Thursday, March 07, 2013

An Unforgettable Bite and Slurp at Hajjiali

Hajjiali's Falooda & Cream made its humble beginning in 1937 inside the mosque of the legendary saint Haaji Ali in Mumbai. Today, it has become a cult for falooda lovers.

I refused to believe it; but my friend had told me so many tales of their mouth watering faloodas and sandwiches that I had to eat it to believe it. Believe it, I did and also packed a fruit falooda and a Paneer Bhaaji Cheese sandwich for my mom.
I had tried on a few occasions to drop in at Hajjiali on Greams Road, but the timing was always off and I never made it. This time, the saint blessed me. I was quite excited when I saw the place. The ambiance was not great and neither was the wash area. All that anxiety faded when I ordered a Schezwan veg sandwich and a dry fruit falooda. 

I had never tasted a falooda before, but when I saw the mouthwatering tall glass of rich milk blended with rose syrup, to which basil seeds and glass noodles or vermicilli was addded, served with a scoop of ice-cream and a mighty generous sprinkling of dry fruits, it reminded me of its closest cousin (according to me only), the Bubble Tea I had in Canada. The Bubble tea originated in Taiwan in the 1980s and is made with tea and milk or fruits served with tapioca seeds. 

Falooda is a dessert that originated in Persia and was actually known as faloodeh. We acquired a taste for it when the Mughals brought it to us along with their invasions. The faloodeh certainly invaded my heart and I shall not rest until I make my own faloodeh at home and post it on my food blog. While the Persians made the vermicelli using arrow root, we used wheat as a base. Today there are so many versions of this lip smacking dessert in Asia to include Burma, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Srilanka as well as the Middle East. 

The sandwiches were done to perfection. The grated cheese was perfectly laid over the schezwan mixture and finished with the veggies. It was grilled well and the portions were spot-on. I wonder if they had measured the perfect bite size and served it. Biting into club sandwiches can usually be a messy affair because of the height of the sandwich.

Hajjiali blew my breath away. Prices were not frightening and service was good, which made the deal a lot sweeter. For two lip-smacking faloodehs and two sets of spicy sandwiches, we were presented a cheque for INR 357.

Now that's what I call, a Steal!

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