Must-try Restaurants in Kalimpong: Gompus & Za Khang

When we were planning to visit Kalimpong, I had asked around for food recommendations there. A restaurant named Gompus featured on everyone's list. Be it, Doma Wang, the restaurateur from Kolkata who is originally from Kalimpong, or Indrajit Lahiri (in his blog all were unequivocally recommending this place.

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Seeking Kanchenjunga around Kalimpong, Part 2: Rishop, Kolakham and Morgan House

Continued from: Deolo Hills and Lava

The hills around Lava shields us from a clear view of the majestic Kanchenjunga range. That view is supposed to be best from Rishop our next destination. Late morning, we hired a local vehicle from the Taxi association to take us to Rishop, the highest point (8500 ft) of our trip. A shortcut from Lava to Rishop is an extremely steep ride through boulder roads, but we preferred it to the other route which takes about an hour extra. As we climbed up to Rishop, the mountains seemed to have suddenly come alive, and the majestic peaks were visible around every bend.

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Seeking Kanchenjunga around Kalimpong Part 1: Deolo Hills and Lava

Both my wife and I have almost a lifelong love for the mountains, and we make a conscious effort to frequently travel to locations close to the Himalayas, multiple times in a year. Our friends often question whether this gets repetitive and boring, but only a lover of mountains will understand what the snowcapped peaks, hilly roads, altitude, clouds, and mist bring to you.

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Plum Cakes for the Christmas Celebrations in Hyderabad

Winter is here in Hyderabad, and many of us are looking forward to the year-end festivities. For food lovers, Christmas celebrations kick off a week of enjoying sumptuous food culminating all the way to the New Year. A special cake that marks the Christmas festivities along with the Christmas tree and singing of carols is the humble plum cake, rich in fruits and nuts and soaked in alcohol. The dark colour and the enticing aroma beckons you to this cake even before you actually taste it.

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Hyderabadi Chicken 65, a Variant of the Signature South Indian Dish

Perhaps the most popular chicken snack that you find all over South India is Chicken 65. The spicy chicken dish is popular in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana, though the recipe differs significantly from place to place.

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Exploring Diverse South Indian Cuisines through Food Promotions

lovers have shown interest in finer nuances of the cuisine, diversity of the ingredients and even the subtle and not-so-subtle differences in food across a single state. It is said that food changes every fifty miles, and even within that area, it often differs as per community, caste, and religion.

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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.

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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.

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