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Last Update : 31st March 2018

We felt that most of the lists for the best Haleems across Hyderabad have never been updated. Some of the outlets have ceased to exist while others rely on crowd sourcing. A personal opinion in compiling an extensive list has been lacking. So I’ve taken on the task to have at least 30 Haleems this year to provide an updated list of places in Hyderabad. Kindly note the word ‘personal opinion’ and all of these have been personally tasted and compiled.

The Ramzan month especially heralds the start of our “Iftaar Walks”. If you haven’t signed up yet, all of the event details have been posted on the FoodDrifter facebook page.

1. Pakwaan Grand : If there was an award for consistency, these guys deserve it more than anyone else. It’s been 3 years since I’ve had my Haleem here and they have blown my mind every single time. I mean just look at that plate of Mashad Haleem. The recipe uses chunks of mutton with minimal bones. The result is a much meatier and flavorful Haleem than anyone else. Generously added on top are Ghee, Cream, Fried Onions, Pistachios, Cashews and Lime. It had come very close to being the No. 1 on our list last year. This year it might just be?

Mashad Haleem priced at Rs 180/-

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2. Simply South, Filmnagar : One of my favorite Haleems of last year. In fact they’ve been so consistent with their Haleem that I drop by for a visit no matter what. A makeshift traditional handi over firewood is made at the back of the kitchen. All of the spice mix is hand pounded and the Haleem made using the traditional recipe.

This year Simply South has tweaked the grain to make it a different variant of white broken wheat. This lends it a much darker shade due to the spices and meat. The recipe is more of the Nizami style with a great flavor profile coming off the peppercorns and cinnamon. Its quite a huge quantity, enough for two people. Served alongside are the fresh lime wedges, mint, fried onions and cashews.

Priced at 450 AI

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3. SodaBottleOpenerwala : A Gyarah Haleem fest which started off last year with great success has been recreated this year too. Expanded to include an outside stall for the showcase of all the Gyarah Handis, they’ve gone on to make nearly 3 veg variants.

But Haleem and vegetarian, two words which shouldn’t be used in the same sentence. In fact I’d go nowhere close to the Chicken one too. But they should be awarded high marks for the Duck, Turkey and Prawns variants. Absolutely nowhere would you be able to get such varieties. But my standard order as always went for the Persian Haleem. Their Persian Haleem till date remains an absolute favorite of mine among the Gyarah Handi. Mild on spices, a nice little wheatish color and the strings of mutton that I can feel with every spoonful. They’ve now tweaked their Irani Haleem too.

Persian Mutton Haleem Price – Rs 400/-

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4. Peshawar Restaurant, Lakdikapul : I was quite excited to try the Haleem at Peshawar despite the fact that this is the first time they’ve put a stall. The restaurant has slowly but steadily become one of my favorites in the city. The Nalli Barrah, Chapli Kebabs and Biryani are some of the best you can entice your tastebuds with.

But we’re here to talk about the Haleem, aren’t we? Mild on spices with beautiful chunks of mutton in every bite. They’ve done a very good balancing act between placing the taste between a homemade Haleem and a commercial one.

I’d make do without the whole peppercorns which seem to appear once in a while. The texture is lovely and also ain’t that rich that you can’t slurp down a bowl.

Priced at Rs 150/-

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5. Al-Saba, Gachibowli : Imagine having one of the most worst tasting Haleems that you vowed never to return back to the place. Well that was Al-Saba for me once upon a time. To this day I look at the place while driving across and think “What do people even like over there?”

But this year I’ve gone back to pushing away my earlier notions of the past and giving old haunts another chance. And I’m glad this led me back to Al-Saba. For all the people who live towards Gachibowli, do yourself a favor and chuck the Shah Ghouse and Pista Houses. Al-Saba is actually so so much better. Plus I really really liked the fact that they were patient in explaining it to a Haleem newbie with a smile when the person beside me enquired about it. The refill of brown onions and mint was given to whoever asked. And most importantly there was no Sherwa but gher which they dolloped on top. It has definitely won me over.

Priced at Rs 140/-

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6. Cafe Bahar : There is something about going back to the oldest cafes in Hyderabad. An underlying reason as to why such legendary places continue to survive despite the expansion of the rest. Cafe Bahar for me is one such. Their Biryani till date is one of my favorites.

But its their Haleem which has remained consistent too year after year. There is no over the top marketing or combos offered. Other than the pet bottle of pepsi you get free with you Haleem, one that they’ve been giving for years now.

The Haleem is still great, the person at the counter still smiles as he hands me over a bowl. And neither do they object when I ask for a refill of some fried onions on top. People park their vehicles, have a quick bowl and go about their way. Cafe Bahar continues to be a legend in its own way.

Priced at Rs 140 with a free 250ml of Pepsi

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7. Ohri’s Group : Ohri’s Group of restaurants have a lovely iftaar platter across few of their outlets with Jauzi Halwa, Dates, Lukmi and Haleem.

