This Pet Pooja series of us has been heavily concentrated on this side of the river all this while, so we decided to go over to the other side and explore and address a delicacy which, if not, would render our project incomplete. Khavsa. Historically, Rander wasn’t an integral part of Surat, and both the towns developed simultaneously at the two opposite banks of Tapi. And hence, the difference, though not stark is visible in the people, architecture and especially how food is treated.
This small street side lahri was founded sometime during the turn of the millennium by Usmaan Ashraf at Teen Batti, Rander, right next to the Masjid, where emperor Jahangir himself has read his Namaz quite a few number of times, back in the day. Also, this is the same place that puts up the extravagant food fiesta consisting of meaty delicacies like rangooni parathas and rabdi jalebis during ramzaan [though the unavailability of Jain chicken is a bummer for some folks]. Today, he and his sons, manage the place together, and it is with great pride that the elder son, Ashraf Salman puts forth the fact that in the past 17-18 years that they have been active, the taste has not moved to the right or left, a bit. Consistency is the name of the game.
Everyday, they are open from 8-1:30 in the morning, and then from 4-10 in evening, and the process for it starts from as early as 4am. A bowl of this awesome, healthy as fornication, dish includes noodles, coconut soup, some fried munchies for texture, and chicken/egg or both if you eat like a king, or none if you prefer it vegetarian. On an average day, they serve 1000 such plates, which amounts to around 20-25 liters of the thick coconut gravy, 15 kilos of the maida noodles [which is also home made], and some 15-20 kgs of chicken. So much calories that it’ll burn all the calories in your body.
Its only common that people from all parts of the city, and even Bombay and Calcutta come to these humble shades to feast on the food there, and when asked what makes it so special, all that the son has to say is that we make it exactly how we make it at home, the only difference being that we cook things separately and assemble them here, rather than putting everything together at one go, as one would have at home.
“Our forefathers were from Burma, and years ago they came here and settled in Rander and brought a piece of their motherland in the form of this dish. The only change that has been brought about in the dish is owing to the availability of the resources and raw materials, and hence a little tweaking in the recipe so as to accommodate these changes. Apart from that, everything is, as mentioned before, curated with utmost perfection.”
*licks the coconut soup off the beard*