A Wine Trail in Nashik

To start with I am not a major wine enthusiast. In fact, I side more with whisky. My exposure to wine is more because it is one of the preferred drinks of my wife. While I love to sip it once in a while, my knowledge about the spirit is pretty rudimentary and my palate is not discerning enough.

Read more ...

Dum Ke Roat: The Muharram Special Cookies

Hyderabad has some popular dishes which are savoured specifically during particular Islamic months. The most famous of these is the haleem, which for a food lover is the highlight of the month of Ramzan. A specially baked cookie Dum ke Roat is another such item which is a rage during this month of Muharram.

There is a reason that the baked cookie is associated with Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar.  Roat was traditionally a homemade cookie with wheat, sugar, and ghee. It is said that Mir Osman Ali Khan, the Seventh Nizam had offered the roat at Naal-E-Mubarak Alam at Pathergatti for the well-being of his grandson. Since then, many Shia Muslims have this practice of distributing roat during this particular month, praying for the well-being of their family. The demand is maximum around the tenth day of the month when the mourning procession of Muharram is taken out in the city.  

Flavourful Dum ke Roat has a special taste, with a crunchy crust and soft inside. The ingredients of Dum Ke Roat are many – it has semolina, wheat flour, sugar, honey and milk as well as ghee. The cookie has a distinct flavour from the cardamom added to it and is usually topped with an almond.

This bakery whose name comes up immediately as you talk about Dum Ke Roat is Subhan Bakery. The bakery has been credited with popularizing the cookie over the last 45 years. Come Muharram, you can find customers waiting patiently in huge queues from the morning in front of their outlet in Nampally for their share of Dum Ke Roat. As per Syed Irfan the owner of the seventy-year-old bakery, they have a special recipe developed at their home which they use to prepare these cookies. Earlier this delicacy was only available during this month, but due to the high demand for the roat they have now made it available at their outlet from Muharram to Ramzan. A few other bakeries in Hyderabad like Pista House and Karachi Bakery and some small outlets in the Old City prepare this delicacy too.

Dum ke Roat has now been embraced by one and all enjoying the patronage of people of all religions, castes, and creed. The item should not be confused with another popular dish from Chennai, the Dum Ka Roat Halwa from Basha Halwawala, which is essentially a halwa prepared from semolina, khoya, and dry fruits. With the month of Muharram setting in, do grab a pack of this favourite cookie from Hyderabad.

Note: This is an updated version of the article originally published in New Indian Express Hyderabad on 22nd September 2018.

Read more ...

Hyderabad’s Best Restaurants 2019

Hyderabad is seeing a lot of new entrants in the food and beverages scene in the city. There is a feeling among people that starting a restaurant is an easy way to make a quick buck. For some of them, cooking good food looks like the only criterion in success, with scant attention paid on promotion. For some others, the quality of food does not matter, it is just getting some so-called “influencers” to talk about the restaurant in social media is seen as the path to glory. There are very few who have got the mantra right in terms of good food, good service, good location and good buzz. Informed people say that while there may be a lot of restaurants opening every month in this city, the same number may be actually closing down.

Read more ...

The Biryani Journeys at Hyderabad with Celebrity Chef Sanjeev Kapoor

If we have to name one pioneering person who has revolutionized food shows on Indian TV, it has to be Celebrity Chef Sanjeev Kapoor. Food lovers like me used to wait eagerly for the episodes of his legendary show Khana Khazana on Zee TV. The show ran for seventeen long years  and was the pathbreaker for many more food and cookery shows in the country. Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s contribution to the Indian food scene was rewarded with the Padmasri award in 2017.

Read more ...

A Short Weekend Break at Novotel Hitech City Hyderabad

Both I and my wife are used to travelling extensively. Last year, we had been going out almost once every month to different corners of the country. However, certain exigencies at home are temporarily holding us back in Hyderabad for the last few months, leading to a bit of frustration especially in me. So, we decided to explore the resorts of Hyderabad for a quick break instead. My Accor Plus membership comes in handy at these times, with the Weekend Getaway feature allowing us to park ourselves at any Accor hotel in the city for a day. This time, our stop was the Novotel Hyderabad International Convention Centre, close to Hitech City, but ensconced in a lot of greenery inside the Hitex Exhibition Campus.

Read more ...

Patthar Ka Gosht: The Hyderabadi Meat delicacy from the Nizami Era

The Hyderabadi cuisine has many popular dishes whose preparation methods are markedly different from those in other regions. Apart from haleem which comes to mind first, another dish in this category is Patthar ka Gosht, where a heated stone is used to cook pieces of boneless marinated meat. A favourite from the days of Nizam Asaf Jahi VI, this dish is still much sought after by food lovers on any visit to the city.

Read more ...

Ramzan Food Map around Charminar

For a food lover, a visit to the old city is a must during the month of Ramzan especially in the evenings after the Iftar prayers. A huge number of makeshift stalls add to the permanent shops in the bustling Charminar area, where all kinds of Iftari food items are sold apart from clothes and ornaments. Quite a few Ramzan food trails are organized in this area by food experts, but with a little bit of knowledge and information, even the common food lovers can plan their own food walks with their friends and family.  Most of the food walks touch almost the same places will very little variation.

Read more ...

Food Lovers Look Forward to the Haleem Season during Ramzan

Ramzan is the month of prayers and fasting for the devout Muslims, but the food lovers in the city look forward to a special delicacy which is best relished during this period. Haleem, the wheat and pounded meat preparation rich in ghee as well as select spices and lentils are typically consumed in the evening, breaking the day-long fast after Iftar prayers.  A complete food, it helps to gain strength and energy after a long period of fasting. The dish has its origin in Central Asia. In Ain-I-Akbari, Abul Fazal mentions about the dish being served in Emperor Akbar’s court. Haleem came to Hyderabad with the Yemeni soldiers in the Nizam’s army and has over the years become one of the most popular dishes from the Hyderabadi cuisine.

Cafe 555

Read more ...