The Haleem was quite flavorful and rich. Doesn’t go overboard with the spices and maintains consistency. Infact, I did keep some in the refrigerator to be had the next day. And my morning breakfast consisted of Toasted Bread with a spread of Haleem. Has anyone tried it this way? Also btw Haleem on Pizza is the absolute BEST.

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8. Hotel Nayaab : And diving right back into our Haleem stories is this one from Hotel Nayaab. A little spicy, very peppery and overall a great texture.

Hotel Nayaab is one of the initial Cafes which started serving Haleem commercially. What was supposed to a breakfast dish soon became a Ramzan special coz of the preparation time and heaviness of the dish.

Priced at Rs 150/-

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9. Cafe 555, Masab Tank : First up is the legendary Cafe 555. You’d imagine that this Irani Cafe which was a favorite of mine 2-3 years ago and still does good numbers would be making delicious Haleem. Sadly not, 3 spoons down and I couldn’t have it anymore. The bones were minimal but it was just damn spicy. I actually kept getting whole peppercorns in my mouth.

The ratio of meat has significantly reduced. And they really need to clean up the place, its much dirtier than I remember it to be. Its just the start of Ramzan so hopefully they take care of this as the month progresses. The sherwa was still great though. They are really famous for their special Haleem which is topped up with Chicken 65, Zubaan and a boiled egg. Top it with anything, but if your base ain’t good. It just doesn’t work then. Enjoyable but a shadow of it’s former self.

Bowl of Haleem – Rs. 160/-                                          Special Haleem – Rs. 300/-

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10. Hotel Sohail :This year it has been a bit disappointing of sorts when it comes to the Haleems at the legendary outlets.

Maybe its that the newer entrants have upped their game. Or the fact that I’ve been having some really good stuff as of late. I mean don’t get me wrong, the Haleem from Hotel Sohail was nice.

But you know the feeling that it could have been so much better. They top up the Haleem with two types of ghee. One in which onions had been fried and one the regular. Good stuff though.

Priced at Rs 150/-

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11. Hotel Shahran : Another one among the Haleems from Old City. I should really stick to either the Boti or Seekh Kebabs with Warqi Paratha.

The Haleem is definitely not their strong suit. In fact they were so much better last year. All I could feel in mouth was fat from the mutton. Entirely coated my throat making it hard to swallow another spoonful. This is one money which could have been better spent elsewhere.

Priced at Rs 150/-

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12. Shahi Dastarkhwan, Lakdikapul : When located in front of better ones as the newly opened Peshawar and Chicha’s , you really need to pick up your socks to make a very very good Haleem.

But sadly Shahi Dastarkhwan didn’t really put that to any use in their Handi. None of the large LEDs, bright enough to replace the street lights will be able to get in customers if you’re product isn’t good.

The Haleem is very pasty where the broken wheat’s taste overpowers the taste of meat. Also it doesn’t help that they have a large number of whole peppercorns.

Priced at Rs 160/-

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It’s been almost 5 years now that I’ve moved to Hyderabad and it’s safe to say now that the city has embraced me completely. With Ramzan now here, the city is decked up with flickering lights, Haleem in every nook and corner of the city’s alleyways and gorgeous street food.

The first time when I had come visiting Hyderabad during the Ramzan season, my parents who were strict conservationists kept my away from having my Haleem. It was more of the thought of mixing Beef with Mutton in any of the Haleems served across the city. But they’ve now given up on after hearing of the endless tryst with different meats from across the world.

So approximately 5 years back is when I had my first taste of the dish that I had heard so much about. It’d be safe to say that it was the worst thing I ever had in my freaking life. It was in one word – Yuck. I gave up on the worst looking dish ever made on earth. Needless to say that whole month of Ramzan that year was spent eating everything else but Haleem.

Then arrived 2012 and by then I had made a number of Hyderabadi friends. With Ramzan arrived a fresh batch of homemade Haleem by one my friend’s mom. Falteringly I took my best bite and my completely perspective of the entire dish changed with that bite. It was exquisite, smooth and full of flavor. I literally still can’t comprehend how a dish which looks like it had been thrown up after an after-party, taste so good. Then started my Haleem quest in Hyderabad. From literally visiting each eatery to try their fare to becoming a self-confessed expert critic at it. Also a point to note is that the original Haleem just like the Kacchi Gosht ki Biryani tastes nothing like the ones made commercially.

Haleem at point in the city was served 365 days of the year. But there was a lot of time and patience that went into making the dish and also the heaviness of it. It was then that it got relegated to being a Ramzan only special. Hotel Nayaab was the first to start serving Haleem commercially in the hotel before the rest picked it up. The now famous Pista House was instrumental in getting the GI tag for Haleem for Hyderabad. It’s now become as much a part of the city as the Charminar itself.

As the city progresses, so does it’s cuisine. Restaurants started serving variants like the Emu, Fish, Topping it Zubaan and Chicken 65. The wow factor of the dish had finally descended on us with some going far out to making Haleem with Oats, Italian herbs of Oregano and Thyme. But they forgot to realize one important factor. Haleem is a wheat dish first and the red meat is secondary. It is all about getting the consistency of the wheat beaten to correctness while the meat melts away in the pot.

