Bombay, in the present-day state of Maharashtra, does not have an ancient urban history. It comprised of seven isles that sometimes connected during the low tide, until reclamation turned them into a peninsula stretching into the Arabian Sea. The original inhabitants were kohlis- fishermen who sailed in red-sailed, Arab dhows for catches of pomfret, bombil (Bombay duck) shark, prawns and other riches. Original kohli villages are now surrounded by sky-scrapers. Here, fisher folk still use methods only slightly modernized. Fish markets and drying fish can lead one by the nose to these original settlements. Although no fish graces our vegetarian meal, the thali featured has food cooked on fasting days- typically Thursdays, when no flesh, fish or fowl is consumed.
Dal: lentils flavored with turmeric, ginger tamarind, spices and curry leaves
Brown-rice: brown rice drizzled with butter.
Corn- bhaji: seasonal corn cooked with onion, garlic and spices.
Papad: Crisp, wheat-free lentil chips.
Carrot pickle: Fermented carrots seasoned with fenugreek, mustard, turmeric, ginger and cayenne.
Cilantro-mint chutney: Fresh corriander chutney with a hint of mint
Tomato-cucumber-onion cachumber: Fresh, salsa style chop-salad
Chickee: Peanuts, butter and caramelized jaggery make this the favorite dessert-snack of road and train trips.
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