Ramzan is here and you know what that means?
Cholesterol and Diabetes!
During this month, there is ridiculous traffic on the streets of Hyderabad but one must not miss out on the experience of eating authentic food in the Old city! So I decided to make my annual trip there and after 7 Uber drivers rejected us on the pretext of traffic, we hopped into an auto-rickshaw. The driver turned out to be a total Rock star who had installed funky neon lights and a loud stereo that had the best ’90’s Bollywood playlist!
When we got to talking, the seemingly shy auto-driver told us all about himself. What’s interesting is that he claims to have fallen in love at the age of 12, to a girl who was 11. That is weird to me because at 12, the only man I could ever love was my daddy. They got married soon and in a year’s time they had a baby girl. It’s funny how this guy was handling an entire household at age 13 while I was sitting in front of the T.V and picking my nose.
I was impressed with his passion for the vehicle and his job. He may not have been the richest man, but he was content with life. His wife, daughter and the two rickshaws he owned completed his world.
Anyway, coming back to the point. Once we got to the Old City, we left it to our auto guy to drop us at the most popular place to eat. I think he misheard ‘popular’ and took us to the most ‘populated’ place instead, called ‘Shah Ghouse’. I was the only woman there. So much so that when I walked in, all eyes were on me. Not because I look like a model, but because I have breasts. Hence, I did my walk of shame all the way to the family section. Welcome to India.
During Ramzan, ‘Shah Ghouse’ serves only Haleem, Biryani and about 4 choices of dessert.
The famous Hyderabadi Haleem was introduced in India during the Mughal period. Typically, it is a middle-eastern dish comprised of wheat, lentils, barley and meat. Preparing Haleem is a 6-hour long process and if it is made right, it’s heavenly! The topping of fried onions, pure ghee and lemon is just icing on the cake.
Hyderabadi Dum Biryani is the pride of Hyderabad. Its origin lies in the kitchens of the Nizam rulers, but it’s a blend of both, Iranian and Mughal cuisine. Spice-marinated meat is cooked between layers of fragrant, long -grained rice. Biryani tastes best when mixed with curd and a spicy gratis called ‘Mirchi ka saalan’. But remember, no matter how sophisticated you think you are, if you don’t eat Biryani with your hands, it’s not worth it!
There’s always room for some dessert. So we zeroed in on the Rice Firni which is like a rice pudding. It was pretty good. Here’s a tip: If your stomach is full and you still think something tastes good, then it really does.
As J.R.R Tolkein once said, “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
Photography by Mike Anderson
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