For me it will always be the perfect fulfilling dish it’s meant to be. Next throw in the brown onions, fresh mint and cashews. You then generously add a ladle of Sherwa to have the best goddamn food that Hyderabad has to offer.

You can still check out the 20 Best Places To Have Haleem in Hyderabad we compiled in 2015 below. The list shall now be updated once again with 2017.

The 20 Best Haleem Joints In Hyderabad

 

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A lot of people would have eaten at Begum Bazaar but not much has been written about this food paradise in Hyderabad. If you love vegetarian food then you must definitely head to Begum Bazaar. Hyderabad has always been projected as a city which loves to eat meat. When the city is known world-over for it’s Biryani, you can’t really blame that notion. But a sizable portion of people flock to Begum Bazaar for it’s amazing vegetarian street food.

We have been there a couple of times, and must say we were floored by the outstanding food that you’ll get around Begum Bazaar. Here is a list of places to visit when in Begum Bazaar.

  1. Scoops Tiffin Center – Located right on the main road of Siddiamber Bazaar beside the Masjid is the famous Scoops Tiffin Center. The idlis are soft, fluffy and delicious. The names of Dosas will have you guessing with some of them being Namo Dosa, Tan-Tan dosa and lots more.Scoops Tiffin Center
  2. Prahalad Tiffin Point – As you walk into the lane beside Scoops Tiffin Center, there is no missing the huge crowd that’s gathered in front of Prahalad. The serve a huge variety of dosas, idlis and lots of other fried goodness.Prahalad Tiffins
  3. Sri Jodhpur Mithai Ghar – Located right opposite the Aziz Plaza is the Jodhpur Mithai Ghar. The size of the Raj Kachoris are astonishing and the Paneer Pakodas & Bread Pakodas are stunningly delicious. They make some decent sweets too. Do not miss out on the Raj Kachoris though, they are an absolute must-have.Sri Jodhpur Mithai Ghar (2)
    Sri Jodhpur Mithai Ghar (4)

    Sri Jodhpur Mithai Ghar (3)

  4. Shyam Singh Chat Bhandar – This particular outlet serves some amazing chaats, dahiwada and puchkas. It is located right at the end of Begum Bazaar Chatri.Shyam Singh Chat Bhandar
  5. Kamalabai ka Kalakand – This is just a small bandi of sorts with absolutely zero branding. Yet when you ask about Kamalabai ka Kalakand in Begum Bazaar, everyone will know it. He changes the location of his stall every other night but can be mostly found near the Hanuman Temple. The homemade white Kalakands are one of the best you’ll ever have in the city. He also makes Ajmeri Kalakand, Rabdi, Gajar ka Halwa and Doodh Peda.Kamalabai ka Kalakand
    Kamalabai ka Kalakand (1)
  6. Ghevar at Begum Bazaar Chatri – The Begum Bazaar Chatri road is lined with sellers of Ghevar. The Ghevar is absolutely heavenly. Do pick up some from these sellers to have at home and make them at home.Ghevar Sellers At Begum Bazaar

Yes, Hyderabad is not always about it’s meaty goodness. Begum Bazaar shines through it all, gloriously with it’s vegetarian wonderfulness.

Meetha Poori

Mouth Freshners

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For those who have been following us on Instagram and our Facebook page, know the number times that we’ve been to Goa in the recent few months. Yes Goa is the perfect vacation you need from work and otherwise. But there is so much to Goa to be explored. The culinary food history is a delight worth exploring. The Xacuti, sorpotel, cafreal from the Goan cuisine to the Bhaji and Solachi kadi of Hindu Saraswat cuisine.

Pao And Prawns Rechaed

The state has had many settlers over history that it has evolved it’s cuisine too along with it. But the unifying factor for all Goans is the Pao (Pão). The art of making Pao was a legacy brought in by the Portuguese. Every neighborhood has it’s one or two bakeries which make their usual two rounds of the day to sell bread. Most of the bakeries that I visited to watch the art of making pao, usually do them in two shifts. In the first shift they make throughout the night so that they can do the rounds early morning for people to have with their breakfast and lunch. While the other is in late afternoon, just in time for dinner.

Katriche Pao

Poi (Healthy Wheat Pao)

Pao Loaves

So this time in Goa we formed our very own Pao trail. To visit the bakeries and watch how the pao, poi, katriche pao, etc…are made. Now finding the bakeries are quite hard unless you’re a local. Nestled inside small villages, winding alleyways makes for quite an adventure to locate a bakery in Goa. A lot of the poders sell the bread in the Mapusa, Anjuna and other markets which are frequented by tourists. But upon asking for directions to their bakery, they politely declined.A Poder Out To Deliver Pao In The Morning (Pic Courtesy Goa Tourism)Near the Saligao Church, you’ll see a lot of peddlers standing around on the bridge selling bread. As I got to chatting with one of the poders, he finally did give me directions to one. Winding away from the touristy side of Goa, is it’s countryside. As I made my way, stopping to ask for directions through a lot of alleys completely broken away from the main road, came an extreme narrow path between two houses and right behind them all was the bakery. It was pitch dark even at 9 in the night and a small light shone at one corner of the bakery. The bakers told me to come back at 12 midnight as that’s when they’d start their next batch.

