clicking pictures… the interest in each other became mutual.
We were invited inside the bakery and got to taste a few of their special flavors. (Also they would not accept any money from us)
Then after we asked for the proper direction to the Mela (which was around 100 steps from here) we wished them the best and left for the ultimate objective of the night – Rangooni Parathas.
At the entry of the mela we were greeted with seekh kabas, chicken tandoori, foil chicken, boti kabaabs and loads of other delicacies.
But we kept reminding ourselves of our ultimate goal the rangooni paranthas and made our way through a hoard of mid-night shoppers. The street was lined with small kiosks selling embroidered burqas, prayer beads, talcum-toiletries, replica sneakers and bags, cheap Chinese toys etc etc.
We finally reached an alley, next to this beautiful maderesa.
On the way we befriended a kid and asked him his preferred larri (for khousey and the parantha). He readily took us to this kiosk for khousey which in the end turned out to be his uncle’s. It was not great at all but hungry as we were... we still had a go at it.
A version of Chicken khousuey [locals call it khausa] is prepared with steaming spaghetti, thin, chicken curry with a coconut milk base and garnished with dry puri pieces instead of Sali wafers, with a sprinkling of spring onion greens.
Then we asked direction for Mama’s which was just round the corner and made our way to the stall.
There was a long que at Mama’s and so we decided to try the next stall (Kasubhai’s) which is equally popular amongst locals. There too was a long que but shorter than the previous fellow.
Our time waiting for our turn in the que was spent chatting with the senior fellow seen in this picture....
He told us that the recipe of making these paranthas have passed on through 7 generations and is still unaltered.... Not only this they only involve FAMILY members in running this stall and do not hire any outsider/help. Rangooni parathas are actually succulent pieces of meat (chicken or mutton) enveloped in a thin layer of flour bound with egg and deep-fried is a fat pillow like delicacy.
We were just amazed because even a big foodie of Prakash’s stature had not had or even heard of anything like this before. When our turn came we quickly grabbed our order... grabbed our seat and started munching. To be fair we did not like it that much... but there was too much of history behind them to not like them.
The end was really sweet with a good helping of the famous kulfi for all the three of us. But a question was constantly itching the grey matter... why “Rangooni” parantha and how come khousey... these are part of the Burmese cuisine and we are on the other side of the sub continent.... How did flavours of Burma end up in a ghetto in completely other side of the continent !!! On doing a little research (read googling) we came across Ashlesha Khurana’s blog which made the connection we were looking for... here is what she says and we quote -" Centuries ago, residents of this southern end of Bharuch would travel to the foreign shores of Arabia, Sudan, Bangkok, Burma from the port of Rander, in search of a livelihood. A lot of Burma teak and fine, bright coloured porcelain was shipped in from Yangon which travelled to the royalty in India. Till date antiques are sourced from here. Old homes in Rander are made of Burma teak. The Rander House in Rangoon at present houses The Internal Revenue Department. Post the third world war, trade started deteriorating and by the time Burma [Myanmar] was Independent in 1950, hundreds of Muslim Diaspora, forced to give up business and property, had returned back to Rander-now the city of mosques."
The Yangon connection inspired flavours of Burmese cuisine. Must say we were amazed by this little fact and also amazed by the fact that how little we know of the city/culture we claim/pretend to know so much about... All in all a very good find and we plan to return their again next year this time with Vaishal who knows and gets custom-made parathas for himself... and which i have heard are really relishing.