Home Chennai Ramadan special: Where to get your haleem fix in the city

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    Where you can stock up on the best haleem and iftar kits on offer during the Ramadan season

    As our Islamic brethren prepare for their fast during Ramadan or the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, eateries across town are gearing up to provide them the iftar or evening meal, with which they break their fast at sunset. This is followed by a meal of rich, wholesome food, to help sustain during the next days fast — haleem (a slow-cooked stew of mutton, wheat and lentils) being top on the list. Here’s where you can go haleem tasting over the next 30 days.

    Raan biryani @ The Yellow Chilli

    Chef Rahil Aga

    Chef Rahil Aga

    The sous chef of Sanjeev Kapoor’s group of restaurants, Rahil Aga, is in town for the entire month of Ramadan. The Mumbai-based chef will be doing an iftar menu at The Yellow Chilli, that will be delivered as boxes that can be ordered from 12 pm onwards every day. Chef Aga’s box (Rs. 400), that he says will easily feed two, will offer you chaat, fresh fruits, a couple of starters, some stir fry and a juice. “The iftar is generally very light, as we go for a namaz soon after it,” says the chef, who will be doing Muslim dishes like the kheema ka samosa that is popular in Lucknow and Hyderabad, and the Russian kebab that is famous in Mumbai during Ramadan. Post your iftar at home, drop by at The Yellow Chilli for a hearty helping of haleem (`350 a portion) or biryani. But don’t expect a Mumbai version, for the chef points out that “in Mumbai, people go for a kitchada — a different version of haleem. It has more dal and mutton, and less broken wheat. It is also cooked for just three to four hours, so you will still find small chunks of mutton.” For us, he offers a proper haleem that he promises will be ‘masaledaar’. “We have a standard Hyderabadi biryani (Rs.450), a zam zam biryani (Rs.1,199; serves 3-4) that has chicken, mutton kofta and boiled egg, and a raan biryani (Rs.1,999; serves 3-4) that has to be ordered at least three hours in advance,” he concludes. Details: 49101049

    All year round
    Haleem Express by Abdullah’s Biryani & Curries, located inside the Walajah Mosque Compound, has been making haleem everyday since 2004. During Ramadan, their daily production of around 10 litres a day goes up to 80 or even 100 litres a day. They also do iftar packs of haleem and biryani, from around Rs.160 onwards. The haleem, also available at their branches in Thoraipakkam and Royapettah, is priced at Rs. 40 for 250 ml and Rs. 80 for 500 ml. Details: 9884141777

    Homemade advantage
    datesFor a taste of homemade haleem, Kodambakkam-based Nigar Sultana, who runs Daawat-a-biryani from her home, offers an iftar package of haleem, a chicken roll, shammi kebab, sweet and juice. For approximately Rs.345, available for takeaway or delivery from 4 pm onwards. You’ll need to order a day in advance. Details: 9840318668

    A la carte @ The Park
    The boutique hotel in Nungambakkam is offering a special iftar menu for Ramadan. Available at 601 from around 5 pm till midnight, it will offer haleem along with other delicacies, a la carte. Chef Rajesh Radhakrishnan says we can expect nalli ki nihari (slow cooked meat stew), machli kaliya (an Awadhi fish curry) and dum ka murgh (dum cooked chicken) in the mains, while for dessert there’s khubani ka meetha, boat ka halwa and drinks like shahi falooda and sharbat on offer. Mains between Rs.650 and Rs.775 and dessert at Rs.295. Details: 42676000

    IFTAR1Set menu @ Taj Coromandel
    Anise, the all-day diner at Taj Coromandel, has a set iftar menu on offer. Created by chef Alok Anand, it starts you off with Iranian dates and jellab (a rose-flavoured drink), after which dejaj mashwi (lemon roasted chicken), samakh harrah (grilled fish), gosht biryani and more await. Finish with bakhlawa and a coffee. At Rs.1,250 plus tax. Details: 66002827

    Dinner spread @ Sheraton Park
    The Residency at Sheraton Park will be having an iftar section in addition to their South Indian, Oriental and Western fare offered on their dinner buffet. Here, you can take your pick from dried fruits, fresh juices and sharbats, kebabs like the boti kebab, galouti kebab, sigri kebab and a Hyderabadi haleem counter. For the sweet toothed, there’s sevaiyan (a rich, payasam-like Muslim dessert), phirni, basundhi and dates toffees. From Rs.1,350 plus tax onwards. Details: 24994101

    Iftar buffet @ Fisherman’s Fare
    dum-ka-murghIf you have not been to Fisherman’s Fare off late, this might be the right time. The recently renovated restaurant has on offer a ‘grand iftar buffet’ for the indulgent. Some of the highlights will be their haleem (they do a version in chicken as well), kheeme ki lukhmi (deep freid mutton patties) and the khubani ka meetha. For something lighter, they offer an iftar mini pack too.
    From 6.30 pm till 7.45 pm at approximately Rs.300 per head. Details: 28194840

    The others

    ■  Charminar: The restaurant in Gopalapuram offers a Hyderabadi  haleem starting from around `130, in addition to an iftar buffet,
    from 5 pm onwards. They also have a party hall at their disposal for large groups. Details: 65550000

    ■  Zaitoon: You get an iftar box of dates, barbecue chicken, rice and a water bottle. For Rs 350. Details: 24527779

    ■  Sea Shell: Iftar kit of dates, fruits, mutton biryani, shawarma, Kerala parota, snacks, a water bottle and of course, grilled chicken. There’s also haleem at Rs150 plus tax for 250 ml. Details: 9025814223

    ■  Buhari: Iftar kit of kanji, juice and samosas, for free. Details: 64577172

    ■  Pelita Nasi Kandar: Kanji, mixed fruits, dates and lemon are part of their free kit. Details: 66079031

    ■  Mughal’s Zaika: This restaurant in Kilpauk does a Lucknowi haleem at approximately Rs 184 for 500 ml. Details: 42858901

    -Ryan Peppin

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