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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