Ramzaan – It’s Haleem Time in Hyderabad!
It’s that time of the year again when I eagerly await the clock to strike 6 Pm so that I can rush to one of the Irani cafes and devour a plate of Haleem which is ‘goat meat mashed with wheat and spices, served with garnishing of ghee, coriander and fried onions’. I am told that the word literally means ‘patience’ in Arabic. This is very apt considering the fact that it takes one whole day of cooking to prepare the perfect Haleem for the starving Muslims of Hyderabad during the holy month of Ramzaan, also known as Ramadan. Since I am not a Muslim, I am spared the starving, but not the Haleem. What fun!
The excitement for Haleem is heightened by the fact that it’s available only during Ramzaan. It’s that one month only when you get to taste this heavenly delicacy. I therefore make sure that eat Haleem at as many different joints as possible. Though the recipe is the same, there is a lot of variation in the taste, this is mainly because of the quantity of spices mixed in the Haleem.
It could be anywhere between medium spicy to very spicy, but it’s never too hot. My favourite Haleem-serving joints (not necessarily in this order) in Hyderabad are:
- Bawarchi (medium spicy)
- Bahar (spicy)
- Garden (spicy)
- Pista House (slightly spicy)
- Hy-line (spicy)
- Niagara (medium spicy)
Unfortunately, due to some vehicle parking restrictions being imposed by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, Bawarchi is not serving Haleem this year. This is very sad and a gross injustice towards Haleem-lovers. Hope the problem is solved soon.
It’s also interesting to note that Haleem is not available anywhere else in India. I have asked several of my Muslim friends from other cities if they have had Haleem and almost always the reply is negative. This delicacy is a speciality of Hyderabad just like the Hyderabadi Biryani. My ideal dinner during the month of Ramzaan is Haleem followed by Biryani. I get to eat this combination on Sundays. On other days it’s just Haleem. slurrrp!