View From The Window Of The Bakery At Night

Pao Dough

Dough Ready To Be Put In The Kiln For Baking

Poder Making Pao In A Kiln

Everything had gone quiet by 12 midnight except the bakers pushing their stuff one after another into the oven. There are more than 14 types of bread made by the bakeries in Goa. The most popular of them are the poi (whole wheat), pao (cube) and the crispy undo. Many of the Goans favor the undo with their morning tea. It gives a lovely crunch even after being dunked in the tea. For the rest of the day it’s the pao. The poi is whole wheat variant of the pao and actually recommended for people with health problems.

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The kaknam (bangle bread) looks so similar to a variation of donuts. But the hardwork gone into making a katriche pao is commendable. They have to design each of the shape with scissors and then after attaining the perfect shape, it’s pushed for baking. The bakeries only make enough to sell out for the day. They key necessity for them is to provide Goans their daily bread, but FRESH.

Pao Loaves

Without the pao many of the Goan dishes would not be complete. The Xacuti, Sorpotel and cafreal taste so much better pao than with Roti/Rice. The next time you’re in Goa, take a break away from doing the normal and become a local. The travel tales, the vibe, the conversations over pao are incomparable. Goa truly is incomplete without it’s pao.

 

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Hampi is one of the trips you need to take in a lifetime. The entire town of Hampi is dotted in ruins of the Vijayanagara Kingdom on the banks of the Tungabhadra river. It’s classified as an UNESCO World Heritage site. For a tourist to be living among of the ruins of what was once a mighty kingdom, has a charm of it’s own.

Tungabhadra River

To navigate Hampi, it’s important to keep one small thought in mind especially for a foodie. The Tungabhadra River bifurcates the town. While one bank accommodates the temples and hance non-vegetarian isn’t allowed on this side. But once you take the ferry to the other side of the river, everything is allowed. Being a Temple-town, alcohol isn’t sold in Hampi but you can carry your own booze and also some smaller hotels do provide beers on the other side of the river.

In this post we take a look at what to and where in Hampi.

  1. Mango Tree: Mango Tree was a landmark by itself. It was once nestled beneath a huge mango tree, boasting of river views which is still unmatched. But a lightning struck taking away the iconic mango tree but the spirit of the restaurant still lives on. Now situated in the bazaar lane right in front of the Virupaksha Temple, Mango Tree continues on to serve delightful thalis.

Meals At Mango Tree

  1. Gowthami Guest House: Our favorite is to live of the other side of the bank of the river. Gowthami Guest House is one of the must visit hotels in Hampi. They grow their own produce and the chefs in the kitchen are mostly travelers looking to make a living to fund their journey. This has benefits. One the food is as authentic as possible. And two, the food is even more tastier with their organic produce.Gowthami Guest House
    An Israeli Menu
    Teas At GowthamiMust Try: They make the most amazing Pasta and especially go for the ones with Pesto Sauce. German baked goods with lots of cheese. An Israeli Laffa which is almost like the shawarma but packed with even more ingredients inside. And yes don’t forget their relaxing teas. They truly give meaning to the word Chillin’. They also have some delicious breakfast with options like German Bread, Hash Browns and many different kinds of omlettes.Alfredo Penne At Gowthami
    Breakfast At Gowthami
    German Cheese Bread
    Laffa
  1. German Bakery : The first bakery soon as you embark to the other side of the Tungabhadra is the German Bakery. It’s just an extension of a house and he closes shop pretty fast. He makes really good Rum Balls and German Cake. You can find all kinds of bread, cookies and cakes. But you need to be in time before they are polished off.German Bakery
  1. Laughing Buddha: This is a tiny terrace seating on the first floor of a housing complex. It feels very makeshit and is mostly crowded for the Hookahs and one of the few places which serve Beer. But do order their Shipudim Plate. It’s an Israeli platter of Pita Bread, Fries, Fresh Hummus, Barbecue Garlic Chicken Nuggets and fresh salad.Shipudim Platter

The essential thing to remember in Hampi is that you’re there to relax and soak in history. Take a walk among the ruins or among the sugarcane fields. Hampi is also one of the largest producers of sugarcane and it is a whole other feeling to sink your teeth into fresh sugarcane. And for some light munching by the river, there are always some local products like the below one.

Hyderabadi Biryani Flavor Snacks

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Heading over for a vacation is one of the best getaway things to do these days. And best is when you just pack your bags and leave impromptu, not plan so far ahead. Usually we do a lot of research on the food places before we plan our vacation around it. But Kodaikanal was never planned.

