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.