The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Haleem hot in Hyderabad

Hyderabad, Nov. 7: Biryani was the Charminar city’s offering to the world table. Although less known, haleem, which Muslims break fast with during the Ramazan month, too, is a hit in its Hyderabadi avatar.

The city consumes almost 50 tonnes of haleem, or hareez, after the evening prayers. “About 2 tonnes are flown everyday to Mumbai and the Gulf countries. After dum biryani, our haleem is much sought after,” says Syed Abdullah Sheikh, manager of a popular eatery in the old city.

And come evening, the city around the magnificent Charminar glows during the Ramazan month with a 2-km stretch made out of bounds for heavy traffic, and people teeming with shopping bags. But business that thrives most is in the stalls where the devout partake the first bite of the day.

“Be it haleem, patha ka gosht or phirni, it all sells,” says the owner of an eatery, who hardly has time for a conversation.

“As a lot of Iranians are in Hyderabad, for work and studies, we also prepare the Irani haleem,” says Mohammed Khaja Pasha, the owner of a prominent biryani joint, Shadab.

The chef of Bawarchi basks in the delight of preparing the Hyderabadi haleem. “It is sheer joy. Nicely minced meat is cooked with milk, almonds, ghee, coconut and dressed with coriander. Chillies and sweeteners are added to taste,” says Mohammed bin Mohammed. Chicken, mutton or beef are used for the preparation.

The Iranian haleem is less spicy, sweet and with a lot of pista. A dash of lime and sprinkling of soya sauce make it Malaysian. Karim Khan, the chef at Paradise, says there are 17 varieties, including vegetable haleem.

The cost varies to suit the purse. From Rs 20 a plate, it can go up to Rs 120. Some restaurants are even selling it by weight for large families.

Pista House, Niagara, Toli Chowk, Shadab, Madina, Bahar, Aziza and Parwaz are among the busiest joints cooking the nourishing curry.

Private couriers are taking orders for home delivery. “Within minutes of the evening prayers, hot and aromatic haleem will be delivered at the doorstep through local couriers,” says the owner of Paradise, Riaz Khan.

With political manoeuvrings at iftaar, the communion after the evening prayer, becoming a part of power play, haleem is hot in Hyderabad.

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