Kodaikanal (2)

Kodaikanal was supposed to be a getaway. A vacation where I only intended to stretch my legs, read a book on the balcony of my hotel room while look over the horizon at the beautiful clouds. I was glad that I booked the Kodai Resort Hotel near Coaker’s Walk while on my trip to Kodaikanal. There is not much to do in Kodai other than relax and that’s what an ideal vacation is meant to be at times. I actually sat up looking at the clear night sky till 4 AM in the morning while listening to the calming sounds of the waterfall in the distance.

Kodaikanal (1)

Since not having planned on what and where to eat during my visit to Kodaikanal, I ended up just winging it. Dropping by wherever I felt like whenever hungry. But the best part about not having expectations is that you can be surprised when you seldom know it. Being a beautiful hill station, the ingredients and vegetables are fresh and that makes a lot of difference to the food. Fresh carrots taste so much better than buying it off of a supermarket shelf. Organic produce feels lighter and refreshing to have when most of the herbs are grown in a hotel’s or homestay’s backyard. Also during travel we make it a point to have different kinds of food on offer. Hence this post will not feature the famous Astoria Restaurant which is famous for it’s Thalis or Tava Veg Hotel (Well coz it’s vegetarian).

Kodaikanal (3)

So here below we take a comprehensive look at the places to eat at when at Kodai.

1. Tibetan Brothers Hotel: The lovely Tibetan folks have settled in many parts of India and I’m thankful to them for bringing their cuisine closer to home from the mountains. The Thukpa at Tibetan Brothers Hotel is nothing short of amazing. A bowl of Thukpa was enough for a complete meal for two of us. Another quick drop-by for their momos and we skipped the traditional steamed ones with the Fried Momos. Tibetan Brothers Hotel is a must try when in Kodaikanal for the simplistic food they offer in a warm dining place.

Fried Momos At Tibetean Brothers

Thukpa At Tibetean Brothers

Noodles At Tibetean Brothers

2. Cloud Street: A walk down PT Road and you’ll be amazed by the quaint little cafes it houses. From Indian, Tibetan to Continental, all kinds line this small street in Kodaikanal. Cloud Street deserves special mention for the fact that they make use of fresh ingredients to whip up some brilliant continental dishes. After a trek to the Dolphin’s Nose (which had me thinking to get back on the treadmill once again) we dropped by Cloud Street. A simple Pesto Pasta felt so good and flavorful that I don’t remember the last time I had so freshly used ingredients in my food. The Chicken Pot Pie was absolutely delicious too.

Cloud Street

Relaxing At Cloud Street

A Bit Of Turkish At Cloud Street

Pot Pie At Cloud Street

Pasta In Pesto At Cloud Street

3. Royal Tibet : Another famous Tibetan establishment in Kodaikanal which we had a chance to drop in. Maybe it was an off day on their end but the food was disastrous. There are many who swear by Royal Tibet but I personally couldn’t even stand the strong smell that emanated in the hotel. A little bite of the Thukpa and Momos that we’d ordered had me pushing away the plate to a distance. The smell of uncooked meat had lingered long enough for me not to continue further. I should have just stuck to Tibetan Brother Hotel.

Thukpa At Royal Tibet

Momos At Royal Tibet

4. Café Cariappa and Pot Luck Café : Café Cariappa is famous for it’s coffee and shakes that it whips up. The entire weekend we were there at Kodaikanal, they didn’t seem to want to open shop at all. Pot Luck Café on the other hand opened shop but served as and when it pleased. 10 minutes before that I had seen the café open and took a walk to come back to sit down and they would have already downed the shutter and closed for the day.

5. Pastry Corner: If need for any baked stuff there is only stop shop in Kodaikanal and it’s Pastry Corner. They make really drool-worthy Rum Balls but be there early as they run out fast. The place opens at 10 AM and closes shop by 5:30 PM.

6. This is a special mention to go vegetarian in Kodaikanal and you won’t regret it. The babycorns were so tender making everything we had taste so much better. Pull (or buy) baby carrots along the journey and savor them. Trust me, if you don’t,  you’ll regret it later on. Also there are few shops which have a huge variety of Homemade Cheese. Kodai Cheese is famous and the variety of flavors of cheese they produce will have you wanting to take back a lot of them back home.

The Cheese Shop

Varities Of Cheese

Kodaikanal is a beautiful hill-station and there is no denying that. Sure it has become crowded a lot and drowned with tourists of late. But take an early morning walk in the cold, tread an off-beat path and fall back in love with nature once again.

Kodaikanal (4)

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The trip to Kodaikanal had been finalized and we were all excited. Lush Greens, Mountains, streams, the chill and fresh air of the mountains is always a welcome break. We had booked a cab from Trichy to Kodaikanal and like every other time I start to plan my trip around places to eat at. A little research on Maps and the journey passed directly through Dindigul. Now having lived in Hyderabad, you should understand the special place that Biryani holds for us settlers of the city. But many people down south consider Dindigul as ‘Land of Biryanis’ and that got my curiosity going.

