Pathare Prabhu Anand Mela 2016

Started the new year with the Anand Mela at the Pathare Prabhu Hall at Khar.This was the third year I attended and it was just as exciting.This community is said to have migrated from Patan in North Gujarat to Mahim which used to be known as Mahikavati,as mentioned in Jagdish Gandhi's book 'A Tale Of Native Towns of Mumbai".At the fest were Kunal Vijayakar ( who had one of the most successful food shows on television,wrote a cookbook and is now into comedy) and Rahul Velkar of Mr Chow's.Rahul's great grandfather Rao Bahadur Narayan Dinanath Velkar was the first Indian Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai.

Bimba Nayak was there with a long list of food with different dishes in the morning and evening.Also on sale was her signature soothing Watermelon Juice.

She made Chicken Pickle, Prawn Pickle and Clam Pickle!! I bought her Panchamrut which is a dark colored,spicy sweet chutney and it was just amazing! Bits of dry fruits sweetened the spiciness of this awesome concoction.

A piquant dish....Bombil Methkoot which will blow your senses

The non vegetarian version of the Gujarati dish Undhiyo.This is similar to Umbhariyo of Parsis.Bimba made it with prawns but meat can also be used.

Bimba makes outstanding crabs.....whether Khadkhadle or Tandoori

Soumitra was there with his mother Surbhi Velkar.Soumitra loves participating at the Anand Mela which he says is a lot of fun and makes it possible to meet a lot of friends and family together,all at the same time.Their stall had Prawn Pickle and Chicken Dhansak.There is a strong bond between Parsis and Pathare Prabhus.In fact a studio portrait of Three Parsis and a Parbhu (1867) was commissioned by the Govt of India for the Archaeological Survey Of India.This is now housed in the British Museum.Both communities migrated to Mumbai from Gujarat,were highly educated and held important administrative positions.They believe in philanthropy and have a strong sense of tradition. Soumitra thinks the non vegetarian preferences of both communities is one of the underlying factors :) The Dhansak which Soumitra made would have had any Parsi raving and considering him a Bawa!

Kalpana Talpade was there with her son Dhiren,making Shrimp Pangojis,which is a monsoon speciality.She has several Youtube videos on Pathare Prabhu food as Aunty KT :D A new PP dish I learnt about from her was the Kairicha Kharavni made with prawns.She also made Spicy Paya Soup,Kheema and Khadkhadle.On sale were her CDs on Pathare Prabhu cuisine

Ghol (fish) Cutlets,Methi Dink Ladoos (meant for pregnant women) and Wakhandachya Vadya (a winter special made of herbs and spices roasted in ghee and bound by jaggery) filled another stall.

Another PP speciality is Kaju Poli.Dudhi Halwa is stuffed into Shingdya and baked at Diwali time.This is like a Karanji.This was at Soumitra's stall and also at Jagruti Jayakar Kothare's stall.Today I tried Pineapple Halwa at another stall.

For those at Central Mumbai,a Pathare Prabhu outlet has opened in Prabhadevi called GauriVandana Foods from where the Pathare Prabhu Sambhar masala can be preordered.Ronica Vijayakar and Asha Kothare are well known for the masalas in the suburbs.Ronica had a stall at the fest too.

A special mention for master baker Asmita Rane (who has married into the Parbhi community) who made chicken pot pie,prawn chops and guava cheese.The Anand Mela wasn't just about Pathare Prabhu Food.It  represented the current status of the community and their interactions with other communities,upholding their own traditions and respecting others!!


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