There is definitely something special about sunsets during this month, when jubilance is in the air and exuberance is in the spirits. When a festival is not being celebrated only by its religion, but by an entire region. Such is the ambience and the aura of Ramazan in Hyderabad! And being Hindustani, it is but normal, that food is at the crux of every celebration. Although Hyderabad has several specialties to boast of, the Hyderabadi Haleem is the one dish that has complete monopoly over the food scenario during this season. Available in every corner of the city, from scores of little kiosks that miraculously spring up during Ramazan, you will find Haleem in numerous variations from mutton, chicken, fish and prawn, to supposedly healthier varieties and even vegetarian versions. There are the bigwigs which have rightly gained their fame over the years, like Pista House, Shah Ghouse, Bahar Café, 555, Golconda and Chicha’s. However there are countless other places where you can lay your hands on this appetizing preparation. Some are even providing the facility of shipping this delectable delicacy across the country and over-seas too.
Haleem is a preferred dish for breaking the fast, because of its wholesome composition- meat, wheat and pulses, all cooked together in a soothing porridge like consistency. The preparation is prolonged over 6-10 hours and involves slow cooking over a wooden fire in a special kiln, hand pounding with exclusive wooden ghotnis, and continuous stirring for hours. The unique texture is achieved by these particular cooking methods along with maintaining a specific wheat to meat ratio. While the special masalas are responsible for imparting it the exclusive flavor. It might interest you to know that the Haleem originates from the middle-eastern dish ‘Harees’ which is prepared by mixing wheat and meat in a definite ratio. Thought to be introduced to the Dakkan during the period of Nizams by the Arab traders, it has evolved to its present form by incorporation of the regional spices and some innovations in cooking techniques. Its significance to the Hyderabadi culture was given a stamp of recognition when the Hyderabadi Haleem was granted a Geographical Indication (GI) Status in 2010.
Some other dishes which should get mention while discussing the foods of Hyderabad are the famous Hyderabadi biryani, Michi ka salan, Baghare baigan, Patthar gosht, Khubani ka meetha and Double ka meetha. Although you can relish these in Ramazan too, the Haleem is the unsurpassed winner of the Hunger Games.(images credit-internet)