The Thalappakatti Restaurant In Dindigul

Dindigul is a small town, lots of traffic whizzing through the by lanes and I made my way using the GPS to Thalappakatti. The restaurant which started in 1957 with humble beginnings has grown on to a chain of reputed chain operating under the ‘Thalappakatti’ brand. Thalappakatti’s success can be attributed to the fact that they have not compromised on the quality. The taste yet consistently remains the same since it’s inception. Thalappakatti surprisingly translates to ‘turban’ which the Nagaswamy Naidu, the owner was seen wearing at the cash counter.

The Thalappakatti History

The Biryani we ordered was packed full of flavors. Three small buckets of Mutton Kulambu, Dalcha and Onion Raita had been placed on the side as accompaniments. The Thalappakatti is made of seeraga samba rice with each rice being flavored uniformly. The seeraga samba rice by packs a lot less flavor by itself and hence is an excellent substitute to capture the essence of the masalas and meat. The heavy smell of ghee could be felt emanating from the bowl and yet eating, we felt light. The aroma was still felt lingering on the hands even after quite sometime after lunch.

Thalappakatti Biryani With The Sides

Ponram Biryani is another variation of Dindigul Biryani which originated almost 20 years later than the Thalappakatti. They have done a great job of ramping up too while Thalappakatti has also opened up branches all over Tamil Nadu. As I sat down and requested the server to get me a bowl of the Ponram Biryani, I couldn’t help notice the numerous parcels being doled out. A banana leaf had been placed in front immediately upon taking my order and the Kulambu gravy and raita had been placed on it. The Ponram Biryani too uses the seeraga samba rice, but I felt the Thalappakatti packed a lot more flavors. Here the meat was much tender, but you don’t get that lingering aroma which you carry away with you. It felt like a poor man’s version of the Thalappakatti.

Ponram Biryani

There is no doubt a lot of innovation has taken in this small town when it comes to Biryani. The Thalappakatti definitely carries the mantle far ahead among the rest of the variations of the Dindigul Biryani. There is also a Venu Biryani in Dindigul which I didn’t have the time to sit down with. Probably something for the next time. But the meticulousness with which they pack flavor and the consistency with which they’ve been churning out some amazing Biryani is worth applauding.

Thalappakatti Biryani

 

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Saturday the 11th was one crazy night for us at FoodDrifter. It was the 6th Ramzan FoodWalk during this month as part of the Ramzan FoodWalk series. The overwhelming response that we had received had us excited. Considering that this was going to be the last FoodWalk for this month we decided to go big. A whole lot of goodies and contests, games and of course innumerable food stalls planned to make the night exhilarating.

The FoodDrifter Food Map -   - Pic Courtesy Ankit Becks

The best part of the night was having 100+ enthusiastic crowd who descended upon the Old City to be part of the FoodWalk. The FoodWalk commenced at Hotel Nayaab, opposite the Madina Building at 8 PM. Hotel Nayaab is famous for it’s delicious Kesar Chai. The subtle flavor of Saffron in the tea leaves a sweet tingling taste over your palate. The foodies also gorged on Haleem and Paya with Munshi Naan and we moved over to the next stop at Shadab. Shadab is quite famous for it’s Biryani, but it also serves some exquisite Falooda and Lassi. Haleem check two at Shadab and our FoodWalk moved to Hotel Shehraan.

Seekh Kebab At Shehran -   - Pic Courtesy Ankit Becks

Instruction Time  - Pic Courtesy Ankit Becks

Fish Fry, Apollo Fish, Boti Kebabs, Seekh Kebabs, Dahi Wada, Khajoor, Pakodas were just a few of the food that were savored as we made our way to Nimrah to relish on some Irani Chai as we soaked in the beauty of Charminar. During Ramzan, the sights and energy in Old City is at it’s peak. You have to be there to feel the goose bumps that it can give you.

Fish Fry & Fish Cutlets

Irani Chai and Osmania Biscuits are a match made in heaven when in Hyderabad but Tie Biscuits also make for a terrific accompaniment. The after it was hardcore non-vegetarian binge eating. Chicken 65, Tandoori Chicken, Pista House Haleem and lots of Hyderabadi desserts like the Qubbani ka Meetha, Dil-e-Firdous and Phirni. For the last stop of the night with the clock almost hitting 2 AM, we ended the gastronomic FoodWalk at Shah Ghouse with it’s scrumptious Biryani.

Something For The Vegetarians - Pic Courtesy Ankit Becks

Sweets - Pic Courtesy Biswajit Mohanty

The FoodWalk was the best we have done till date because of the amazing set of people we got to meet. Eating out is all about sharing stories and enjoying conversations over food. The enthusiasm and above all the contests were a lot of fun. Special thanks to Oh So Stoned, Saffron Mantra, Lemon Tree Hotels, TinyOwl, Built2Cook and Sweet Experience, Deli 9 Bistro for the dining vouchers and gifts which made it more fun for the participants.

