Sharing a Bohra Thal lunch with Tasneem in her Mumbai home

Last Fall, when I was in Mumbai, I was eager to break “naan” with a local family. But what I found was no typical meal. Rather, it was a 5-course Bohra Thal meal, a celebratory feast created by Tasneem through Food Tours Mumbai.

The Bohra Thal, which is a huge plate, is based on the principle of community eating and sharing food together as a family and eating together as a family. The basis is the belief that this increases the feeling of love and brotherhood among all who share food.

After a welcome drink called Gol nu Pani, a refreshing infusion of jaggery and basil seeds with a splash of lime, we gathered around the rose-petal-sprinkled bohra thal and started with a traditional pinch of salt.

Then the meal proceeds with 5 courses, alternating sweet (or mithaas) and savory.

The sweets were an indescribably creamy homemade ice cream.

And the appetizer (or kharaas) and main course (or jaman) were a crispy roasted chicken drum and a goat curry served with an aromatic and beautifully decorated rice.

These dishes were complemented by assorted chutneys, cold potato salad called chaat, and assorted chutneys.   Some recipes, like the lemon chutney, were so detailed that it took Tasneem several minutes to describe the preparation process.

And each course came with its own ingredients and stories.

That meal in the Makda’s living room, with her lace curtains blowing in the soft afternoon breeze, lit up all my senses.    And even better than the lovingly, carefully prepared meal was the opportunity to spend an afternoon with Tasneem.  Her warmth and openness made for a priceless memory of Mumbia.

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