Ramzan has ended, as has our annual quota of charity, ethics and love for fellow humans. This Ramzan was pretty depressing for me as I lost the person I love the most – my Grandma, after a month-long illness. The only plus this Ramzan were the Kebabs at Lad Bazar!
In Ramzan, the Old City is swarming with hungry folks, rushing to catch a spot for their evening prayers at the mosque so that they can break their fast at the earliest possible. That’s why I got there a bit early so I wouldn’t have to que for Kebabs! On the way, I stopped at a Dry-fruit store to buy some vermicelli or ‘Sevaiya’ for the Eid special ‘Sheer-Kurma’. Little did I know that this year we would be mourning the loss of Granny instead of celebrating Eid.
Since we had some time on our hands, we took a de-tour into one of the by-lanes of Lad Bazar that led us to a really small shop that houses rare books of the world. It’s run by a Yemenite family who have collected all these books from places like the Nizams’ personal libraries. If you’re a bibliophile then this is your heaven, trust me! If you’re pretentious like me, then it’s a fairly good place to get some pictures that’ll make you look like an intellectual.
When it comes to the food in the Old City, remember not to make the mistake of taking a vegetarian along. You will not be able to find them anything to eat and if you have a conscience, it’ll keep you up all night. Lucky for me, my photographer, Daksh is a vegetarian. The delicious Kebabs didn’t stop him from doing his job!
We visited 2 make-shift stalls that are exclusive only to Ramzan. The first one had a very limited range of items on the menu but I think that makes the whole experience even better because each dish you call for is made fresh, in front of you. We ordered ‘Patthar ka Gosht’ first, which is basically beef/mutton slices marinated in spices such as ginger, garlic, turmeric and then cooked on a slab of stone. This place is known for beef. It is served with a coriander chutney and raw onions on the side. You can have it with Naan or just as it is. Literally, the cow will just melt in your mouth!
Out of curiosity, I asked the stall owner, a middle-aged man, the reason why they make ‘Patthar ka Gosht’ on stone. Legend says that the tradition of Kebabs being cooked this way started when the 6th Asaf Jahi, Mahboob Ali Khan went tiger hunting and wanted to have Kebabs. The Royal Cook didn’t have the right pan to cook meat on, so he used a slab of stone instead. Mahboob Ali Khan liked it so much that it became a common practise to cook Kebabs on a smooth slab, thus called ‘Patthar ka Gosht’. Obviously the middle-aged man didn’t tell me this story. He told me something pretty unbelievable like someone went into the ocean and picked out the perfect stone, soaked it in milk, etc. That made me realise that Hyderabadis have a penchant for cooking stories as well.
At the same place, we also tried the chicken ‘Reshmi Kebab’ which is very smooth and creamy. It’s marinade is made of curd and cream and that gives it the luscious texture.
When we went to the second stall, there was a wide variety of fried food, but I stuck to the fresh ‘Sheekh Kebabs’ and ‘Patthar ka Gosht’, this time in mutton and it was much spicier with a different marinade. I also capitalised on the opportunity to take some more pretentious photos with all the food that I didn’t eat.
Overall, the food was good. I over-ate and didn’t really enjoy myself the next day. But I will still go back next year!
Disclaimer: The sole purpose of this blog is to upload pictures of food. Do not expect to gain anything but weight.