To End It All With Biryani  - Pic Courtesy Ankit Becks

We shall be back with a bigger event. More interesting ones coming up on our Facebook Page.

The FoodDrifters

Photo Albums On Facebook:

1. FoodDrifter Ramzan FoodWalk 2015

2. FoodDrifter Ramzan FoodWalk By Ankit Becks

3. Hyderabad Trails By Jeet’s Photography

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It’s mid-June, finally a reprieve from the summer heat and the monsoons have descended. The entire city of Hyderabad is decked up for the holy month of Ramzan. Every year the month of Ramzan means an entire month of fasting and also Haleem, the beloved dish that Hyderabadis await to gorge on this time of the year. Even though a lot of hotels have now started serving it round the year, but the zaika of this Hyderabadi dish can be felt only during the month of Ramzan. Topped with fried onions, mint and several other versions that each hotel has given its own twist, there is no beating Hyderbad’s love for Haleem and Biryani.

Haleem At Kebab Theater, Lemon Tree Hotels

It’s that time of the year when people ask “Haleem Khaye?” or “Where do you get the best Haleem?”. So we’ve made a list of top places famous around the city of Hyderabad for you to try and indulge your tastebuds. The list is not ranked,  and it lists the top in no order.

  1. Pista House: The past few years has seen the rise of Pista House as the brand ambassador of Haleem for Hyderabad. Some might consider it just a little above-average, the global appeal of Pista House is unmatched to any other eatery. They also deliver outside Hyderabad through Gati Courier. The original outlet is at Charminar but many makeshift stalls are set up around the city. The green tubs are hard to miss. They also have a vegetarian version.
    Pista House Haleem
  2. Shadab: No visit to Charminar is incomplete without a drop-in at Hotel Shadab. The Haleem at Shadab is served with Zabaan and boiled egg. It’s a little bit spicier than the regular Haleem.
  3. Green Park Hotel: ‘Once Upon A Time’, the specialty restaurant of Green Park, Ameerpet serves Haleem throughout the year and also has it part of their midnight buffet. The Haleem is extremely smooth and very well made.
  4. Café 555: Many of the city’s locals swear by Café 555. The best part about the Haleem at Café 555 is the variety of innovations you get along with your Haleem. Haleem topped with Chicken 65, Zubaan etc… are just to name a few of those. The shorba on top is the extra punch you’ll need to give the flavor to the haleem. A lot of bones lately has been a drawback for me personally.Cafe 555
  5. Café Bahar: The original Café Bahar at Basheerbagh is famous for it’s brilliant Biryanis and it’s Haleem. They have great combos during the Ramzan season and you get a bottle of coke with your Haleem too.
  6. Hotel Iqbal: One of the few hotels which serve authentic Hyderabadi food as part of their menu. The Haleem at Café Iqbal is completely different than the regular fare you get around Hyderabad. They serve the Iranian version of the Haleem made with real saffron.Haleem At Cafe Iqbal
  7. Alhamdulillah: Along with the amazing Tala Hua Gosht that Alhamduilillah is famous for, they also serve a delectable Beef Haleem.
  8. Hotel Rumaan: Rumaan in Tolichowki is famous for the beef version of the Haleem. Opened till late into the night, the Haleem is priced very moderately and attracts the people who like the heavier meat.Hotel Rumaan
  9. Hyline: The Haleem at Hyline, Koti is meatier and the aroma of the spices and ghee oozes with every spoon. One of the must try places during Ramzan.
  10. Nayaab Hotel: Nayaab’s take on Hyderabad’s most famous Ramzan dish is a bit spicier than the regular ones. Topped off only with fried onions and a dash of lime, there is also a generous amount of oil added to give it that extra seasoning.
  11. Grand Hotel: Grand Hotel’s version might not be the best, but it certainly is one of the oldest eateries serving Haleem since 1946. It’s riddled with a lot of bones and also bland comparatively.Hotel Grand Haleem
  12. Madina Hotel: Eons ago, precisely 70 years back, Madina Hotel in Patherghatti, Charminar used to be the only hotel around serving Haleem commercially in Hyderabad. It still continues to have it’s loyal customer base till date. After the fire gutted the main hotel they never have been able to resurrect. But for those glorious times they get a special mention.
  13. Shah Ghouse: The friendly rivalry between the biggest hotels to serve their customers during Ramzan spills onto the streets quite literally. The waiters of Shah Ghouse can be seen waving the menu, to invite them in both at their Charminar and Toli Chowki outlets. It is flavorful, light but like many of the eateries lately, they too seem to have gotten a lot more bones in their Haleem.Shah Ghouse
  14. Hotel Niagara: Niagara Hotel is one of the city’s oldest and famous Biryani Joints. It also serves Haleem 365 days a year and sees great-takers during the Ramzan month.
  15. Chai Shop, Taj Banjara: In the mood for some great coffee and Haleem, the Chai Shop in Taj Banjara is open 24 hours and also serves Haleem throughout the year. It is served along with a sheermal.Haleem At Chai Shop, Taj Banjara
  16. Bawarchi: Bawarchi is a name so synonymous with Hyderabad that it’s given rise to so many replicas throughout the city. But the original outlet at RTC ‘X’ Roads serves some of the most delectable Haleem during the Ramadan month.
  17. Lajawab Haleem: If you ask any of the locals around the Barkas as to which is their destination for Haleem is? They’ll redirect you towards Lajawab Chicken Center right opposite Mataam-Al-Arabi which makes a delicious Chicken version and also one of the best Suleimani Chai in the city.
  18. Sarvi: The Irani Haleem served at Sarvi is sure a crowd-puller. Located on Road No. #11, Banjara Hills, the Haleem is made of mutton and wheat alone. The spices used are more flavorful and with a dash of lime wedge on top, a bowl of Haleem is scooped clean in minutes.Sarvi
  19. Hotel Sohail: Famous for it’s divine Malai Paya and many other Hyderabadi dishes, the Haleem at Hotel Sohail in Malakpet is quite amazing. Topped off with diced cashews, diced mint leaves and caramelized onions, it tastes heavenly.
  20. Mandar: The Yousuf Tekri complex houses some legends of the Hyderabad eatery scene and then there is Mandar. It is one of the oldest outlets serving the dish and is also famous for it’s exquisite Biryanis too.

