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City eateries and restaurants offer unique Ramzan delights to usher in the festive spirit

In spice bazaars of Hyderabad, writes noted travel-writer and historian William Dalrymple in ‘White Mughals’ “…merchants and traders from all over the Middle East as well as France, Holland, England and even China came to buy.” And the spices still work their charm in this 400-year-old city with its labyrinthine streets dotted with small and big time eateries. And what better way to explore the city than with a map of tastes as the aroma of food wafts through the cooking pots in the wee hours of Ramzan when every lane and road reminds you of an old Central Asian city. The sunset on the royalty may have given way to the melting pot of different cultures, but its culinary history remains intact even as it offers a melange of other cuisines during the Holy Month. Explore the mouth-watering Ramzan delights with us:

Pathhar Ka Gosht at Chicha’s 
The newly opened eatery at Lakdi- Ka-Pul offers Pathhar Ka Gosht, Kareli Ka Ghost, Shikampur Kebabs and more. Says one of the owners Qutub Alam Khan, “We use treated granite stones for the smoky Pathar Ka Gosht. The way meat is cut is also a deciding factor how the dish will turn out. If it is not cut the way it should be, the pieces won’t melt in the mouth.” In Shikampur Kebab, another specialty of theirs, meatballs are stuffed with hara masala and yogurt. During Ramzan, you can try Kareli Ka Gosht which is the shin part of the animal cooked in thick tomato gravy. It’s best relished with roomali or tandoori roti. But you need to be ready to relish the stickiness of the meat pieces in the dish. Price starts at Rs 199. Details: 33165340

Nizami Handi and Mutton Pasanda at Hotel Green Park 
They offer Nizami Handi, a vegetarian dish with seasonal veggies, spinach and cashew nuts. Mutton Pasanda cooked in a gravy of nuts and browned onions is their specialty. Says chef Mridul Mandal, “We use tender pieces of mutton with browned onions and cashew nut paste.” People ask for this dish during Ramzan. Price: Rs 250 and Rs 400. Details: 66724005

Biryani at Shadab
When the call of prayers rise from Mecca Masjid, this place is filled with tempting aromas. The steamed fluffy rice when layered with succulent pieces of meat cooked with choicest of spices becomes the classiest dish that rich and poor relish alike. There’s a legend that in Nizam’s kitchen the royal cooks used to prepare more than 45 types of biryanis during Ramzan. Now this legend has left its shadows in places like Shadab. The biryani is sold at Rs 180 per plate. The portion is large enough for two people. Details: 24561648

Muttabaq and shawarma at Tolichowki
At the promenade of Tolichowki you get Muttabaq, a square big pastry filled with eggs, minced meat and herbs. You also get Chicken Mandi and even Qubus Shawarma stuffed with shredded mutton, beef and chicken. The prices start from as low as Rs 75. There are a number of eateries over there that offer the delicacies.

Luqmi at Mountain Bakery
Luqmi is a  square-shaped bite-sized mutton filled flaky pastry served mostly at Hyderabadi weddings. It is not available easily. However, the upmarket bakery in Banjara Hills is where you can get this delight for your iftar. These tasty snacks are prepared by a cook who knows the actual recipe. Says the owner MA Khader, “We take tender mutton pieces for the filling.” Price: Rs 25 per piece. Details: 23547395

Haleem at Shah Ghouse Café
Nestled in Old City at Shah-Ali- Banda, Shah Ghouse is almost a numero uno when it comes to haleem. Owner Mohammed Rabbani and Mohammed Ghouse reveal, “We have been preparing haleem for more than 15 years. We use sharbati wheat and nuts like almonds, pistachios and cashew.” The haleem is cooked on slow fire of charcoals and hence gets a smoky flavour. No wonder people flock here for
haleem. Price: Rs 120. Details: 24524506

Sweets at Spice 6
Known for its Central Asian sweet delights this place offers you the best of Ummali, Baklava and Kunafa. Baklava, the flaky pastry filled with sugar and pounded nuts just dissolves in your mouth. Those looking for less sugary affairs can choose Kunafa, a pastry stuffed with soft cheese and sugar syrup wrapped in crust of thin crunchy noodles. The ummali they serve is made from
layers of cream and flaky pastries. Prices: Start from Rs 250. Details: 69991613

Chakna and gurda kaleji
Enter the lanes behind Charminar and you see hot cauldrons with loops of chakna, small intestines, washed cleaned and cooked in hot spices. To go with it many order gurda kaleji as well from the simmering pots. Available on roadside these eateries are easy to spot. Basically breakfast items they are also relished in Ramzan evenings with rotis and parathas. Prices start from Rs 80 onwards per plate.

— Saima Afreen

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