Mastani

 

 

MASTANIByVIKRAM KARVE 

 

 

What is a perfect end to a rich and heavy Mughlai Meal? A kulfi? Well, I prefer a cool refreshing falooda. Like the ice cold Shahi Gulab Falooda I always have at Shalimar in Bhendi Bazar after devouring my favorite tandoori raan masala and other spicy rich non-veg delights. 

And what is a perfect end to a spicy Kolhapuri Meal? It’s a Mastani – no doubt about it – a cool, refreshing, lip-smaking Mastani to quench your fires and perk you up with it’s blissful sweet cool revitalizing effect. 

Mastani is to Pune what Falooda is to Mumbai. You get Mastani at many places in Pune. The first time I tasted Mastani when I was a small boy was at Kawre Cold drink House near Ganpati Chowk off Laxmi Road, but now I feel that their Mastani isn’t as good as before, and Punekar’s have their favorites like Sujata in Sadashiv Peth, which is close to the “Kolhapuri” food district of Pune near Peru Gate, but I like the Mastani at Gujar Mastani House near City Pride on Satara Road. 

At Gujar, I order a “Bajirao Mastani”. If you look at the menu, you will get confused, as there feature all types of fancy Mastanis fortified with dry fruits and all sorts of rich high-calorie embellishments, which will in fact will make you feel heavy and slothful, rather than quench, stimulate, revitalize and perk you up. So remember the golden rule, the “signature” no-frills authentic item will always be at the top of the menu, least expensive in that class – so go ahead and order it. 

The contents of the tall glass comprise an attractively appetizing looking and fragrant layered creamy milky liquid of increasing density topped with ice-cream, with a straw thrust vertically through.  The glass is so full, that in order not to spill the stuff, you first sip through the straw a bit of the deliciously sweet pineapple syrup at the bottom, which feels heavenly as it mingles with, permeates, and overcomes, the spicy “Kolhapuri” aftertaste on your tongue. [And if you are just plain parched, dehydrated and thirsty, the first sweet sip itself is deliciously thirst-quenching]. 

Then you have small dollops of vanilla and pineapple ice-creams that adorn the crown. After that you can savor the Mastani as you please, but I like to stir the contents into a creamy mélange and spoon the delicious concoction onto my tongue, roll it in my mouth and savor every drop, rather than hastily suck the liquid via the straw straight into my throat down the hatch. The “Bajirao Mastani” at Gujar is pineapple flavored and the small juicy pieces of pineapple at the end leave you with a tangy feeling. 

 

I don’t know if you get “Mastani” in Mumbai, or elsewhere. But next time you visit Pune, do enjoy a Mastani. Eat a “Kolhapuri” meal to your heart’s content and end off with a Mastani, or just have one if you are feeling parched on a hot summer day as a thirst-quencher. And tell me, didn’t you feel refreshed and perked up? 

 

VIKRAM KARVE 

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com 

vikramkarve@hotmail.com 

vikramkarve@sify.com 

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