Every nook and corner of the city has stalls set up during the Ramadan and there is no denying the passion that Hyderabad has for it’s Biryani and Haleem. Lately there has been different variations like the Fish and low-calorie Emu interpretations too. Do let us know your favorite Haleem outlets below in the comments.

We shall be conducting a Haleem Walkathon during the month of Ramzan. Like our page FoodDrifter or mail us at fooddrifter@gmail.com for further updates.

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The urge to create something tangible is deeply human. A connection with tradition, an art which has been handed over decades, centuries or even longer. Food plays a significant role in a person’s life and some of the recipes have been secrets handed down only in the family. Many of the dishes we make today have been handed to us by our ancestors. Most of them carry the history that makes us proud of them

The art of making Seviyan is one such interesting tradition which we chanced upon during our walk around the Old City of Hyderabad.

As you cross the bridge over the Musi River towards Chaderghat and head over to the Local Lorry Stand, a curtain of fine strands of Seviyan greets you. Families still practicing the age-old tradition of handmade Seviyan reside here and the recipes are handed down as a family heirloom. These recipes are guarded with a sense of pride and makes them proud of the work they have been doing since generations.

Seviyan By The Wind

Nowadays machines make every task easier and at a much budget friendly pricing, we wondered why some of the makers of Seviyan still stick to the manual way of making them. Anwar Khan, one of the Seviyan makers replied proudly “The machine made ones can never replace the taste that comes from the ones made by us do to our hard work”

We spent an entire day interacting with Anwar Khan on his art and the man is a textbook of history. He’s seen Hyderabad grow before his own eyes as his father taught him the art of Seviyan making right at the age of 12-13 years. He’s been making this delicacy for nearly 30 years and is already teaching his son to get into the family trade too.

Anwar Khan And His Wife

A third generation Seviyan maker in the family, he told us the story of how his grandfather had set up shop in Hyderabad to start practicing this profession during the rule of the Nizams. He recollects his father’s stories of how the Nizam used to fly down in their private plane to Imlibun (Now MGBS) while they flocked to see the plane landing. His grandfather had then worked in the Nizam’s kitchen making Seviyan for the royal guests.

Strands Of Seviyan Hanging Out To Dry

Now as he starts talking about the Seviyan, his main profession, he is proud of the secret ingredient. He tells us his Seviyan is different from the other makers from all over India because he adds a little bit of salt along with the maida and water. That extra bit of salt stands out and enhances the taste to a whole another level.

A lot of strength is required to be pull the maida, to stretch it out to the finer strands and it takes a maximum of 3-5 minutes to dry out which is then rolled out and sold to the nearby traders. Below is a video of Anwar Khan as he makes a batch to be dried out.

Seviyan is best had with milk, dry fruits, khova and a little bit of ghee. It’s quite rich and is a specialty during the holy month of Ramzan. So much is the demand during Ramzan that he sells nearly 1-2 tons worth of Seviyan in that one month alone. But handcrafted Seviyan is slowly fading out with these white rolls of delicious sweet being churned at a much faster rate by machines. When a machine-made roll of Seviyan can be available in the market for 40-50 rupees the same for a handmade one goes for 180-200 rupees.

Rolls of Seviyan 1

Seviyan can be used in a variety of purposes, sweet and savory. A lot of them prefer to use them in their various kheer recipes, while you can make a great upma and other savory dishes with it too.

But the art of making Seviyan is one to witness. Handcrafted stuff like these have been around for generations and we really hope they don’t fade away with history. Below is a video of Anwar Khan and his wife as they stretch out the seviyan to dry at their home.

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